Why the Lamaze Class Near You Is Different

shutterstock_155809487You may have heard of Lamaze childbirth classes. “It’s that breathing method class, right?” “My mom took those classes when she was pregnant with me.” “Those are only for people who don’t want epidurals, right?”

The short answers to the above are, no, probably, and absolutely not! It’s true that Lamaze has been around for many years — 55 to be exact — but the Lamaze child birth classes of today are not what they were when your mom or grandma took them. The underlying message remains — that women deserve to be informed, prepared, and given choices for childbirth. But Lamaze classes today teach from 6 fundamental principles that help increase a woman’s chance of giving birth in the safest, healthiest, and most satisfying way. These 6 Healthy Birth Practices (see image below), along with additional information for breastfeeding, parenting, and postpartum, guide the content in your Lamaze class. Do you still learn about breathing during labor? Yes! But breathing (of which there are many ways to do so) is not a “method” but rather one of several ways to help cope with the pain of labor.

Lamaze classes teach about the “normal” process of birth (how birth can happen all on it’s own and how your body supports this process), as well as variations of what can happen during birth; the complete range of comfort measures, including those for “natural” birth and epidurals; how to choose the best team to support you in labor; and key information to plan for after the baby arrives, including how your body recovers best and breastfeeding information. Lamaze childbirth educators are known for their ability to present evidence-based information on pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding, and teach the information without judgement of choices made.

You can find Lamaze classes in a variety of settings and formats, including private, hospital-based, group classes, weekend classes, and 6, 8, or 12 week series. You’ll find that most Lamaze teachers aim to teach classes in a fun and interactive way — who wants to sit through hours of lecture after lecture?! Lamaze classes are hands-on, multimedia, and entertaining in addition to informative. Families come away with practical information they can use to prepare for their birth experience and beyond.

Want to learn more about the Six Healthy Birth Practices that today’s Lamaze education is based on? See the image below, and head over to the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices information page to read more and watch short, informative video clips on each practice.

Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices

Want to know more about what’s in a Lamaze class? Start here!


Cara Terreri, CD(DONA), LCCE, is a doula and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator at Simple Support Birth in Myrtle Beach, SC, as well as the community manager for the Lamaze parents’ blog, Giving Birth with Confidence. She is a doula and teaches private Lamaze childbirth classes in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas, and is an active member of the Coastal Childbirth Collective, which brings resources and support to families in her community. Cara also lives a full life with her husband, three kids, dog, turtle, and 2 cute tree frogs that live on the back porch. 




Dads, Fathers, Partners, SO — Keeping Your “Other Half” Connected During Pregnancy & Birth

Often overlooked and seldom understood is the role a partner — be it spouse or significant other, male or female — plays during a woman’s pregnancy and birth. It’s easy to see (literally) why an expectant mom is the focus during pregnancy and birth. It’s her body with her baby physically attached! But dads and partners are also having their own special experience right alongside mom during this time. It just looks a little different, which is why it may be hard to appreciate and can lead to a disconnect in your relationship. While you will never be able to fully know each other’s experience, there are things you can do to connect and share in this awesome time together.

Attend prenatal appointments together. I know it’s not always possible, or may be really difficult to both attend a prenatal appointment, but doing so will allow your partner to take a more active role in your prenatal care. Plus, it’s helpful for your partner to get to meet and establish a relationship with your care provider, and ask any burning questions about pregnancy or birth.

Take a childbirth class. Wanna know a secret? Childbirth classes are really for dads! Ok, so that’s not exactly true. But. Taking a childbirth class can provide huge benefits in the way of providing pregnancy and birth information to the person who is not pregnant as well as the expectant mama. It also gives partners an opportunity to ask questions without fear of ridicule. There are no stupid questions!

Invite dad to feel baby kicks. Mom has the luxury of feeling baby kicks all the time, which provides a constant reminder of pregnancy. For most moms, feeling baby kicks and movement is one of the best parts of pregnancy. Inviting your partner to feel your belly when baby is particularly active helps make the experience more real and establishes a bond with baby.

Talk about non-baby-related things. Over the period of 40-42 weeks, pregnancy, birth, and babies can take up the majority of your conversations together. Be sure to spend time talking about other parts of your lives together. Balance goes a long way toward creating harmony.

Go out on dates. Creating a regular date night before baby comes helps you stay in the habit once baby is on the other side. Life with a baby is different, no doubt. But it’s not so different that you can’t maintain some of the same routines and rituals you had pre-baby. Focusing on your relationship as a couple will bring you closer and help you work better together through the new parents phase.

Hire a doula. A doula doesn’t replace dads or partners — a doula’s role is to compliment their support during birth. The best doula makes a woman’s partner look like a hero! Dads who have experienced birth with a doula report a sense of relief and reassurance that someone — besides him — will be there to look after mom and remember all the information from childbirth class and books. Most dads are positively enthusiastic about their experience with a doula.

Give yourselves a break. Pregnancy and the ensuing early parenthood time can be a difficult and stressful time for moms and dads alike. It can help if you lower your expectations and demands for yourselves and each other. You’ll get back to normal — or at least, a new normal!

How did you and your partner maintain a connection during pregnancy? What helped the most?