Are you a mom-to-be looking for the right birth class to make your childbirth experience more natural and joyful? Then I’m sure your relatives and friends must have recommended Lamaze.
The Lamaze technique is among the oldest, most popular, and loved birthing techniques. If you’re like most expecting mothers looking into online childbirth classes, you may be wondering, “Are Lamaze classes worth it?”
I personally attended Lamaze classes when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I can tell you they can be super effective. But it is natural to have questions like what do Lamaze classes teach? Are they really helpful? And most importantly, are these the right birthing classes for me?
Here at She Births Bravely, we help moms prepare beautiful powerful, unforgettable births. I often have people ask me, how does my own class, Birth Undone, compare to other classes, specifically Lamaze classes.
Well, you need to understand, we are super proud of our class and the results we get for our moms. That said, there are times when a Lamaze class may be the better option. So what this article is going to do is explain to you honestly and transparently the pros and the cons of both classes.
Then, by the end, you will have a sense of which is the best choice for you.
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Founded by a French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze, and one of his patients, Marjorie Karmel, the Lamaze technique has been around since the 1950s. Lamaze became famous because of rhythmic breathing techniques. Breathing can reduce the fear of labor and help moms cope with pain during contractions.
But, breathing is not all that the Lamaze technique is about today. Lamaze classes also teach you different techniques and exercises to manage the pain associated with labor and childbirth. And another great thing about these classes is that they give you some very useful research-based information regarding pregnancy.
Course Objective: The aim of Lamaze classes is to help moms-to-be prepare for safe, healthy, and natural childbirth.It does this by teaching rhythmic breathing techniques and provided research-based information about childbirth.
Why Does Lamaze Breathing Work?
When Lamaze was first created, most women were confined to bed, often alone, without their partner or doula. They had to get through birth without any kind of support around them. The goal was to help women avoid the need for drugs (which at the time, was a dangerous dose of morphine and other physchotics called Twilight sleep) and give birth naturally, even if they were in a confined space. Breathing was really the only tool they had. That is why Lamaze initially taught breathing as the sacred grail of giving birth without drugs.
In many ways the birth world has improved and become more respectful of women and their needs. Yet, in other ways it has gotten worse. At the time Lamaze was established, most labors started on their own, continued and ended naturally without intervention other than varioius forms of pain medication.
IV’s continuous electronic fetal monitoring and epidurls weren’t a part of most labors. The cesarean rate was only 6% when Lamaze was created. That rate has incrased so much since then that 1 in 3 moms have births via c-sections now.
Controlled breathing, or following breathing patterns can enhance relaxation and decrease the perception of pain. Now, it is one of many comfort strategies taught in Lamaze classes. Concious breathing and relaxation that helps a mom keep her focus can help women avoid unnecesary medical interventions and have a safe, healthy birth.
What Does A Lamaze Class Teach You?
The Lamaze technique is based on six evidence-based birth practices. These practices help moms have a healtheir and safer birth experience. What are the six Lamaze principals?
Lamaze Principal 1: Wait For Spontaneous Natural Labor
This is the belief that your body knows when to give birth and how to start the process of birth. Waiting for your body to go into labor on its own also increases the chances of your baby being healthier. The Lamaze stance is that labor should only be induced, or started by medicine, if it is medically necessary to save a life.
Lamaze Principal 2: Be On Your Feet Throughout Labor
When you walk and change positions in labor, it helps you deal with intense contractions so that your body continues going into labor. And it also allows your baby to travel from your pelvis to the birth canal gently. Dancing, walking, moving, swaying, all help your labor progress.
Lamaze Principal 3: Take Your Partner, A Close Family Member Or Friend To The Hospital
Having the support of a near and dear one during birth boosts your morale and gives you confidence. You can also take your doula with you.
Lamaze Principal 4: Don’t Opt For Medical Interventions Unless Absolutely Necessary
Research shows that unnecessary medical intervention during labor doesn’t do any good and carries risk. You should only choose medical treatments if they are absolutely necessary.
Lamaze Principal 5: Trust Your Body When It Tells You It’s Time To Push
Research shows that allowing moms to push when their body feels the need to push aids in making the birth experience positive.
Lamaze Principal 6: Hold Your Baby On Your Chest Right After Birth
Your baby should be placed on your chest skin to skin for the first hour after birth. This provides continual benefits to mom and baby. If there are no problems, all tests, weighing and procedures should wiat until after this time.
What Happens At A Lamaze Class?
A typical Lamaze class will have six classes (a total of 12 hours). If time is tight, you may be able to find a class that is taught over a weekend or a condensed class. Lamaze classes are given in birthing centers, hospitals or an independent business place.
