For first-time mothers, the prospect of labor and childbirth can be frightening and cause certain amounts of anxiety. This is especially the case when one lacks the knowledge, guidance and techniques to make the whole process of childbirth easier.
Childbirth classes like Lamaze help pregnant mothers learn things about labor, delivery and child care. This information will dispel many fears about the childbirth process as well as misconceptions on prenatal and postpartum care. The classes empower the mothers, whether first-timer or repeater, on choice of birth technique, medical interventions and proper care of newborns. Aside from connecting with the partner, establishing a support group boosts morale, builds a network and enables the expectant mother to express her fears and then learn from other pregnant women.
The Lamaze method, introduced by French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze in 1951, promotes and facilitates the normal and natural birth method, allowing labor to begin on its own. The classes teach natural ways to aid labor, including breathing techniques, spontaneous pushing, positioning, massage, aromatherapy and other relaxation skills to relieve stress. Comfort measures to reduce pain are utilized, such as hydrotherapy, heat and cold compresses and pressure. Although the method encourages childbirth free of medical interventions, it does not completely exclude pain medication when necessary.
Practicum exercises on newborn care like breast feeding, diapering and bathing are also performed. The Lamaze technique helps the mother make an informed decision on childbirth technique, birthing venue and medications. Healthy habits and communication skills with the partner and healthcare team (ob-gyn, nurse, labor coach and pediatrician) are also taught in Lamaze.
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