Lamaze is a method of childbirth developed by French obstetrician Ferdinand Lamaze. This method of childbirth is one of the most commonly taught methods and has been popular in the United States for over 50 years. The core of Lamaze is focused on the utilization of controlled breathing to cope with pain, but the entire methodology is much broader than simply controlled breathing.
Lamaze International states that their goal is to, "increase women's confidence in their ability to give birth". With that, controlled breathing is just one of the coping methods that women are taught in Lamaze classes. It is also important to note that the Lamaze method is not opposed to medical interventions. Instead, the focus is on making sure women are educated and empowered to give true informed consent when presented with this option.
Lamaze classes include over 12 hours of instruction and are normally limited to 12 couples or less. The course covers the following topics:
*Normal labor, birth, and the early postpartum period, usually accompanied with videos of real births
* How to be active and informed in the birth process
* Focused breathing techniques
* Additional relaxation and coping techniques, such as massage, walking, position change, and hydrotherapy
* Instruction to help your partner be encouraging during the birth process
* The value of one-on-one professional support during labor
*Instruction on how to communicate effectively with your healthcare team so your needs are met
* Information on complications that can arise during labor and the medical interventions that may be necessary
* Information on managing pain with medication (i.e. epidurals)
* Early interactions with baby