Today's Lamaze! (Not Your Ma's Lamaze!!)
What about the breathing?
Whenever anyone hears the word Lamaze, too often Hollywood images of women in the throes of outrageous labor
pains, panting and hooing and hawing are the first images that come to mind. Hollywood does not portrait birth well nor does
it do justice to today’s Lamaze. In the early days, Lamaze was a method but in the 80’s, Lamaze changed from a
method to a philosophy. But change takes time to implement and Lamaze is still trying get the word out.
We haven’t thrown breathing out! But we now encourage women to find the pattern of breathing that works for them as
opposed to prescribing a set pattern. We know that slow paced breathing is the most relaxing, so we encourage women to labor
with breath awareness. Is the way they are breathing working for them, helping them find their rhythm, ritual and relaxation?
(Pennny Simkin’s 3 R’s) As labor intensifies, her body will adapt the pace of her breathing. The only wrong way
to breath in labor is to hold your breath! You’ll pass out! Sometimes it helps to focus on the exhale, sometimes the
ritual may be a deep exhale every 3 or 4 breaths, sometimes it’s singing, moaning, groaning that becomes integrated
in her breathing pattern.
So we still talk about breathing. But we also add so much more: positions,
massage, movement, support, etc. etc.
Lamaze Competencies for Childbirth Educators
- Promotes the childbearing experience as a normal, natural and healthy process which profoundly affects women
and their families.
- Assists women and their families to discover and to use strategies to facilitate normal, natural
and healthy pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting.
- Helps women and their families to understand how
complications and interventions influence the normal course of labor and birth.
- Provides information and support that
encourages attachment behavior between babies and families.
- Assists women and their families to make informed decisions
- Acts as an advocate to promote, normal, natural, healthy and fulfilling childbirth experiences for
women and their families.
- Designs, teaches, and evaluates a course in Lamaze preparation that increases a woman’s
confidence and ability to give birth.
Key Practices for a Healthy Birth
- Let labor begin on its own.
- Walk, move around and change positions during
- Bring a loved one, friend, or doula for continuous support.
- Avoid interventions
that are not medically necessary.
- Avoid giving birth on your back, and follow your body’s
urges to push.
- Keep mother and baby together. It’s best for mother, baby, and breastfeeding.
Philosophy of Healthy Pregnancy
- Pregnancy is a normal, natural life event.
- Women’s bodies are perfectly designed to nourish and
nurture their babies through pregnancy.
- The months of pregnancy are necessary for babies to develop and grow, for
women's bodies to prepare for birth and for women to become mothers.
- Pregnancy provides an opportunity for mothers
and fathers to begin forming life-long bonds with their babies.
- A good support system, a healthy lifestyle and the
ability to cope with the stresses of life promote a healthy pregnancy, a healthy birth and a healthy baby.
- The health
care system and care provider can increase or diminish women’s confidence in the normalcy of pregnancy and in their
ability to have a healthy baby.
- Lamaze education empowers women to gain confidence in their bodies, to trust their
inner wisdom and to make informed decisions about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting.
- Birth is normal, natural, and healthy.
- The experience of birth profoundly affects women and their
- Women have an innate ability to give birth.
- Women’s confidence and ability to give birth
is either enhanced or diminished by the care provider and place of birth.
- Women have the right to give birth free
from routine medical interventions.
- Birth can safely take place in birth centers, homes and hospitals.
education empowers women to make informed choices in health care, to assume responsibility for their health and to trust their
innate ability to give birth.
- Good parenting is vital to the physical, emotional and spiritual health of our children, ourselves and our society.
is joyful, important, challenging and deeply satisfying work that is worthy of everyone’s best efforts.
begins before birth. The intimate connection between children and their parents must be respected and protected from the moment
of birth throughout life.
- Mothers and fathers play unique, irreplaceable roles in their children’s lives.
and children thrive in close, consistent interaction with their parents.
- Parenting is a learned art; our most important
teachers are our own parents, our family, and our children.
- Parenting requires the support of family, friends and
- Knowledge and support enhance parents’ confidence and ability to make informed decisions that meet
the needs of their children and themselves.