And Why Are These Classes Recommended?
Childbirth Education is historically something that has been recommended by or even required by the hospital in which you will be delivering your baby in. These classes are typically taught by a nurse who has also received a certification from a Childbirth Educator program. This type of class is generally taught in an auditorium or conference room within the hospital, at specific times throughout the month, and with other parents present in a group setting.
You can expect to cover the physiology of birth, what to expect on the big day, “pain” relief methods, and push prep in this type of a class. There are a few different organizational groups that create the curriculums but the most widely recognized and used in the United States is currently Lamaze. Whether you are a first time parent or are preparing for your second or third child, going over the stages of labor and creating a healthy mindset going into it can be beneficial to your experience.
Isn’t Lamaze a Birth Breathing Method?
You might know Lamaze as the “Hee-Hee-Whoo” birth breathing method. It originated in the 1950s, when a French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze began using psychoprophylaxis based on Russian techniques. Early Lamaze strategies included relaxation techniques, focused breathing, and continuous support by a special nurse known as a monitrice. A monitrice is similar to what we now call midwives – they are specially trained nurses that offer support during childbirth, but also during pregnancy and postpartum.
Dr. Lamaze and his techniques only became known in the United States after an American woman named Marjorie Karmel gave birth with him in Paris. She wrote a book upon her return to the States called, Thank You, Dr. Lamaze, which created an interest in natural childbirth. In 1960, both Lamaze International and the International Childbirth Education Association formed and have since been educating birthing parents since that time. So, although Lamaze originated as a birth support technique, it has evolved over the last 60 years as an educational standard and is widely used as the educational curriculum for hospitals.
What are the Principles of Modern Lamaze Childbirth Education?
Lamaze Childbirth Education is dedicated to providing evidence-based recommendations, a respectful experience, and a transformative journey for all parents. The evidence-based six Healthy Birth Practices are the basis of Lamaze education which teaches about the safest and healthiest practices and the risks of interfering with the normal course of pregnancy and birth. The six Healthy Birth Practices are as follows:
- Let labor begin on its own.
- Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor.
- Bring a loved one, friend, or 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. It’s best for mother, baby, and breastfeeding.
What Else Can I Expect from Childbirth Education?
There are a variety of places you can find a childbirth education course including your birthplace of choice, healthcare practitioner’s office, or your doula. There are also many online resources for childbirth education. A good childbirth education course will help you feel prepared, answer your questions, and provide you with an understanding of the physiology of labor and what to expect on the day that you go into labor. There may also be newborn care basics included and demonstrations of helpful birth positions and movements. You may find that you have more questions for your doctor after taking the class. Be sure to ask any and all questions you have, because the more you know, the stronger you will feel in the moment, and the more your doctor knows about you, will help to inform their care for you.
To learn more about my childbirth education services, including virtual and in-person private and group settings, take a look around this page. Feel free to reach out with any questions and let me know if you are looking for something that you do not see on my site. I’d love to help you!
As always, thank you for being here! Xx