The Lamaze technique was created by French obstetrician, Dr. Fernand Lamaze after he observed child birth in Russia. The typical Lamaze class consists of at least 12 hours of instruction and includes no more than 12 couples. Women are advised to begin a class near the start of their seventh month of pregnancy.
The Lamaze technique is a comprehensive approach to pregnancy and birth. Lamaze education offers much more than breathing and relaxation technique.
- It is a way of giving life.
While Lamaze breathing is one of the tools taught in childbirth education classes, it empowers women to embrace their changing bodies during pregnancy and use the tools they have to make sure that babies achieve safe and healthy outcome.
- It is not only about natural births.
Lamaze encourages natural birth. It is for all women who want to have a safe and healthy birth and that includes women who may want to use pain medication.
- Lamaze focuses on easing labour.
The six birth practices which is Lamaze’s overall philosophy are:
- Let labour begin on its own.
- Walk, move around and change positions throughout labour.
- Bring a friend or your partner or a doula for continuous support.
- Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary.
- Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push.
- Keep mother and baby together to help with bonding and breastfeeding.
- Allow your partner to be a significant support
The mother and her partner are a team. Let the partner be a positive influence on expectant mothers. Allow him to be an invaluable part of the birth plan.
- Bring in outside help to protect your birth plan.
Lamaze encourages expectant mothers to consider hiring a doula, who will be present at the time of birth to provide professional consulting and guidance during a very emotional time. Doulas are trained labor support professionals.
- A support system increases the likelihood of natural birth.
Having a supportive labour team, including the partner and a doula, can be most beneficial in helping women relax.
- A birthing ball is an important tool for movement.
Sitting on a birthing ball in the months leading up to birth helps woman strengthen leg and back muscles while offering a firm yet soft place to sit.
- Choose relaxation techniques that work that for you.
Lamaze childbirth education classes teach a variety of relaxation techniques to help women relax and be confident in giving birth. Some of those methods include conscious and rhythmic breathing, muscle relaxation, imagery, hot shower or bath, massages and positive self-talk.
- The pain will not be as bad when you know what is coming.
Lamaze provides information, tools and pain management strategies for women and their partners to understand what is happening to the mother’s body as she prepares to give birth. The information helps parents become equipped to work through all of the stages of childbirth.
- When it comes to birth, knowledge is power.
Lamaze educates the expectant parents what to expect during birth, builds confidence and all know-how during labour.
Through lots of practice, the mother reconditions herself so that, instead of tensing up and screaming, when a contraction comes, she begins a rhythmic pant-breathing. The Lamaze technique makes labour both bearable and easier because the mother is working with, and not against, her own body.