Dear Patient: As your obstetrician, it is my goal and responsibility to ensure your safety and your baby's safety during your pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period. My practice approach is to use the latest advances in modern obstetrics. There is no doubt that modern obstetrical advances have significantly decreased the incidence of maternal and fetal complications. The following information should clarify my position and is meant to address some commonly asked questions. Please review this information carefully and let me know if you feel uncomfortable in any way with my approach as outlined below. * Home delivery, underwater delivery, and delivery in a dark room is not allowed. * I do not accept birth plans. Many birth plans conflict with approved modern obstetrical techniques and guidelines. I follow the guidelines of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology which is the organization responsible for setting the standard of care in the United States. Certain organizations, under the guise of "Natural Birth" promote practices that are outdated and unsafe. You should notify me immediately, if you are enrolled in courses that encourage a specific birth plan. Conflicts should be resolved long before we approach your due date. Please note that I do not accept the Bradley Birth Plan. You may ask my office staff for our list of recommended childbirth classes. * Doulas ... are allowed and will be treated like other visitors ... they may be asked to leave if their presence or recommendations hinder my ability to monitor your labor or your baby's well-being. * IV access during labor is mandatory. Even though labor usually progresses well, not too infrequently, emergencies arise suddenly ... The precious few minutes wasted trying to start an IV in an emergency may be crucial to your and your baby's well being. * Continuous monitoring of your baby's heart rate during the active phase (usually when your cervix is dilated 4cm) is mandatory. This may be done using external belts or if not adequate, by using internal monitors at my discretion. This is the only way I can be sure that your baby is tolerating every contraction. Labor positions that hinder my ability to continuously monitor your baby's heart rate are not allowed. * Rupture of membranes may become helpful or necessary during your labor. The decision as whether and when to perform this procedure is made at my discretion. * Epidural anesthesia is optional and available at all times. The most recent scientific data suggest that epidurals are safe and do not interfere with labor in anyway even if administered very early in labor. * I perform all vaginal deliveries on a standard labor and delivery bed. Your legs will be positioned in the standard delivery stirrups. This is the most comfortable position for you. It also provides maximum space in your pelvis, minimizing the risk of trauma to you and your baby during delivery. * Episiotomy is a surgical incision made at the vaginal opening just before the baby's head is delivered. I routinely perform other standard techniques such as massage and stretching to decrease the need for episiotomies. However, depending on the size of the baby's head and the degree of flexibility of the vaginal tissue, an episiotomy may become necessary at my discretion to minimize the risk of trauma to you and your baby. * I will clamp the umbilical cord shortly after I deliver your baby. Delaying this procedure is not beneficial and can potentially be harmful to your baby. * If your pregnancy is normal, it should not extend much beyond your due date. The rate of maternal and fetal complications increases rapidly after 39 weeks. For this reason, I recommend delivering your baby at around 39-40 weeks of pregnancy. This may happen through spontaneous onset of labor or by inducing labor ... inducing labor ... is safe, and does not increase the amount of pain or the risk of complications or the need for a c-section. * ... a c-section may become necessary at any time during labor due to maternal or fetal concerns. The decision as to whether and when to perform this procedure is made at my discretion and it is not negotiable, especially when done for fetal concerns.
Are there any problems with this birth plan? Maybe some of the information and rationales are inaccurate in light of research, but I believe it is great that this obstetrician gives his/her patients this information upfront, rather than having them find out in labour.