Your Questions Answered – Lamaze

Pregnancy can be an extremely overwhelming process on a whole – with different pieces of information leaving you confused, the anxiousness brought on by a first pregnancy, the inevitable fear of labor and childbirth, choosing the right caregiver or simply having unanswered questions. Lamaze is the perfect solution for these needs and more – by using evidence and fact based approaches to manage your pregnancy, Lamaze classes cater to your needs specifically, on a very personal level.

In addition to this, Lamaze classes are able to tackle the central problem incurred by a large majority of couples – the lack of a thorough awareness of the role of the partners in pregnancy. It is a fact that both the mother and father during pregnancy are faced with different difficulties; Lamaze aims to educate the father about the changes occurring within the woman as well as his participation at various stages in the process, and provide the mother with a vivid understanding of all the aspects of her pregnancy. Essentially, a stronger, healthier bond is created between the couple during this process.

If you are still unsure and want to talk to an educator if it is the right thing to do, click here.

Every Lamaze class differs in terms of needs of the clients. However, the basic contents spread over 4 to 8 sessions consists of:

  • Basic anatomy
  • The three trimesters
  • Discomforts faced and how best to deal with it
  • How to choose a caregiver and a birth site
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Comfort measures in labor
  • Types of medical interventions
  • Labor and delivery
  • Breast feeding and postpartum care

Ideal classes can vary in size from 1 couple to 10 couples. These numbers ensure a certain degree of personal attention. To enrol for a Lamaze class click here.

It is advised to ask the following questions when you choose a caregiver and birth site:

  • Who can accompany me during labor and birth?
  • What happens during labor? Ask about most recent induction rates and caesarean rates of the centre.
  • How does this site accommodate differences in culture and belief?
  • Can I walk and change positions during labor and pushing?
  • Ask about how often practices like electronic fetal monitoring, restrictions on food & drink, shaving of pubic hair, administration of enema, insertion of IV needles etc. are used.
  • Besides drugs, how will you help me deal with labor pain?
  • How will you help me with breastfeeding? Will the baby be separated from the mother within the first hour of birth/ before the first breastfeeding session?

The start of labor can be split into two distinct stages- Early labor and Active labor.

  • Early Labor: Quite often women do not realize they are in early labor. Early labor contractions are mild, cramp like pains. It starts at the abdomen and moves towards the back and groin region. Women seek quiet spaces where they feel a sense of privacy and security during this stage. Any form of anxiety or fear can elongate this phase or even shut it down. By the end of this stage, your cervix starts to dilate and open to about 4cm.
  • Active Labor: When contractions last about a minute long and are approximately five minutes apart, are getting stronger by the minute, it can be said you are in active labor. The cervix further dilates from 4cm to about 10cm. At this stage your baby rotates and descends through your pelvis. An urge to push is felt.

Arriving at the hospital too early gets the medical clock ticking which can lead to higher chances of medical interventions during labor and delivery. Midwives and Childbirth Educators recommend that you travel to the hospital when contractions get closer, stronger and increasingly difficult to handle. That said, bear in mind the distance between your home and the hospital. If the birthing centre/hospital is not very far, a woman can spend all of early labor at home and move to the centre when she is well dilated.

The possible signs of preterm labor can be:

  • Lots of contractions
  • A low backache
  • An increase in vaginal discharge well before the last weeks of your pregnancy

Braxton-Hicks contractions can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Tightening and releasing of the uterus when you sit and relax or when you are moving quickly. These contractions are not rhythmic and will not follow a pattern like preterm/early labor.
  • A slow increase in vaginal discharge as your due date approaches.

There are techniques through which you can find comfort in labor. Non-medical techniques can only reduce pain perception, not eliminate it. Conscious breathing reduces your heart rate and anxiety making it the most common comfort measure. Relaxing your muscles through tension release exercises can comfort women who tend to tense up quickly. Warm baths/ showers, alternating hot and cold packs on the back, socks etc. are temperature change techniques that can be used to comfort a woman in labor. Some women relax by listening to their favourite music or just by the touch of their partner/friend/doula.

To learn techniques of comfort and relaxation measures which can be used in labor click here.

Midwives and educators believe that the size of the baby does not determine the need for a caesarean. It is possible to go ahead with a normal vaginal delivery if the baby is big. However, it is important to check with your caregiver/doctor what their views are on this matter and how they progress with it. Your doctor/caregiver will be with you as your pregnancy progresses and their viewpoints and opinions matter the most.

You might need a caesarean if:

  • You have placenta previa.
  • Gestational diabetes or severe pregnancy induced hypertension.
  • You had a previous caesarean and your caregiver does not offer VBAC’s.
  • No labor progress and either mother or baby is in distress.
  • Your baby is in breech position and your caregiver is not skilled at vaginal breech births.
  • The baby’s heart rate is slow and not improving with change in position, oxygen or other interventions.
  • You are haemorrhaging.
  • The baby is in transverse position i.e. lying horizontally across your pelvis.
  • iYour baby’s oxygen supply is blocked.