Dr. Vijaya Krishnan

10 Reasons to take an Independent Lamaze Class

Not all classes are created equal. Lamaze classes are run with the goal to increase confidence in your ability to give birth. Lamaze classes help you understand how to cope with pain in ways that both facilitate labor and promote comfort — including focused breathing, movement and massage. While all childbirth classes, call themselves “Lamaze” only classes that are run by a Lamaze Certified childbirth educator will give you the in-depth preparation that you will need for having an informed, safe and healthy birth experience. “Selecting a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator ensures that you will be attending a class taught by a competent, highly qualified educator who works as an advocate for childbearing women and their families. The Lamaze credential (LCCE) identifies an educator who has passed a rigorous examination in childbirth education and supports the Lamaze Philosophy of Birth.”

Learn things you never knew about labor, delivery and postpartum care. You’ll find out how to identify the signs of labor and what happens to your body as your baby makes his or her way into the world. And, learn how your body is made to give birth, naturally! In addition, you will learn about how to take care of yourself in the days and weeks following the birth of your baby!

Learn about things other than “breathing” and “exercise”. You’ll realize that while these can be good tools to help both during pregnancy and birth, it is all the other information and confidence-building that happens during Lamaze classes that makes for a good birthing experience.

Address your fears. During childbirth classes, you’ll have the chance to talk about your fears with other women who probably share the same concerns. The childbirth educator can dispel myths and help put your mind at ease. As the class sizes are usually small, she will be willing to incorporate other topics of interest to you. She will welcome your questions and give you a chance to clear up myths or misconceptions.

Connect with your partner or labor support person. Childbirth classes offer your partner or labor support person, the chance to understand childbirth, too — as well as how to support you during labor.

Discuss options for handling pain. Most Definitely. You’ll practice various methods for coping with contractions, such as breathing techniques, relaxation and visualization. Your partner can learn hands-on comfort measures such as massages, and practicing these in the comfort of your home, will allow you to figure out what you find helpful. These will be the tools in your tool bag to help you and your partner manage labor with confidence. Lamaze classes also cover the pros and cons of common medications, such as narcotic analgesics and epidural blocks. If you can labor in water, inside a Watertub, or with the comfort provided by showers, with your partner, and a doula providing your massages, encouragement and frequent nourishment, why would you even want an epidural? The classes will give you options, and definitely, much food for thought!

Get the basics on medical interventions and possible complications. Find out how routine interventions can influence the course of labor. Discussing about the pros and cons of common routine interventions, will make you more informed in the antenatal period, so that you can discuss these options with your doctor/midwife, and know that you have the right to make choices during your labor and birth.

Know what to look for in your doctor and hospital. Knowing what questions to ask, or what to look for in your careprovider/hospital is so important. A recent study tells us that the major difference between whether a mother will have a normal delivery or a C-section, is dependent on the place of birth that she chooses! This does not surprise me. What are you looking for? Things like, does your doctor spend time with you at every visit, and does she answer all your questions patiently? Or are your questions brushed off with nonchalance? When you ask whether you can have a natural birth, are you told yes, you can most certainly try? Or are you told that the decision will be made by your care provider when the time is right? Does your hospital declare its Cesarean Section rates? What is your careprovider’s policy if labor does not start by your “due date’?

Independent Lamaze classes shine a light on the issues which are super important, and red flags to look out for, so that you can make an appropriate decision regarding choosing a careprovider who will give you the best chance at having an optimal childbirth experience!

Brush up on newborn care. In addition to labor and delivery, you’ll likely get a primer on newborns. Common topics include breast-feeding, swaddling, diapering and bathing, cord care, newborn care, newborn jaundice, infant massage, baby growth spurts, and so much more!

Create a social network. Meet other pregnant women and listen to their experiences. There is also the social component of class, the chance to learn with others. In many of my classes, I have seen the best and most unlikely of friendships forming – for a lifetime!! Whatsapp groups are formed, with women not only encouraging each other during labor and birth, but also act as a support system for each other in the delicate postpartum period. While these new friends may not sit around or go out to lunch with you, we can almost guarantee they will pull an allnighter with you, and form a support system when you need it the most!

A word about cheap or free classes: With a very few exceptions, you’re getting what you pay for. Sitting around with 30 other couples, with a few speakers – from different fields – just randomly talking about labor and delivery; or making the class 80% about what exercises and breathing to do; or telling you that if you do a 100 squats per day, a normal delivery is guaranteed – all myths, by the way – is a very different experience than a truly empowering Independent Lamaze Childbirth class.

Now, which other place would offer you all this? A chance to talk about your diet/nutrition, a chance to become physically fit for the hard work of labor, a chance to connect with your body and your baby, a chance to connect with your partner and choose good labor support, a chance to become empowered with good information to help you to make good choices, and finally a chance to learn things that really can last a life time, because they are great building blocks for parenting and the hard decisions you have to start making?

A good Independent Lamaze class, of course!