Lamaze ClassesIn Portland, Oregon
The History Of Lamaze
The Lamaze method of childbirth preparation was popularized in the 1950’s by a French obstetrician named Fernand Lamaze who observed the benefits of relaxation and controlled breathing during labor while he was living in Russia. He popularized the method in France and it caught on in the United States after Marjorie Karmel wrote a book titled, Thank You, Dr. Lamaze which decribed her birth experience using the method. In the early days of Lamaze classes, the “hee-hee-hoo” rhythmic breathing was the hallmark of the method and this signature breathing was popularized by television and movies. Today, however, Lamaze classes focus on conscious breathing and the Six Healthy Birth Practices that make up the foundation of the method. Lamaze classes has been widely accepted as the standard method of birth preparation in most hospitals today. Lamaze classes are taught by childbirth educators who have been trained and certified by Lamaze International, whose mission is to “advance safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy.”
How Are Lamaze Classes Formatted?
Lamaze classes can be offered in multiple formats, from a day-long class, to a series that spans multiple weeks. Classes can be taught in-person or online and they are taught by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. The foundation of Lamaze classes is the Six Healthy Birth Practices, which are recommendations based on the most up-to-date evidence on a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Lamaze classes support parents without judgment, help people to navigate their birth choices, focus on the physiology of birth each step of the way, and encourage support from your partner and doula. You can expect a fun and interactive class with lots of helpful information, hands-on practice of coping skills, time to connect with your partner, and space to ask whatever questions you might have.
When Should I Take Lamaze Classes?
The best time to take Lamaze classes is usually sometime between the end of the second trimester (23-26 weeks) and the beginning of the third trimester (27-35 weeks). When to start a Lamaze class might also depend on whether the format is a multi-week series or a day-long crash course. The sweet spot for most people is to take Lamaze classes late enough in pregnancy that the information and techniques are still fresh in your mind when you go into labor, but not so late in pregnancy that you risk going into labor early before you can attend the classes. The Birth First Education Center currently offers live Lamaze classes on Zoom or in-person Lamaze classes in Portland Oregon.
Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices
These six healthy birth practices serve as the foundation of the Lamaze class curriculum and are based on the latest evidence based research:
1. Let labor begin on its own.
When your body goes into labor on its own, it indicates that your body, hormones, baby, and placenta are all ready for the labor and birth process. Starting labor on your own means fewer medical interventions are needed and it also inspires confidence in your body’s ability to birth.
2. Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor.
There are many benefits to movement and position changes throughout labor. Being able to walk around and change positions eases pain, causes contractions to work more efficiently, helps bring the baby down, and helps labor to progress more effectively.
3. Bring a loved one, doula, or friend for continuous support.
Continuous support from a labor companion who is skilled at meeting the emotional and physical needs of the birthing person reduces the need for medical interventions, increases the chance of having a vaginal birth, and makes the birth experience more satisfying for both birthing people and their partners.
4. Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary.
Unnecessary medical interventions tend to cause stress and disrupt the birthing process, which can make labor and birth more difficult. Learn about alternatives to common interventions, understand when interventions may become necessary, and discover how to have a healthy and satisfying birth if they do become necessary.
5. Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push.
Standing, kneeling, squatting, or lying on your side during pushing all use gravity to your advantage by allowing your pelvic bones to open and helping the baby descend. Following your own urge to push is less exhausting and safer than being directed to push forcefully.
6. Keep the birthing person and baby together.
Skin to skin contact with your baby in the hours after birth is the healthiest place for your baby to be. It helps your baby transition to breathing, reglaute body temperature, and supports your baby to begin breastfeeding. Being together also boosts bonding and attachment.