The philosophy: Lamaze is based on the idea that birth is normal and natural, that women have the right to give birth free of medical intervention and that childbirth education allows women to make informed choices and take responsibility for their own health. Long associated with a specialized breathing technique used during labor, Lamaze means much more today. “A good childbirth class gives women all the information they need to make truly informed decisions,” writes Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, in The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence.
What to expect: You will be given reassurance that birth is normal and that your body can do this. The Lamaze philosophy encourages women to feel confident about giving birth by offering strategies for staying calm and relaxed so that there is no need for pain medication. You’ll learn about all the ways to ensure a normal birth as well as information about breastfeeding.
What to look for: An instructor who is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.
Watch out for: Classes that are too big or focus too much on breathing techniques and lack other helpful, confidence-boosting information and support.
Where to find out more: lamaze.org and The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence by Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, of Lamaze International (Meadowbrook Press, 2005).