The birth plan should detail all aspects of the individual patient’s health that influence decisions about the management of the pregnancy: maternal diseases, habits such as smoking and drug use, medications that the woman must continue taking during pregnancy, and any other factors that might influence the course of the pregnancy. Discussing these factors with the patient will help her understand that her pregnancy must be managed differently from those of her friends. It will also help the physician remember that the patient has special needs. This can help avoid giving a patient medications that she cannot tolerate, or performing contraindicated procedures in the haste of an emergency delivery.