Are you looking to learn more about the Lamaze method? If so, read on to find out everything you need to know about this birthing plan.
In this article:
- Definition of Lamaze Method
- Issues Addressed by the Lamaze Technique
- Lamaze Breathing Techniques
- Advantages of the Lamaze Method
- Disadvantages of the Lamaze Method
- Yoga VS Lamaze
- How Conscious Breathing Helps Ease Labor Pain
- Improving Breathing Exercises to Ease Labor Pain
- Lamaze and Postpartum Depression
- When to Take Lamaze Classes
What You Need to Know About the Lamaze Method
Definition of Lamaze Method
The Lamaze method of childbirth is not just a new hip thing. The first birth using this method occurred in the U.S. as early as the late 1950s.
Ferdinand Lamaze, the French obstetrician, developed the method. It remains a commonly taught childbirth class today.
The Lamaze method’s purpose is to “increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth,” according to Lamaze International.
Lamaze classes help pregnant women gain faith in their body’s ability to give birth. It does this by teaching women how to cope with labor during natural childbirth.
It helps them react in a positive way to the pain of labor.
Issues Addressed by the Lamaze Technique
When a mom-to-be signs up for a Lamaze class, she doesn’t just learn how to breathe. The techniques she absorbs will, hopefully, also help increase confidence in her birth plan.
Lamaze classes cover a wide range of potential labor and delivery issues:
- Helps moms-to-be relax by using focused and controlled breathing techniques
- Reduces the mother’s fear by showing videos of normal labor and real birth
- Allows fellow couples to meet and exchange experiences; will help clarify doubts; diminishes worries that moms-to-be often have in their minds
- Teaches mothers to pay attention solely to her repeated breathing pattern; helps to take her mind away from the pain of labor
- Allows dads-to-be to participate in the birth preparation
- Helps mother-to-be to deal with labor pains
Lamaze Breathing Techniques
Lamaze breathing techniques are what Lamaze classes are popularly known for. These rhythmic breathing patterns promote relaxation.
The method also helps you to achieve active concentration. They help you turn your attention away from your contractions.
Is it right for you? You’ll have to know the pros and cons of this method.
Advantages of the Lamaze Method
There are many advantages to this method. If it works for you, then you will be able to experience its benefits without any problems.
Here are some pros of a Lamaze class:
- The Lamaze method may keep you from relying on pain medication. This can help you tolerate your contractions. The classes aren’t just about breathing techniques. They expand to more holistic ways of thinking, including psychological counseling.
- Helps support natural childbirth
- Helps with anxiety and fear
- It provides you with childbirth education. This helps you to know what to expect.
- Teaches you how to focus on your breathing
- It includes your partner. They are there with you during childbirth and labor. Some of what they can do includes offering emotional support, helping position you, reminding you to breathe, and massaging you to make you feel more comfortable.
Disadvantages of the Lamaze Method
Despite its many advantages, Lamaze breathing won’t make labor pains miraculously stop. Some cons of a Lamaze class include:
- No matter how focused you are on your breathing, it’s not going to take the pain of giving birth away. It takes your mind off of it. Pain is simply a natural part of birth.
- It’s not enough to attend classes. You’ll have to practice at home, too.
- It can be costly. Your insurance likely won’t cover the expenses of Lamaze class.
- It’s not right for everyone.
- You can forget what you learned during the labor process.
- You can feel overwhelmed with the classes and information.
Yoga VS Lamaze
Is the Lamaze breathing technique the same as yoga? Although both of them involve breathing exercises and meditation, they differ in certain ways.
Yoga is an ancient exercise that teaches you how to breathe properly. It also includes meditation and relaxation.
Many pregnant women resort to prenatal yoga to keep themselves healthy without endangering their child. It helps keep their emotions in check, build stamina, and train the mind to relax even through the pain of childbirth.
On the other hand, a Lamaze class also teaches mothers-to-be more than breathing techniques. Mother and baby are the focus.
Pregnant women learn the Lamaze breathing technique as well as other fact-based information on how to give birth properly and safely. The class offers prenatal education to expectant parents including how to breathe and cope with contractions, simplify birth, and understand changes in the body brought on by pregnancy.
