Before I get into the juicy details about the awesome new birth plan template from Lamaze, let me say this: there is no such thing as "planning" your birth, anymore than you can plan a snowstorm. "Birth plans," as they are identified by most people, refer to a set of preferences and desires for one's choices in labor and birth. A birth plan is an excellent tool to help expectant parents begin their exploration of which choices are available in birth (for example, you don't have to have routine IV fluids), as well as begin a discussion with their OB or midwife about choices, routine practices, and evidence-based care.
And while a birth plan is a great resource, it should not be used as a stand-alone tool for education and communication. A birth plan should be created after taking a quality childbirth education, and with input from a doula, partner, OB or midwife, and hospital/birth center tour. It should be shared with your OB or midwife long before labor begins and again in labor, along with your nursing staff.
Ok, now onto the fun stuff! Lamaze has long been a birth plan advocate (with the above caveats), but until now, we've never offered our own template. The Lamaze birth plan template keeps it very short, simple, and to the point -- there's only four squares on one page -- and provides you with direction to find the information you may want to include, based on the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices. You can describe your wishes for labor, birth, emergency situations and post-birth care clearly and concisely. Check out the template below:
On the second page, which is for reading only, you'll find key details about the Six Healthy Birth Practices that coordinate with the respective birth preferences on your birth plan. Keep in mind that a "birth plan" should not be used as a prescription or blueprint for birth, but rather as a guide and set of preferences, or like, Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. While certain requests should be observed and respected regardless of how your birth unfolds, some preferences may have to be amended depending on the health of you and your baby.
Head over the to the Lamaze birth plan page to download the template, as well as read more key information and tips about how to create and use a birth plan.