What Is Lamaze Method Of Childbirth And What Happens In Classes

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The Lamaze method consists of a set of techniques that help make delivery easier for you. The days before the delivery are marked by anxiety and stress, and most would-be mothers worry about the pain that accompanies delivery.

With the help of the Lamaze method, you can overcome these fears and anxieties. In addition, it helps you manage your breathing and pain to deliver your baby more easily. Read on to know more about taking Lamaze classes and their benefits.

What Is The Lamaze method?

The Lamaze method is a set of pre-delivery classes that aim to make birthing as natural as possible, without any external interventions.

Developed by French obstetrician Ferdnand Lamaze in 1960, Lamaze childbirth classes focus on teaching controlled/ rhythmic breathing techniques for you to cope with labor. This method helps you relax and concentrate on labor.

In addition to instilling confidence in women on childbirth, this method helps them cope with the pain. It helps you to manage labor pain without any intervention of drugs unless it is required medically (1).

When Can You Attend The Lamaze Classes?

You can attend the Lamaze classes during the third trimester for 6-10 weeks and have a total duration of 12 hours (2) (3).

What Happens In Lamaze Classes?

Lamaze classes address several problems you might face during and after labor. Here is what happens during the classes (4) (5) (6):

1. Discuss your emotional and physical changes

You and your partner are encouraged to share your thoughts and feelings.

  • The couples in the class are asked to talk to each other to build trust and share their experiences.
  • In the classes, you will know about the different physical and emotional changes happening in your body during the third trimester and the reasons behind them.
  • You will be told how to identify the initial symptoms of labor, and what you should do in such circumstances.

2. Preparing you for the childbirth

The classes teach you about affirmation, progressive relaxation, and positive imagery.

  • Affirmations help replace the negative thoughts with positive ones during labor.
  • Progressive relaxation teaches you to keep your body and mind relaxed so that the cervix is relaxed during childbirth.
  • Positive imagery trains you in visualizing beautiful images of your baby during labor. These help you welcome rather than fear the contractions and pains.
  • You are showed some birthing movies to understand the physical changes during labor.

3. Breathing and pushing techniques

You learn some breathing techniques that help you feel reduced pain during contractions. As the baby descends into the birthing canal, you need to breathe in and push the baby down.

  • You can inhale and exhale slowly while pushing the baby. Alternatively, you can breathe in deeper and exert all the pressure while pushing.
  • You will learn some pushing techniques to assist your baby’s movement into the birthing canal.
  • You will be explained the ways, such as squatting and hot and ice packs, to help relieve back pain during contractions.

4. Preparing the dad-to-be

  • Your husband will be taught to provide comfort to you when you need it.
  • He will learn to apply counter pressure for lower backache; touch relaxation, wherein he identifies the tense areas when you are in active labor and touches those areas to relax that group of muscles; and a massage on the back, thighs, or lower abdomen.

5. Nutrition and physical activities

You are told about the need to have nutritional food during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

6. Talk about the development of your baby

You will be explained and showed illustrations as to how your baby is growing, and help to identify their movements, sleeping patterns, etc.

7. Care after childbirth

  • The class teaches the importance of breastfeeding after childbirth — it helps the uterus to contract after delivery, reduces the postpartum blood flow, and immunizes the baby.
  • You and your partner will be given some tips on parenting, your interaction with the newborn, dealing with postpartum depression, and how and when to seek help from family and friends or your care provider.

You can make the most of Lamaze classes if the trainer is an expert and is dedicated. Therefore, choose your trainer carefully.

What To Look For In A Lamaze Class

While looking for a Lamaze class, ensure that the instructors are ASPO-certified nurses for childbirth education or certified teachers with a background in counseling, teaching, childbirth or midwifery, social work, physical therapy, and/ or psychology (7).

The Lamaze method focuses on making the process of childbirth natural and relieves couples from stress and anxiety. The classes teach women about the delivery process and instill confidence in them to face labor pain with ease. In the third trimester, you may attend these classes and learn about physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, affirmations, relaxation techniques, and care after childbirth. The Lamaze method also involves dad-to-be and trains them on the correct way to provide comfort to the mothers during labor. Getting involved in such classes will be advantageous for the couple and the arriving baby.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Judith A. Lothian; (2011); Lamaze breathing: what every pregnant woman needs to know.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209750/
  2. Birthing classes.
    https://familydoctor.org/birthing-classes/
  3. Antenatal classes.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/antenatal-classes
  4. Lamaze International.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1599798/
  5. Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices.
    https://www.lamaze.org/childbirth-practices
  6. Childbirth Education Classes.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/labor-and-birth/childbirth-education-classes/
  7. Lorraine Kushner; (2005); The Journey of an Early Lamaze Childbirth Educator.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595234/
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Erica Andrews

(BA)
Erica Andrews wears several hats as a midwife, anthropologist, storyteller, and placenta aficionado. With experience in the alternative medicine industry, she advocates female empowerment and considers giving birth sacred. Erica works as a midwife at Laughing Moons Midwifery, US, and contributes to Midwifery Today.

shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more

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