Childbirth: What makes the Lamaze Method popular?
The Lamaze method of childbirth was developed by the French obstetrician Ferdinand Lamaze in the 1950s and has been very popular especially in the United States and is actually still one of the most commonly taught childbirth techniques across the world. One in four deliveries or about one million births a year are helped by the amazing techniques provided by this method.
When Ferdinand Lamaze first introduced his thoughts the focus was mostly on controlled breathing techniques designed to help mums cope with labour but the programme has developed a lot since then.
The most important message that the Lamaze method likes to promote is that “birth is normal, natural and healthy” and that “women have a right to give birth free from routine medical interventions.” Lamaze also educates women so that if any interventions are needed or pain relief medication is desired, women are able to give true informed consent.
Lamaze is best known for its rhythmic breathing techniques, which emphasize active concentration and promote relaxation. The rhythmic breathing patterns help women turn their attention away from their contractions. As a hypnobirthing instructor I can certainly attest to the fact that distraction in itself is highly effective.
There are trained Lamaze method instructors across the Middle East and private and group classes are available. The typical Lamaze course consists of at least 12 hours of instruction broken up into several classes. It is advised that women begin the classes towards the start of their seventh month. The classes cover the following:
- Normal labour and birth (usually showing videos of real birth) and the early postpartum period.
- How to be active and informed during the birth
- Focused breathing techniques for labour
- Other relaxation techniques and natural strategies to help you work with the discomfort of labour, such as massage, walking, position changes and hydrotherapy
- Tips to help your partner encourage and support you during labour
- The value of one on one professional support during labour (partner/doula)
- How to communicate with your healthcare team so that your needs and desires are met
- Complications that could occur during labour and birth, and interventions that might be medically necessary
- Epidurals and other options for managing pain with medication
- The importance pf Early interaction with your baby
The benefits of the Lamaze method are huge! I love the fact that it encourages women to trust their bodies and to believe that birth is a normal, natural event which of course it is.
Over the years due to the influence of media etc, women have come to believe that they are unable to birth their babies without medical intervention and indeed many are even afraid to attempt this.
Remember, this is what are bodies are designed to do as women and most of the time this is achievable without medical help. However, it is always very important to remember that sometimes things don’t always go exactly to plan and medical assistance is needed. We are incredibly lucky to have such amazing facilities across the region for special circumstances.
The important thing for all mums to remember is that it is in no way any kind of failure to accept medical intervention/help if it is needed. A happy, healthy mum and baby is what we all want!