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Purpose of a Birth Plan

The birth plan serves three purposes. First, it structures the discussion between the physician and the patient. This ensures that all important issues are addressed with each patient. Second, it provides a framework for resolving inconsistencies between the patient's expectations and the risks of her particular pregnancy. Finally, it serves as documentation of the agreement between the physician and the patient. This will obviate questions about the information given the patient and any promises by the physician as to the management of the delivery. Legally most important, it will document the risks of pregnancy and the specific risks attendant on the delivery strategy chosen by the patient. This will not relieve the physician of liability for negligence. It will, however, bolster the physician's claim that certain injuries were foreseeable risks of pregnancy and not iatrogenic birth injuries.

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