Myth #1: Lamaze is all about breathing.
Reality: The goal of Lamaze classes is to increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth. Lamaze classes help women discover their innate ability to give birth. Women learn simple coping strategies for labor, including focused breathing. But breathing techniques are just one of many things that help women in labor. Movement and positioning, labor support, massage, relaxation, warm baths/showers, and the use of heat and cold are some others.
Myth #2: Lamaze promises painless childbirth.
Reality: Many women are afraid of the pain that is a normal part of childbirth. The pain of labor and birth, like other pain, protects us. Responding to the pain of contractions – by changing positions and moving, by massaging, by moaning – actually strengthens the contractions, helps the baby settle into the pelvis and move through the birth canal, and reduces pain perception. Some women find that experiencing and coping with the pain of labor and birth is similar to the hard work demanded by dancers and athletes. Lamaze classes help women understand the value of pain and learn how to respond to pain in ways that both facilitate labor and increase comfort.
Myth #3: Lamaze childbirth means you can’t have an epidural.
Reality: Lamaze classes provide information about natural pain relief options as well as epidural analgesia. Eliminating pain completely makes it difficult to respond to contractions in ways that facilitate labor and birth. Women who have epidural analgesia are required to have IV fluids and continuous electronic fetal monitoring. They may be encouraged to stay in bed, and may need medications to increase the strength of her contractions. The ability to use many of the comfort techniques learned in Lamaze classes, such as changing positions, walking, and warm baths/showers may be limited. Lamaze education will assist women in making personal decisions that are right for them.
Myth #4: Lamaze doesn’t work.
Reality: Lamaze that “works” has nothing to do with feeling pain, taking or avoiding medication, or developing complications that necessitate medical interventions. Lamaze teaches women that nature has designed birth simply and close to perfectly, and that women already know how to give birth. Lamaze is working if women trust the natural process of birth, have confidence in their ability to give birth, have the freedom to work with their bodies as labor progresses, and are supported by health care providers, family and friends who wait patiently for nature to do its incredible work. Lamaze “works” if birth is allowed to work.
Myth #5: Lamaze is not for everyone.
Reality: Women have always prepared for the birth of their babies. Until recent times, women learned about birth from their own mothers and sisters. Birth took place at home with family rituals and traditions to help them feel confident in their ability to give birth. Women were surrounded by family and wise women who provided comfort and encouragement through labor and in the days and weeks after birth. Today, Lamaze childbirth classes provide the knowledge, skills, and support that help women give birth with confidence and joy as they have done for centuries. Lamaze preparation is for everyone!