A birth plan and birth preferences are similar in that they both involve outlining parent's wishes and expectations for the birth. However, they differ in the degree of flexibility and specificity they convey.
A birth plan is a more detailed and structured document that outlines parent's desires and preferences for labour and birth, and immediate postpartum period. It typically includes information about pain management, desired birthing positions, preferences for medical interventions, and plans for newborn care. A birth plan serves as a communication tool between the parents and their healthcare providers to ensure everyone understands the expectations and goals.
Birth preferences are a less formal and more flexible version of a birth plan. They provide a general outline of the parent's wishes and desires for labour and birth, but allow more room for adaptation based on the circumstances that may arise during childbirth. Birth preferences focus on the key aspects that are most important to the parents and acknowledge that labour and birthing can be at times unpredictable and therefore require adjustments to the original plan.
In summary, a birth plan is a more detailed, structured document outlining the parent's specific expectations for labour and birth, while birth preferences provide a flexible and adaptable outline of their key wishes. Both serve as communication tools to ensure the parent's desires are understood and respected by their healthcare providers with the shared goal in mind being the right birth on the day.
The Wise Hippo
PS Remember your midwife is not a mind reader!