My friend and former student Simone just sent me these awesome labor pics from her first birth and I couldn’t wait to share them with you all (with permission, of course). Just look at how she moved and grooved through … Continue reading
You 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.
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.
If you think taking a Lamaze class is something only your mom did, think again. Childbirth classes, whether they are Lamaze, Hypnobabies, Bradley, Birthing From Within, or otherwise, provide education and confidence that is invaluable to your pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting. But as you might imagine, not all childbirth classes are created equal. As important as it is to take a childbirth class, it is equally important to make sure the class you take teaches comprehensive (learning about all options) and evidence-based (credible, up-to-date, and using current research) information. How do you go about finding such a class? By following a few simple steps before choosing a class (the standard hospital childbirth class may not be your best option — it depends on who is teaching and what is being taught), you will increase your chances of having a helpful and enjoyable childbirth class experience.
- Learn about the options in your area. Depending on where you live, you may have access to all kinds of childbirth classes. Or you may not. Learn about what’s available by doing a simple Google search, checking on the webpage for your local Birth Network directory, searching DoulaMatch.net, or talking to a local doula or midwife.
- Research the types of childbirth classes. Once you know what’s available to you, spend a few minutes online reading about the different types of childbirth class. Think about your preferences and whether a Lamaze class or a Hypnobirthing class would be more up your alley.
- Certifications matter! Once you have a lead into a class, find out more about the teacher. Questions like, is she certified, how long has she been teaching, and what’s her teaching style, are important. Certification by an accredited childbirth education organization lets you know that your childbirth class teacher has gone through training and has met the organizations requirements for certification.
- Content is king. What will be included in the class? Are all options for important topics like pain relief and comfort in labor reviewed?
- Ask around. Talk to family, friends, local doulas, and midwives to acquire feedback about the classes offered in your area. It’s likely that someone will have insight into the style of teaching and content covered. You may also consider asking your class educator for a reference from a former student.
One of the most common reasons expectant parents give for not attending childbirth classes is lack of time. You may be surprised to find out that childbirth classes are often offered in many different lengths and formats. For example, I teach a variety of length of Myrtle Beach Childbirth Classes. Depending on your educational needs and availability, I can tailor my classes to meet your unique needs. And consider this — how you give birth can impact you and your child for the rest of your lives. Are you willing to invest some time to prepare for that day?
Cara Terreri, CD(DONA), LCCE, is a doula and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, as well as the community manager for the Lamaze parents’ blog, Giving Birth with Confidence. She is a doula and teaches childbirth classes in Myrtle Beach, SC, at Simple Support Birth, and is an active member of the Coastal Childbirth Collective, which brings resources and support to families in her community. Cara also keeps a busy but beautiful life at the beach with her supportive husband and three active kids.