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Are you on your pregnancy journey and waiting to meet your little one? You must be having wonderful thoughts about the day your cuddly little baby is next to you. Preparing yourself for that day is equally important. Have you ever thought of what kind of birthing technique you will choose? It is very important to choose a technique that will be comfortable for you and prepare yourself for it accordingly.
What is Lamaze Method?
The Lamaze method of childbirth was introduced by French obstetrician, Dr. Fernand Lamaze in the early 1950’s. It trains a woman’s body to be prepared for natural delivery and helps her to cope with pains related to childbirth. Lamaze techniques emphasize on following the right breathing methodology. The controlled breathing exercises help a woman to take her mind off stress and relaxes her mentally and physically. Your partner is also involved in Lamaze to support you while in pain and soothe you. The beauty of Lamaze lies in this management of pain without the use of drugs. The six main rules of Lamaze are:
- Labour should start naturally
- Women should deliver while lying on their back
- During labour, a woman should be allowed to move around freely
- Support from others is crucial during labour
- There should be no external intervention during labour and birth
- Mother and baby should never be separated after birth
The Lamaze method calls for classes, practice at home and coaching by a coach. You might be wondering “What are Lamaze classes?”. These classes train you in various breathing techniques and encourage you to share how you feel – your fears, queries and thoughts. It offers different coping strategies of which breathing is one. Lamaze pregnancy classes ensure your partner will have an active role throughout your pregnancy, childbirth and afterwards. You will also discover what to expect in your entire pregnancy journey, how to deal with pain and uneasiness and all about your childbirth process. Each Lamaze class usually has a maximum of 12 couples.
When Should You Start Lamaze Course?
As early as in your first trimester, you can start planning for your Lamaze birthing classes. You can locate a suitable place near you to attend classes. Though you can start any time after your first trimester, women usually prefer and are recommended to start in their seventh month. The earlier you start, the better it is as you can have more time to practice and it helps to tone and tune your muscles. However, you should avoid taking classes in the last two months as you feel less energetic by then and cannot enjoy as much.
What Happens in Lamaze Classes?
Trained birth educators are there to support and guide you through pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. Here’s what typical Lamaze birthing classes will have you do:
- Watch real-time birth videos that give you an idea of the birthing process and get you prepared and confident.
- Have your partner actively participate in the whole childbirth process. What can be emotionally more satisfying? Your partner is taught various techniques such as to push on your lower back to counter lower back pain, massages, breathe with you and much more.
- Discussing your thoughts and worries and sharing your experiences with other couples.
- Practice focused and repetitive breathing techniques which help you to relax.
- Educate you on how to interact with your baby and all you need to know about breastfeeding and its benefits.
- Bring to your knowledge the complications that could arise in pregnancy or during childbirth and what the situation would call for.
- Teach you how to communicate with your healthcare team to let them know of your needs.
- Make you aware of relaxation techniques and help you choose the one that works for you the best. Some of the techniques are massages, walking, hydrotherapy and position change.
- Help you understand that sometimes medication will have to be used during childbirth and that you have a right to know about the medication being administered.
- Explain the need for the right nutrition for you and how it helps in your baby’s development.
- Rehearse pushing techniques and all that you have learned throughout the birthing class.
What is the Normal Duration of Lamaze Classes?
Lamaze pregnancy classes usually last for total 12 hours spread over 12 weeks or five to six days. Some places also offer intensive Lamaze classes over a single weekend or a single day but this could be very challenging for you. Taking it slow gives you a lot of time to review the techniques taught and ask your queries.
What is Lamaze Breathing Technique?
Lamaze techniques for labour mainly comprise of breathing, massage, hydrotherapy, cold and warm compress, walking, imagery, position and using birthing balls. But what is Lamaze breathing? It is a breathing technique that helps a woman to be distracted from pain during contractions. As labour advances, contractions become long, intense and more rapid. The trick is to breathe slow and take shallow breaths. Another breathing pattern is to pant slowly saying “hee, hee, hee”. It is fine to breathe through the nose or mouth, as you prefer. There is no rule about how many breaths are to be taken but as labour advances and contractions get stronger, speeding up and taking shallower breaths is known to be effective.
The Lamaze method of childbirth is very popular due to the following advantages:
- Participation from your partner makes the birth process special. It actively involves your partner who will then be able to better understand every change that you went through.
- It helps to understand the birthing process better and hence be ready to face it. It also focuses on relieving stress by encouraging women to talk about their feelings and diverting their attention away from contractions during childbirth.
- Reducing the intervention of medicines during childbirth to ease the pain by using natural techniques.
Every technique has its own drawbacks. It is important to know these too before you decide what you need for yourself.
- Pain in labour is unavoidable. The techniques offered in Lamaze help you to keep your attention away from it but not eradicate it.
- It calls for a lot of endurance and execution from a pregnant woman which at this stage she may not be able to deliver.
- Your partner and you may not always be in the right mental state to dedicate time for the classes.
- Lamaze classes can be expensive.
- Always check if the educator has a Certified Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator certificate. You can use an online search and check with friends for the best available educator.
- Be open with your educator and discuss your concerns regarding medication, childbirth and breastfeeding to receive the right advice.
- Have a clear understanding of the technique before you opt for it so that you can appreciate it the right way.
- Practice breathing techniques throughout your pregnancy to keep yourself in control
- Try to identify your best mode of relaxation apart from breathing so that you can use it to ease your childbirth experience.
Conclusion: The Lamaze birthing method is not just about breathing, but also about experiencing the process of childbirth with your partner. There is a lot of responsibility on the mother during childbirth and it makes the process easier if she knows what to expect and is confident. Having a baby is one of the biggest moments in life and be ready to embrace this moment in your life the special way.