How Conscious Breathing Helps Ease Labor Pain
The Lamaze technique of slow or conscious breathing can help ease pain during childbirth. This type of breathing can help lower increased heart rates as well as ease anxiety.
As a result, the expectant mother becomes more concentrated on her breathing or other things instead of the pain she’s experiencing everywhere.
Also known as conscious breathing, this coping tool relies on the mother’s own rhythm, making it easier to fall into. It also helps deliver oxygen to the baby, reducing the risk of complications.
Since breathing is the simplest thing you can do when in labor, concentrating on this pain reducing method will ease labor symptoms tremendously. If conscious breathing works for you and helps you relax, then practice it.
Then again, you don’t have to follow a certain method. It works best if you incorporate a rhythm natural to you. Otherwise, it will only aggravate your stress hormones.
Improving Breathing Exercises to Ease Labor Pain
Aside from finding your body’s natural rhythm to fully maximize Lamaze breathing techniques, you can also follow additional steps for concentration. One way to enhance deep or conscious breathing is to focus on a certain thing or person.
Lamaze classes help expectant parents by encouraging husbands to join their wives. It’s not just for bonding time, but you’ll be focusing on your husband’s face to make concentrating on your breathing easier to do.
On the other hand, you can focus on other items around you if your husband looks more stressed than you. You won’t be able to calm down if the person you’re trying to focus on seems to need more comfort than you.
Another way to improve breathing and meditation during labor is to listen to your body. If deep breathing feels more arduous as the contractions become longer, then, by all means, breathe shallowly.
Shallow breathing may help you ride those extending minutes of intense pain better.
You will learn the basics of deep breathing in Lamaze class, but you will have to figure out how to make yourself comfortable with this technique through your body’s natural movements and needs.
Lamaze and Postpartum Depression
What is postpartum depression? Mothers who have just given birth may experience postpartum depression where they feel hopelessness, misery, and may even harm themselves or the baby. It can be caused by hormonal changes, exhaustion, adjustment to motherhood, or a combination of any of these causes.
If it works for you, Lamaze can help ease your labor pains tremendously. Although it won’t completely wipe out the pain of childbirth, it can still help you in coping with it.
Lamaze works for that, but can the method work after childbirth? Can deep breathing and other relaxing techniques learned in class assist in keeping postpartum depression at bay?
Since Lamaze adapts the principles of deep breathing and relaxation similar to yoga, it may also help in calming the minds of confused mothers.
Motherhood should be a time of love and laughter, but some new parents experience stress and anxiety. The worst part is, only a handful of women admit to having postpartum depression because they fear humiliation.
They find childrearing exhausting and being a mother too miserable. Yet, they don’t want their personal problems to become public knowledge, so they end up keeping their emotions and stress trapped within themselves.
Thankfully, the breathing techniques you learn in Lamaze class may be able to clear your mind. Even after childbirth, you can relax through breathing exercises.
Deep breathing also improves circulation, delivering more oxygen to the brain. With the proper breathing technique, you can wire your brain into thinking you’re relaxing on a beautiful beach in just a matter of minutes.
When to Take Lamaze Classes
Healthcare providers often encourage pregnant women to join a Lamaze class. Family and friends also often encourage it. It’s not a bad idea to join a Lamaze class.
It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about birth and labor. It also enables you to meet other parents expecting babies around the same time as your due date.
Typically, you take the Lamaze classes around five to six weeks before your due date. The entire course is approximately 12 hours.
Some places allow you to take the complete Lamaze series in one weekend. Your independent community-based organizations may offer classes for free.
Check with your local hospital for classes as well.
The idea of giving birth can truly be overwhelming, but Lamaze can help you feel more prepared. Watch this video from Doctors’ Circle – World’s Largest Health Platform to learn more:
You may find the Lamaze method for childbirth effective or prefer an epidural during the birthing. Either way, it’s a good idea for you to make up your mind early on in your pregnancy whether you’re going to join a Lamaze class or not.
There are many communities and online resources available to you to help you find a class in your location. Best of all, enjoy the experience of preparing for your new bundle of joy.
Have you enrolled in a Lamaze class for your upcoming birth? Share your experience in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 7, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.