Lamaze: Meaning, Birth Practices, What to Expect and Where to Learn

Lamaze, meaning the method through which an expecting woman is guided on the process of childbirth,  helps her overcome her fears about giving birth. In this way, a normal birth becomes smooth and easy. 

Childbirth is a natural process that should be allowed to progress uninhibited in an environment that understands and respects it. 

“In labour, a woman may sometimes experience apprehension, anxiety and anger all at the same time. But when empowered, all these emotions can transform into feelings of love and acceptance that is focused on the act of giving birth,” adds Dr Manali Grover, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator at Sitaram Bhartia.  

“As childbirth educators, we counsel women with the right information and support and help them harness their inner strength to manage labour.”

What does Lamaze method mean?

Lamaze, meaning a  method to prepare women for childbirth, was introduced by Dr Fernand Lamaze, a French obstetrician after he observed how pregnant women were encouraged to exercise under the supervision of midwives in the Soviet Union.

The Lamaze method is based on six Healthy Birth Practices around which classes are designed. 

These are:

  • Healthy Birth Practice 1: Let labour begin on its own
  • Healthy Birth Practice 2: Walk, move and change positions throughout labour
  • Healthy Birth Practice 3: Bring a loved one, a friend or doula for continuous support
  • Healthy Birth Practice 4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
  • Healthy Birth Practice 5: Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push
  • Healthy Birth Practice 6: Keep mother and baby together – it’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding

Lamaze method pros and cons

Lamaze classes are attended by couples who want a deeper understanding of childbirth. It is beneficial to attend these classes to 

  • Understand your own belief system about birth
  • Make informed choices
  • Know various methods to ease labour pain
  • Know the role of a birth partner
  • Be prepared for the postpartum period (breastfeeding and newborn care)

The only con may be that your gynecologist or labour ward nurses may not provide care that is in line with Lamaze practices. That is why is important to make sure that you select both a gynecologist and a hospital that truly follow the Lamaze philosophy.

 When should you start Lamaze classes?

We recommend expecting women to attend Lamaze classes in their 7th month when they enter the third trimester. 

What are you taught in Lamaze classes?

Lamaze classes are led by a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator meaning a professional who is trained in the Lamaze method. The Lamaze educator at our hospital teaches 5-8 couples per class and guides you about

  • The Lamaze philosophy of birth
  • Anatomy of pregnancy and labour
  • Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices
  • Pregnancy diet in the third trimester
  • Comfort measures to ease labour pain and breathing techniques
  • Visualization and relaxation techniques
  • Medical interventions in labour
  • Postpartum care, breastfeeding and newborn care

A small batch size helps each couple to get individual attention from the instructor.

“An intimate setting such as this creates a comfortable environment which encourages couples to ask any question on their mind and practice exercises at their own pace, “ says Dr Manali who conducts Lamaze classes  at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital.

Where can you find Lamaze classes in Delhi?

We offer Lamaze classes all year round at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi. 

You do not need to be consulting with us to attend a Lamaze session.

Why choose Sitaram Bhartia for Lamaze?

“The philosophy of Lamaze which means empowering women to trust their bodies to give birth naturally fits in very well with our own beliefs about birth, “ says Dr Manali. 

“Over the last 18 years, we have been educating mothers and their partners about how a normal birth has many advantages for both mother and baby. “

“We help every woman try for a normal delivery, unless it is medically contraindicated.”

Between 2016 – 18, 88% of low-risk, first-birth mothers had a normal delivery at Sitaram Bhartia.

“What you learn in the Lamaze class at our hospital will empower you and help you have a positive birthing experience.”

There are childbirth or Lamaze classes online or available on Youtube as well but the impact of a personal interaction in a class with a Lamaze coach is unmatched.

Second-time mother, Megha Khanduja, who delivered at Sitaram Bhartia, shares her experience, “ My first birth (at another hospital) was a cesarean which could have been avoided, which is why I was keen on a normal delivery this time.”

“Since this was my first time attempting a normal delivery, I wanted to be as informed as possible, instead of being anxious and nervous.”

“To me, the meaning of Lamaze is to educate yourself to make the best decisions for you and your baby, and that concept made me feel comfortable.”

“I was educated about the benefits of normal delivery, how to push, how to control pain and how to breathe which was very helpful during delivery.”

“Birth is normal, natural and healthy and that’s how it should be. I highly recommend Lamaze classes to all expecting women,” concludes Megha.