In a typical Lamaze class, you will begin each session by talking about your fears and concerns about your upcoming birth. You will then learn about the emotional and physical changes that happen in each stage of labor. Your instructor will then take you and your partner through exercises that will help you work together to get through contractions.
In the last Lamaze class, most instructors will take you through a labor simulation. In this process, you will have to place your hand in a bucket of ice water for the length of a contraction. Your partner will then help you through it using the comfort measures you learned in class. You will usually repeat this for about 10 to 30 minutes, to get the feeling of the rhythm of birth.
Why Are Lamaze Classes Still Popular?
If you are seeking a healthy, unmedicated birth, Lamaze classes can be a great option. Taking a Lamaze class before my second birth made a huge impact on the quality of my birth experience. It validated the decisions I made, and helped me feel confident as I waited for labor to begin.
Many other moms have similar, positive expereinces with Lamaze classes. Not to mention that the Lamaze foundation is continously sponsoring research and working to make birth as safe as possible for all moms.
If you already know you want a natural birth, for sure, and you want a class with a solid foundation in research and evidence instead of a more woo hypnobirthing approach, this can be a great class for you.
You may be wondering at this point, if I love Lamaze so much, why did I create my own course? and that is a great question. The reason is that Lamaze is great, but it’s not perfect.
How Do Lamaze Classes and Birth Undone Compare?
My interest in childbirth education was sparked when I was a new doula. A doula is essentially a childbirth coach or companion. For part of my training, I had to volunteer at several different childbirth classes. I then attended several births of the women in these classes.
And I noticed a HUGE problem.
Most moms who took a childbirth class were prepared well for a straightforward birth.
But…. not all moms had a straightforward birth.
Many moms were having labors that were far more compliated than what was presented in the class. They were facing challenges that made birth more difficult, more painful, and made medical intervention the right choice.
This led me to begin asking a new question. Why are some births complicated and dangerous, and other births straightforward and safe? And is there anything a mom can do to encourage her birth to be straightforwards and safe?
My efforts in exploring this question eventually led to me creating my own course. You can find my answers to that question inside of Birth Undone.
What Do You Learn In The Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge?
I certainly agree full-heartedly with the principals of the Lamaze classes. There is a reason they have been so popular for such a long time. The Lamaze principals are backed by research. It can certainly help moms get through labor without interventions most of the time.
Beathing techniques, comfort suggestions and relaxation techniques that will help you stay calm and focused through labor.
Together with your partner, you will learn to cope with pain. As you work together your sense of respect and trust in each other will grow.
You will practice simple exercises that make birth safer and easier. These exercises also help your baby get into an ideal position for birth, which makes birth more straightforward.
And of course, nutrition. The proper foods can significantly reduce your risk for life-threatening complications such as preeclampsia and preterm birth.
The objective of the the Birth Undone is to help you work through your fears, undoe as much risk as possible through exercise and nutrition, and decrease the amount of pain you perceive so that you can have the calm peaceful birth you are made for. We want to both prepare you for birth AND make your birth a straightforward and simple process.
For moms that choose a natural, drug-free birth, this course will prepare them better than any course currently on the market. We believe that natural birth is attainable to any well prepared, well-supported mom.
For moms who choose an epidural, this class will help them reduce risks and minimize the challenges an epidural can add to a birth experience. Helping them have a safe and simple birth if an epidural is right for them.
What Makes Birth Undone Different Than Other Birth Classes?
Where we really excel is presenting this information in a way that helps you embody it. The truth is, preparing your body, mind, baby, and relationship for birth takes work. Yes, it is rewarding work, but it is work.
We also know that moms have more demands on their bodies, time, and relationships than ever during pregnancy. Instead of long weekly classes, Birth Undone is a small daily commitment to preparing for birth. Lessons are ten minutes long over the course of 8 weeks or can be binge watched in a weekend. This means moms can get their childbirth prep done even if they are busy and overwhelmed.
We also know that making life changes and putting attention on preparing for birth can be difficult. That is why we created an online community of moms. In this space, moms share frustrations and challenges they are facing. Together, moms work towards positive birth experiences.
Plus, when you actually do the things that help you have a safer, more straightforward birth, like eating a nutritious meal or doing stretches that will help protect your pelvic floor, you can win super awesome giveaways. I know motivation can be hard to find when you have so much on your plate, that’s why we help you find it.
We don’t want you to just know what you can do to make birth easier, safer and more rewarding, but have the community, friendship and motivation to actually do the things that will help you meet your goal.
How Do I Know Which Class Is Right For Me?
By now, you probably have a pretty good sense of what each class is about. Of course, we would absolutely love to have you in Birth Undone. Our classes start on the first of every month.
That being said, if you prefer in person classes, Lamaze classes are an excellent choice.
