Lamaze’s Six Healthy Birth Practices are one of my favorites resources when discussing birth plans in my classes. I find that some materials about birth planning on the internet are unnecessarily cumbersome (while simultaneously being very “cookie cutter”). As I tell my clients, the Six Healthy Birth Practices provide an absolutely phenomenal “basic” birth plan and concisely cover each element of a healthy birth. I suggest using them as a foundation for any birth plan the client plans to write. For use in my own classes, I created a one page handout briefly summarizing the practices: Six Healthy Birth Practices. At the bottom of the handout, I also include my own even simpler summary of the information. I just love them and think they should be the core of any class that serves women planning hospital births. Seriously, what women deserve in a birth environment can be summed up in six, clear sentences! How practical.
I also absolutely LOVE the video based on the practices that is available from Injoy. It is extremely affordable (I actually own three copies of it!). It is very concise and clear (just like the practices themselves) and I love how it shows women in a hospital environment, getting their needs met and having satisfying births. While I personally choose homebirth for myself and am a big advocate of homebirth, at least 90% of my clients are planning hospital births and deserve information and resources that support healthy, satisfying births in the environment they have chosen. I have a variety of great videos in my library, but many of them focus on homebirth and I think the message this sends to clients is—“good birth = homebirth.” While that feels personally true for me, it isn’t actually the message I want to share with my clients—I want to share my enthusiasm for birth, period, and to help them discover resources and plans for having a beautiful birth in any setting. I want to communicate to them that they deserve access to these healthy birth practices in the hospital and I hope we can create a birthing world in which all women can expect to have access to these practices in any setting. So, I like how this video shows women getting their needs met within in a hospital setting.
Additionally, the videos are available for free, practice by practice, on the Mother’s Advocate site, which also includes a variety of accompanying handouts to print.
And, again, here is my own handout for use during birth classes: Six Healthy Birth Practices.
I know I sound like a “commercial” for Lamaze’s Birth Practices and though I am a Lamaze member, I am actually certified with other organizations (ICEA and CAPPA). I think it is important that childbirth educators not limit themselves only to the materials and information provided by their own certifying organization and instead seek out excellent materials from a variety of the wonderful organizations that exist to support birthing women!