What exactly is a Lamaze class? When Fernand Lamaze created his method of childbirth, the focus was on natural, normal labor and birth without medication and interventions. The idea was to use controlled breathing and breathing patterns to distract the laboring mother from the contractions, and to use breathing methods as a way to lessen pain. Today when someone talks about Lamaze, they are often referring to the class I the hospital they think everyone takes.
What most people call “Lamaze” classes these days do not necessarily match the original intent. Depending on whom you take the class from, or where you take it, you may find, in some hospitals, that you learn more about how to be a good patient. Some instructors may be limited by what their hospital allows them to teach. And you will spend more time learning about the interventions and medications, than you will about the normal natural processes of labor and birth. Though you can find a good class anywhere if you follow some simple guidelines when looking for the right class for you and your birth partner(s).
The best childbirth classes will:
· Consist of a minimum of 5 classes
· Each class will be at least 2 hours long
· Have between 3-10 couples enrolled
You should learn about:
· Emotional and physiological stages of labor
· Non-medicated pain coping techniques/comfort measures
· Risks and benefits of all of the medications & interventions
· How to be your own advocate
· Informed consent
· Breastfeeding beginning at birth
· Post-partum care
· Birth plans
· Unexpected situations
· Cesarean surgery
“Many people spend more time researching the stroller than they do trying to understand the physicality and the emotional-loadedness of getting a baby out of their bodies.” A good childbirth class might actually change your mind about some of the things you didn’t consider.” Erica Lyon birth educator…
There are many types of classes out there that can help prepare you for this amazing birth experience. If you get educated, you can increase your chances of having a healthier labor and birth with less complications for both mother and baby. If you take an active role in the decisions and know what questions to ask, then you will have less, or no regrets later. Above all, you will be ensuring that your baby comes into the world in the safest, healthiest way possible.
So what choices do you have?
The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth, www.bradleybirth.com :
Your currently affiliated Bradley® instructor wants you and your baby to have the best, safest, and most rewarding birth experience possible. For that reason, we endorse and teach the following:
· Natural childbirth
· Active participation by the coach
· Excellent nutrition
· Avoidance of drugs
· Early training
· Natural breathing combined with relaxation techniques
· Tuning into and working with your body
· Immediate and continuous contact with your new baby
· Breastfeeding beginning at birth
· Positive communications
· Informed parents sharing in the making of responsible decisions
· Parents prepared for unexpected situations (such as emergency childbirth or cesarean section)
Lamaze, www.lamaze.org :
Lamaze: Helping You Decide What’s Best for Both
• Lamaze supports evidence-based pregnancy and birth practices that are supported by research and experienced childbirth educators.
• Lamaze guides you as you navigate all of your options, and their benefits and drawbacks.
• Lamaze seeks to empower you as you explore how your body was designed for birth, and encourages you to work with your body’s natural abilities.
• Lamaze provides strategies for natural pain management during labor, reducing unnecessary medical interventions. – Lamaze ensures that you feel continuously supported during labor and birth.
• Lamaze stresses the importance of natural pain management strategies through labor and birth, helping you choose methods that are safe and healthy.
• Lamaze encourages bonding between you and your baby, with the importance of skin-to-skin contact and time to get to know your new baby after birth.
Birthing From Within, www.birthingfromwithin.com :
In your Birthing From Within classes, you will learn how to:
• Experience birth as a rite of passage
• Eat a sound diet (pregnancy and breastfeeding)
• Open your body-mind before and during labor with self-hypnosis and visualizations
• Build confidence in yourself and your partner
• Ask questions and make decisions in labor
• Protect your birth space
• Tame your "Birth Tigers"TM
• Push your baby out
• Welcome your baby
• Recover and plan postpartum
• Care for and feed your newborn
• Give birth from within during a Cesarean, while using pain medication, or with medical support.
Hypnobirthing, www.hypnobirthing.com :
“Through a very simple program of self-hypnosis and education, healthy, low-risk women, as well as women who need medical assistance because of special circumstances, learn to dismiss fear-based stories, misinformation, and birthing myths; and they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that Nature intended.”
Hypnobabies, www.hypnobabies.com :
“In Hypnobabies, our objectives are to help our pregnant couples bond with their baby in utero, teach you how to stay healthy and low-risk and be an excellent consumer, trust in your body, mind and baby, as well as become self-reliant and confident about birthing your own way; unmedicated, safely and in comfort. We overcome negative belief systems and programming, get you in touch with your own beautiful pregnant body, support you through your own excellent birth experience and give you skills that you will use for the rest of your life. Birth Partners are brought into the preparation process and have their own hypnotic relaxation cues, as well as a special role to play as they await the birth of the precious newborn with our Hypno-mom. Since we use real medical hypnosis techniques, addressing the mind, body, and spirit of both Mother and Baby, our success and satisfaction rates are wonderful and very gratifying!”
Take the time to learn about this amazing process and bring your baby into the world in the gentlest, safest, healthiest way possible. Check out your options. If you don’t ask what your options are, you don’t have any!
Liza Janda AAHCC, E-RYT, RPYT
Certified Bradley Instructor, Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher, Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher Yoga Alliance