Lamaze Childbirth Preparation began in 1957 as a training method in breathing techniques for “neuromuscular control” and mental concentration to reduce childbirth pain.
In 1995, Lamaze officially changed its philosophy to uphold these principles and care practices:
- Birth is normal, natural and healthy
- The experience of birth profoundly affects women and their families
- Women’s inner wisdom guides them through birth
- Women’s confidence and ability to give birth is either enhanced or diminished by the care provider and place of birth
- Women have the right to give birth free from routine medical interventions
- Birth can safely take place in homes, birth centers and hospitals
- Childbirth education empowers women to make informed choices in health care, to assume responsibility for their health and to trust their inner wisdom
- Labor Begins on Its Own
- Freedom of Movement throughout Labor
- Continuous Emotional and Physical Support
- No Routine Interventions
- Spontaneous Pushing in Upright or Gravity-Neutral Positions
- No Separation of Mother and Baby with Unlimited Opportunities to Breastfeed
Lamaze’s updated philosophy shares the same beliefs upon which Supported Birth Classes have always been based. Both explore a variety of ways in which women may find strength and comfort during labor. Instructors will have their own individual approaches and styles when conveying these concepts.
Supported Birth possibly differs in the following ways:
- Smaller, more personal classes
- Supported Birth book
- Interaction, sharing, exploring feelings of dads and couples
- Comfortable group discussions
- Prepare not just for labor but for having a baby (postpartum & relationship issues)
- Current technical information in an engaging, accessible style
- Instructors stay up-to-date on latest birth trends
- Curriculum based on a wide range of sources & on student input
- Low-cost, mid-range, and full price doulas available from the Supported Birth Directory
- Class Reunions
HypnoBirthing is an education series including deep relaxation techniques and self-hypnosis (in instruction, DVD or CD format). The HypnoBirthing method teaches that “in the absence of fear and tension, or special medical circumstances, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor.” The goal is to eliminate pain and fear from the birth experience by training to achieve complete relaxation, “free of the resistance that fear creates, and to use your natural birthing instincts for a calm, serene and comfortable birth.” Birthing instructors aim to “teach women and their birthing companions to trust birth and release all fear and limiting thoughts….and to be able to determine the degree and the manner in which you will feel the surges.”
Commitment to deep relaxation training can be very beneficial when practiced as much as possible beforehand. Supported Birth believes that women deserve more than one option to rely on in labor, that they should not hold themselves to the goal of a painfree labor, and that many other choices should be available in addition to the invaluable use of relaxation techniques.
The Bradley Method of Husband-Coached Childbirth emphasizes the goal of an unmedicated, natural childbirth and is based on a 12-point list of endorsements:
- natural childbirth as the safest way to have a baby (in the absence of medical complications)
- active participation of husband as coach
- excellent nutrition as the foundation for a healthy pregnancy
- avoidance of drugs unless absolutely necessary
- early classes starting in the 6th month and continuing
- relaxation and natural breathing
- “tuning-in” to one’s body
- immediate and continuous contact with newborn
- breast feeding
- positive communication and consumerism
- responsibility for the safety of the birth place and procedures based on education
- preparation for the unexpected
Supported Birth educates couples to make conscious choices about the birth of their baby, based on a combination of technical knowledge, confidence in the natural process of birth, rediscovering and trusting instincts, and many time-proven pain-coping tools and techniques.
There is no “right way” to give birth. Supported Birth explores the factors that can influence labor, what are true complications, and when medical intervention is appropriate. However the naturalness, normalcy, femaleness, and primitiveness of birth is emphasized.
Supported Birth wants each woman to know that she already instinctively knows how to give birth, when given the freedom to labor with as much support and privacy as possible. A woman’s need to feel safe in her birthing environment can be greatly enhanced by experienced labor support. Supported Birth offers low-cost, mid-range, and full price doulas from the Supported Birth Directory.
Birth is the bridge into the major life transition of parenthood, and Supported Birth classes also explore issues facing couples, fathers, and mothers as they confront the challenges of enormous change. Giving birth can be a transformational experience. Supported Birth wants it to be an empowering and positive one.
Unique to Supported Birth classes, you receive:
- Managing expectations for a wide range of experiences
- Special guided discussions that allow sharing with other couples
- Special guided discussions that allow individuals to explore their relationships, their feelings about birth and parenthood
- Films uniquely created for Supported Birth
- Preparation for everything from home birth to high-risk hospital birth
- Reviews of local hospitals and caregivers by past Supported Birth students
- Resource lists: labor and postpartum doulas, postpartum resources and groups, lactation consultants, pediatricians, books, breastfeeding issues, placenta encapsulators, optimal fetal positioning, birth centers and home birth midwives
- Reunions with babies
Supported Birth classes are often the choice of birth preparation for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
Supported Birth classes are able to be flexible when necessary to accommodate one anothers’ schedules.
Hospital classes may be tempting because they are shorter or cost less. However, they tend to be larger, less personal, and more likely to cover the basics of a conventional hospital birth – procedures, protocols, routine epidurals, cesareans, etc. Traditional information may be handed to you, rather than conveyed in a way that allows you to grow. Supported Birth classes offer interaction and involvement, making for a true learning experience.
We do experiment with breathing techniques but they are not like the Hollywood images of huffing & blowing that many people have. I like to think of these more as focusing / mental tools for dealing with labor. The approaches go above & beyond breathing. There is not a list of instructions and there is not a “one size fits all” approach. Concepts, comfort techniques, partner’s physical and emotional support, and much more, will help you feel well-prepared for whatever works best for you in labor.
Various labor scenarios are covered, including those that might be well-suited for an epidural. Even if you have an epidural, birth classes will help you deal with your labor prior to pain medication. Women who choose epidurals still find the preparation invaluable. Supported Birth classes are non-judgmental, based on making informed choices that are best for you.
If you would like a natural, unmedicated birth, this is the class for you. If you would like an epidural, this is the class for you. The class will help you put together the ingredients (environment, labor support, skills, mindset, optimal positioning) for a natural birth and the class will help you make informed decisions about epidurals and be confident in your choices. There is no right or wrong – just the goal of starting parenthood, the greatest responsibility and hardest job of your life, making conscious choices that are right for you. There will be lots to learn in the coming years!
Taking Supported Birth classes in no way requires you to have a professional doula at your birth. You may have someone in your life who can act in the role of doula, or you may decide you want just your partner alongside you. Supported Birth classes offer a current list of trained doulas in the low cost, mid-range and full price, depending on their experience. We do believe in the well-proven benefits of a nurturing, experienced birth team, and the continuity of care model, but there are some women who feel safer with just their partner and hospital staff.