Lamaze Natural Childbirth Method

Back in the early part of the 1950's a French obstetrician named Ferdinand Lamaze employed Pavlovian theory to develop a method of pain management. Dr. Lamaze believed that laboring women are affected by their surroundings and those who are with them and this might either hamper or ease their labors. The Lamaze method proposes that there should be as little medical intervention as possible during a woman's labor and delivery, though women are schooled about their options for pain medication.

Educated Decisions

The aim of the Lamaze instructor is to empower women with the ability to make their own educated decisions about their health and the health of their babies. In the Lamaze classroom, women are taught to substitute positive ideas for negative preconceptions they may have formed about the process of pregnancy and delivery. Pregnant women and their partners are also taught specific coping skills to use during labor and delivery including breathing techniques and relaxation exercises.

The Lamaze method is taught in a total of 12 hours spanning a 6-8 week period. During this time, the couples are taught about the emotional and physical changes they can expect to occur during pregnancy, in particular during the third trimester. Partners are encouraged toward a high level of trust for each other and to talk about their fears and feelings. This is to prepare them to work together as a team during the labor.

Applying Counter-Pressure

The couples are taught how to cope with the various discomforts of pregnancy, including a method of applying counter-pressure to alleviate lower back pain. For labor pains, the couples are taught something called touch relaxation in which the woman learns to relax specific muscle groups in response to her partner's touch. The partner is taught to pay attention to how the woman's muscles appear when tense. When the partner sees signs of muscle tension, he can touch those areas, reminding her to consciously loosen those muscle groups.

Sometimes, contractions are felt in the back more than in the woman's abdomen. For this type of pain, couples are taught a type of pelvic-rocking that is done while squatting on hands and knees. Counter-pressure is also a typical Lamaze technique for relieving this type of pain.

The Lamaze breathing techniques help keep a mother focused so that she remains in control of her pain. Deep and measured breathing allows the mother to use her energy for birth instead of wasting it on battling pain which might slow or even complicate her delivery.