The Lamaze technique of childbirth encourages mothers to deliver their child in the most natural way possible, with minimum medical intervention.
Childbirth is both exciting and terrifying by turns. Every expectant mother is thrilled with the idea of finally meeting her precious child, but also worried about the birth process. Mass media has already painted a slightly gory picture of childbirth, highlighting the painful aspects more than the positive ones. Modern medicine, too, aims to tame this fear of vaginal childbirth with Caeserian operations – some women opt for the latter instead of waiting for nature to take its course.
While medical intervention during a pregnancy is acceptable in case of foetal distress or if the mother goes into shock brought on by fluctuating blood pressure, it is better to opt for a natural childbirth for a variety of reasons. Science propagates the use of such techniques as Lamaze childbirth to keep the mother in complete control of her pregnancy and its outcome.
What to expect when you’re expecting
The Lamaze technique encourages mothers to have more confidence on their bodies and the childbirth process. It was a concept first popularised in the US in the 1960s. Today, Lamaze pregnancies are mainstream in the US and UK, and some parts of the Europe.
The key to a Lamaze pregnancy is to follow certain breathing and movement techniques to make the childbirth process as easy and natural as possible. For starters, mothers are discouraged from trying to induce labour out of impatience, and they are taught to perform rhythmic breathing to relax their tense muscles and distract themselves from the pain of contractions and childbirth.
The main idea governing Lamaze childbirth is to manage the pain with minimal medical intervention. There are classes taken to teach couples what to expect from the pregnancy process and how to undergo a successful birthing experience. Classes typically begin in the seventh month of pregnancy and are taken for nine weeks. During these classes, mothers are taught the best positions for giving birth, pain management breathing techniques, how the child’s father can help relax the mother and how to respond to varying degrees of pain.
The Childbirth process
Mothers are taught how to recognise the times when they feel they require medical intervention. Also, they are taught how to recognise the early signs of labour, that they should walk or move naturally when the first contractions start and even during longer contractions, how to change positions if they have been lying down and pushing for over 40 minutes and even regulating their breathing moments before the baby emerges.
A Lamaze pregnancy teaches the mother to be in tune with her body’s needs and changes in baby’s movements before birth. She is also trained to recognise the onset of labour and to keep calm throughout the birthing process. It is advisable to keep the doctor in the loop and explore all options for medical pain management (if necessary). Mothers can ask for a specific birthing plan to be followed (no epidurals or other drugs to induce labour) and authorise the doctor to perform a C-section only in case of danger to the mother or the baby.
 Lieberman, Adrienne, ‘All about the Lamaze method’, http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/giving-birth/vaginal/lamaze-childbirth-method/#page=1