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Lamaze Method of Childbirth
Controlled breathing is the essence of the Lamaze preparation for childbirth. The natural birthing classes enhance relaxation and reduce the pregnant woman’s perception of pain. This is one tenet that allows the Lamaze method to stand out among the other natural birth techniques, thus the most widely used method in the country.
The Lamaze classes offer many comfort strategies and skills that include conscious breathing, relaxation, and management of pain which can help women avoid unwarranted medical intervention leading to a safe and healthy birth.
The Lamaze Method was developed by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze and was introduced to the United States by Marjorie Karmel, who had her first baby in France with Dr. Fernand Lamaze. The laboring mother is to look outside her body – to a focal point while incorporating breathing techniques to ease through labor and delivery, giving birth “awake and aware.”
What Other Natural Birth Techniques are Available?
Attending a natural birthing class is good, if not the best way to prepare you for labor. These classes empower you, a mom-to-be, as you learn that childbirth is not a scary thing. Women who attend these classes go through the original signs and stages of labor, involving how fathers-to-be can help and when to call your doctor. Coping with pain is one thing most natural birthing classes emphasize, along with the possibility of not using medical interventions. The childbirth classes also have wonderful ways to meet postpartum needs like breastfeeding and other expected events concerning infant care. The Lamaze Method is considered the widely used natural childbirth method in the United States. However, there are other birthing techniques that you can take a peek into:
- The Bradley Method – Also known as the original “husband-coached” delivery method. Bradley teaches nutrition and exercises to prepare for the big day. It incorporates deep breathing and coaching the laboring mom to look inward and focus upon what her body is doing – opening up to allow her baby to be born.
- The Alexander Technique – developed by F. M. Alexander (1869-1955). This is a movement-based birthing class that allows mothers to use correct posture, mobility, and alertness during labor to counter stress and improve relaxation efforts to help open the cervix for the baby’s coming.
- Hypnobirthing – started In the 1940s by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. Hypnosis during labor brings total relaxation to the woman giving birth. It teaches women to use the words “sensation” and “surge” instead of “pain” and “contraction” which have negative connotations. Women using HypnoBirthing® are more likely to share their positive labor experiences even while they may still need medical interventions for pain.
- Water Birth – the mother goes through childbirth in a portable tub wherein the baby is delivered underwater. It can be more relaxing, and less painful to be in the water. Water Birth, however, is not recommended for women with high-risk pregnancies.
How Does Lamaze Work?
The Lamaze curriculum encompasses the basic knowledge about birth, formerly handed down from one generation of women to the next. However, the Lamaze 40 years ago and today is a lot different. With interventions like sonograms, constant electronic fetal monitoring, and intravenous procedures, moms are cautious and maybe anxious if the procedures do not go as they should, thus taking away confidence and relaxation. Therefore, a good Lamaze natural birthing class would not put the stress on pain medication, or medical interventions, but on trusting one’s instincts on working one’s body during labor, being patient for natural processes to do its incredible work with the support of health care providers, family, and friends. It would help moms develop skills used in labor and require changes in nutrition and walking. Lastly, it believes that a woman has an inherent ability to give birth confidently.
What are the Health Principles Practiced by the Lamaze Method?
Note these health practices and principles to help you go through Lamaze Method successfully.
- Labor can begin by itself. Let it go.
- It is necessary to walk, move around, and change positions throughout the labor period.
- You need the continuous support of a loved one (husband).
- Avoid unwarranted interventions (medically unnecessary).
- Follow your instincts to push and not give birth on your back.
- Keeping mother and baby together is a must— best for bonding and breastfeeding.
What are the General Advantages and Disadvantages of Applying the Lamaze Method?
The advantages of using the Lamaze method are mostly emotional and psychological. The popularity of the Lamaze method is because of its emphasis on being more educated, about how a woman’s body interacts with her mind and the environment. The emphasis on concentration and breathing which takes the woman through delivery with less fear and doubts. They treat contractions as stimuli, not pain. However, it is still possible to start with the Lamaze Method and end using epidural labor.
While the Lamaze Method emphasizes childbirth without pain, it does not remove the actual sensation of pain. For some women, the ideal approach of having both parents attending the classes could pose some constraints. Plus, the cost per session comes out unaffordable for many women.
What Matters Most
So, after a quick tour of the different natural birth techniques, have you decided which one is best for you? It would be ideal to pick one that matches your values, personality, home environment, and financial capability for you not to add up to the stress that pregnancy itself brings. Giving birth is one brave task you must go through (if you’re pregnant while reading this). One very important thing to keep in mind in this journey as you prepare for your “bundle of joy” is the love and support from your loved ones, most especially from the father of your baby.