What to Expect When You’re…Headed to Lamaze Class
So you’re headed to Lamaze class, huh? Or maybe you’re just doing some preliminary research and want to know if this is something you absolutely must do. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
Fun Fact: The Lamaze technique was founded by Dr. Fernand Lamaze in the 1940s. He created it to offset the amount of medical interference during labor.
Lamaze, in short, is childbirth preparation with the ultimate goal of boosting mom’s confidence before she gets to the big day. In a lamaze class, you’ll learn what to expect, how to deal with pain and, ultimately, how to make labor go more smoothly. This is achieved through mindful breathing, specific movements and even massage.
We spoke with Deena H. Blumenfeld, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE), a Lamaze trainer, an experienced registered yoga Instructor and a registered prenatal yoga instructor. She is the owner and principal educator at Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, Penn. She’s also gone through childbirth twice herself.
What to Expect At Lamaze Class
“Every Lamaze class will be a little bit different depending on the instructor. However, the core information will always be the same,” explains Blumenfeld. The answers to the below Lamaze FAQs are general answers. For more specifics, talk to your Lamaze class instructor.
Who teaches Lamaze classes?
A Lamaze class will be taught by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE).
How long are Lamaze classes?
Lamaze classes range from one hour to three hours long and last for over the course of four to eight weeks. Typically, you’ll bank about 12 hours of total class time.
Where are Lamaze classes taught?
Oftentimes, Lamaze classes are taught in hospitals, birthing centers or even an independent instructor’s place of business.
How many people are in any given class?
You’ll almost always be in the company of other pregnant women and couples. Typically, explains Blumenfeld, Lamaze class sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 couples.
Who is Lamaze class best for?
“Lamaze classes are for all pregnant women and their support partners,” says Blumenfeld. “Women attend class who want a natural birth, who want an epidural, who need to be induced and who know they need a C-section. They are for moms giving birth in a hospital, in a birth center or at home. In other words, for all pregnant women.”
What is taught at Lamaze class?
According to Blumenfeld, class topics will include, but not be limited to:
- Information on the end of pregnancy tests and doctor/midwife visits
- The stages of labor
- When to go into the hospital or birth center
- Standard medical procedures
- Pain medication options
- Induction of labor
- Information on C-sections
- Positions for labor and birth
- Massage for comfort
- Breathing for labor
- Use of common tools like the birth ball, squat bar and pillows to make labor more comfortable.
“Moms and their partners will also learn some very important communication tools,” notes Blumenfeld. “Effective communication between mom and her doctor or midwife is a key component to ensuring that everything that happens during labor is happening for mom and not to mom.”
In addition, your Lamaze class should cover the immediate postpartum period, the birth of the placenta, an introduction to breastfeeding and some basic infant care information.
“All of the information presented in class will be evidence-based,” she says. “In other words, the information taught is backed by multiple scientific studies. Lamaze instructors keep up with the latest data and provide families with the best current recommendations.”
How does lamaze prepare a woman for her birth?
“A Lamaze class will prepare women, and their partners, for birth by providing solid, evidence-based information,” says Blumenfeld. “The communication skills taught in class will help women ask more questions of their care providers to ensure they are receiving the best care for their unique pregnancy and feel confident in all of their decisions.”
In addition, partners come away from class knowing what normal labor looks like, how they can help best support mom during the process and how to help her make appropriate choices.
Students are also taught all of the techniques, be they postures, breathing, massage, acupressure, using the tub or shower, etc., to help make labor more comfortable and easier to manage.
“We give women and their partners a comprehensive set of tools so they may experience birth in a way that keeps mom and baby safe, supports evidence-based practices and helps parents have a good birth experience, regardless of the medical interventions they may need or choose to have,” explains Blumenfeld.
What are the key components of Lamaze Class?
The “Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices” are key components to any Lamaze class and lead to good outcomes for mom and baby.
- Healthy Birth Practice 1: Let labor begin on its own
- Healthy Birth Practice 2: Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor
- Healthy Birth Practice 3: Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support
- Healthy Birth Practice 4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
- Healthy Birth Practice 5: Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push
- Healthy Birth Practice 6: Keep mother and baby together – It’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding
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