I would encourage you to choose a class where you feel safe asking your questions, working with your partner, and moving towards the birth you want. A mother’s intuition is almost always right when it comes to which class is best for her.
Who Teaches Lamaze Classes And The Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge?
Lamaze classes are only taught by their professional Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE). This is their way of ensuring that you are being taught the right techniques and are given the right information. Certified Instructors are available in a wide range of areas, and you can find one in your region online through the Lamaze website. Online classes are also available.
Birth Undone is taught by me, Suzzie Vehrs. I am a Birth Arts International certified doula and childbirth educator. I also have a Bachelor of Science in Economics through Brigham Young University.
How Much Do Lamaze Classes Cost Compared To Birth Undone
Lamaze classes typically cost between $150-$350. The cost depends on the region and instructor. Some of the less expensive classes are weekend classes or shortened condensed classes.
Birth Undone is $347.
Keep in mind, you may be able to be reimbursed for some of these expenses through your insurance. You can also usually use Health Savings Accounts to cover childbirth education. This includes both Lamaze classes and the Healthy Start Birth Prep Challenge.
When Is The Right Time to Take Lamaze Classes?
Most Lamaze instructors recommend you take classes at tthe middle to end of your third trimeseter. However, I recommend that you get a jumpstart and start in your second trimester. This is because many things you learn, should be practiced. Breathing techniques, relaxation techniques, nutirtion, exercises, they all give you more bang for your buck so to speak if you have a bit of time to practice them.
Do Birth Classes Gaurantee My Birth Will Be Safe And Easy?
Even though these classes do help you manage pain, be more relaxed during labor and birth, and help in giving birth naturally, you need to accept the fact that childbirth doesn’t always go as expected or planned. The birth experience is not the same for everyone. It can be quite intense and painful for some women, while others may find it quicker and easier. Medical interventions may be necessary in some cases.
That being said, many studies confirm that when a mom takes a high-quality childbirth education class she is less likely to have a c-section or need medical interventions. The knowledge you gain during a childbirth class will help you decrease your risks and make informed decisions along the way.
How Do Lamaze Classes Compare to Hypnobirthing Classes?
Although both the techniques involve ways to help expectant mothers with natural childbirth, Lamaze and hypnobirthing are based on totally different belief systems. While Lamaze focuses on research-based practices for a healthy birth, hypnobirthing is all about dealing with pain through self-hypnosis using positive affirmations, hypnosis tracks, controlled breathing, and meditation.
Hypnobirthing involves going into a deep relaxation mode by using hypnosis techniques that help in relaxing the body muscles of the mom-to-be during labor. It is based on the work of Dr. Dick-Read, an English obstetrician, which states that pain caused during labor is linked with the fear of labor, which increases the heart rate and makes the blood flow away from the uterus.
When I was creating Birth Undone, my goal was to combine both the mental training of hypnobabies with the physical training and evidence based practices of Lamaze into one easily accessible place.
TL:DR Are Lamaze Classes Still a Thing and Are They Actually Worth It?
Lamaze classes were quite popular in the 80s and 90s, and they are definitely still around today. Lamaze classes are designed to help you have a healthy, safe natural childbirth.
The Birth Undone is an online childbirth course that helps you prepare your body, mind, baby, and partner to work together through birth. It totally prepares you for birth whether you are choosing and epidural or not. So that you can have a straightforward, safe birth.
As I’ve worked with mothers over the years, I’ve noticed that many moms have a high priority of avoiding an unnecessary c-section and nurturing their relationship through birth. It’s true, both of these classes will help with those goals.
Lamaze classes are perfect for moms who want an in person, class.
Birth Undone is perfect for busy moms. These are the moms who have demands on their time and energy. They will benefit from the support of an online class in many ways. First, the flexibility to choose when to watch classes. Second, the friendship and encouragement of other moms also preparing for birth in the exclusive online community. Third, because when you do the things you learn in class, you are entered to win amazing giveaways.
I hope this article helped you understand the pros and cons of Lamaze classes compared to the Birth Undone. We would LOVE to help you prepare for a fabulous birth. Our next class starts on the first of the month! If you have any questions reach out to Suzzie at contact @shebirthsbravely.com.
feeling great about birth is our gift to you. Let us help you make your beautiful beginning a reality.
""I confided in Suzzie that I struggle with anxiety and a lot of self doubt. To be honest, I just wasn't sure I was cut out to do birth. After a conversation with her, I realized that the process of overcoming these doubts and fears was going to be an amazing gift. She gave me confidence to start working towards the birth I wanted. I went into birth feeling safe and ready. And I had a great experience. I'm glad I had the courage to start. That was the hardest part." - Olivia-Grace , a mom who took the first step and kept on going