From where I stand as a childbirth educator, the general public is NOT aware of current Lamaze education guidelines. Many couples attend childbirth classes for the “breathing” practices which are no longer advocated by Lamaze.
In the 1950′s when Lamaze sprouted as a new and unique approach to childbirth in the USA, it became the beacon for guiding women and their husbands through childbirth. It promoted unmedicated and husband supported births, unheard of in the 50′s!
The breathing methods, the infamous “pattern” based breathing techniques became popular and moms-to-be associated breathing through labor with Lamaze classes. Today women still seek these breathing methods to use during labor and birth even though they are outdated.
Unfortunately, most hospital childbirth classes still teach these outdated breathing techniques. Some hospitals are current such as where I teach – Overlook Medical Center in New Jersey. I continue to teach what I call “traditional” breathing techniques in my classes because moms are looking for them.
So, sometimes it’s best to seek a childbirth educator outside a hospital environment – what you learn in a childbirth class will depend on any educator be it in a hospital or a private class. That’s why it’s important to ask the hospital or educator what kind of breathing techniques are taught.
Jay Leno had Jessica Simpson on his TV show who is very pregnant. Jessica told Jay she wasn’t taking a Lamaze class because:
“women who take Lamaze are“completely out of breath and seeing stars from breathing”
Actually, she’s kinda right because some of the OLD “traditional” breathing methods have been associated with hyperventilating. Even so, many women are hearing statements like this and getting a negative view of Lamaze.
The current Lamaze philosophy is breathing the way a woman feels comfortable or needs to during labor – in other words breathing her, your own way.
What Lamaze focuses on today is teaching moms and dads-to-be how to cope with labor and birth, choices and options for birth, advocacy, comfort measures (with or without medication), the process of birth, professional training, and so much more.
Lamaze has rejuvenated itself as a vital childbirth educational organization that now focuses on “evidence based” research in childbirth. This is important and powerful because for the medical community to lower the rates of certain procedures (inductions, Cesareans, etc.). When science, research, and studies demonstrate the risks to mothers and babies, changes in maternal care can happen, and this is being done.
For most pregnant women, they’re unaware of the alarming rates of Cesareans and inductions being done across the United States and the health risks to moms and babies. But childbirth advocates are very busy pushing for improved childbirth experiences for women and their babies. Lamaze is one such organization, and Childbirth Connection is another.
Childbirth affects every aspect in a woman’s life, throughout her life, as well as her baby and family.