Childbirth preparation comes in several forms. Some couples choose to attend the shortest class offered by their hospital, wishing simply to learn the hospital procedures or to find out how soon they can get an epidural. Other couples prefer to attend a class that teaches a prescribed format such as the Lamaze (pronounced le MAHZ) method or the Bradley method. This choice requires learning and practicing specific techniques for use during labor. Yet these methods offer more than just breathing techniques. Couples are also encouraged to try other pain-reducing measures that may increase their comfort during labor. Still other prepare for birth by gaining a thorough understanding of the birth process and having the confidence that a woman who is tune with her body will instinctively know how to labor and give birth.
Prepared childbirth, as discussed on this website, presents a variety of options, allowing you to select the tools you desire to individualize your birth. The basis for the breathing techniques is the Lamaze method, named for the French doctor, Fernand Lamaze, who discovered that laboring women could benefit from the conditioning techniques originated by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov. Prepared childbirth, however, is more than just relaxing and breathing. It is an attitude whereby a couple accepts responsibility for their childbirth experience. This method requires you to become familiar with many techniques and procedures. You can then utilize those that provide the most benefit and comfort during your particular labor. This is why there is no success or failure. Since each childbirth is unique and unpredictable, you are prepared to deal with any situation that may arise. The ultimate experience is achieved when you make informed decisions concerning the management of your labor and delivery. This can be accomplished only through education and preparation. It also requires the knowledgeable seeking-out of those birthing facilities and caregivers that will most enhance the type of birth you desire.
As in many scientific and medical fields, the techniques of prepared childbirth are constantly changing. The Lamaze of today is quite different from that Dr. Lamaze’s day, over 60 years ago. Aware childbirth educators are constantly updating and revising their teaching methods in order to incorporate the relaxation and breathing techniques and other pain-relief strategies that have been found most beneficial. The techniques presented on this website are the most current available