Thought the most common and indeed popular of birthing techniques, the Lamaze method is also one widely debated by all health professionals, experts, and indeed parents throughout pregnancy.
As with all birthing methods, the success of such a technique all depends mainly on the individual in question. That is how they choose to implement it and use it when the time comes.
The Lamaze technique has been around since the 1940s. However, though it still seems to be a go-to choice for many 21st-century moms-to-be, it isn’t without its critics.
Here we break down the many advantages and, of course, disadvantages that are associated with the Lamaze birthing method.
From talking to an array of people from midwives to practitioners, expectant moms to those who have used the Lamaze method during labor and delivery, here’s a list of the potential pros and cons that you may want to take into consideration when writing up your birth plan.
Advantages of the Lamaze Method
- The Lamaze method works harder to reduce the need for accessing pain relief during labor. Though it isn’t necessarily against the use of pain relief altogether, the general concept of Lamaze is to encourage moms-to-be to focus and shift their attention elsewhere, that is on their breathing, rather than toward which pain relief type to ask for. It does this by promoting more in the way of holistic approaches and psychology, as opposed to medication.
- The Lamaze method is an advocate of natural childbirth. Because of its heavy focus on deep breathing exercises and, of course, essential relaxation techniques, the concept of the Lamaze method is regarded towards a natural means of delivery. Though it does indeed acknowledge this is not always possible, there is a heavy emphasis on empowering more women to consider the sheer potential and power of natural labor.
- An essential part of Lamaze training is teaching you how to focus your energy on your breathing correctly. This is not just during childbirth but, most importantly, during pregnancy and indeed afterward. With the idea that you can improve significantly on such techniques when you put in the right effort, the ability to be able to breathe better is much favored all-round, regardless of how your childbirth eventually proceeds.
- Those specific antenatal classes that promote the Lamaze method tend to be amongst some of the most informative when it comes to childbirth education. This is a great advantage for all soon to be parents, especially those first-timers, as it works harder to promote what to expect at all stages of pregnancy and, indeed, the labor and delivery process.
- The Lamaze technique widely recommends having a partner with you throughout the birthing process. Highlighting how a partner can provide you with both emotional support and physical support, this technique is fantastic at getting fathers into the delivery room, as well as making them feel more useful.
Disadvantages of the Lamaze Method
- All the breathing in the world will not take away the inevitable pain that childbirth brings with it. Therefore, it can all come down to individual pain thresholds on the day itself. A natural part of giving birth, pain ideally needs to be acknowledged. The Lamaze technique works hard to take your mind off such pain, but it cannot eliminate it in its entirety. So, you may need to consider alternatives should this not be enough to get you through.
- The breathing techniques of Lamaze are quite in-depth. Therefore, you will more than likely need to attend classes as well as continue to work on these techniques regularly at home. This also extends to when out and about in general. With an emphasis on breathing at the center of this birthing technique, a lot of prep work is required to build up your methods before the big day. This means that to stand a better chance of succeeding here, you’ll need to look at beginning it quite early on.
- Many women find that when they’re deep into their labor and facing an onslaught of contractions, their breathing techniques end up being thrown out of the window! Though this is a common reaction for many methods, and not limited exclusively to just Lamaze, once your focus goes, it can be hard to get back into that zone, particularly when the transition phase begins. For this reason, some women find themselves quickly forgetting everything that they learned about this technique during a time when they need it the most.
- The Lamaze technique is not right for every woman, and often the only way most women discover this is when they are firmly established in the delivery room. For some, though, this can bring on a sense of failure and shame and increase the levels of anxiety. This is, unfortunately, right at the time when the opposite reaction is needed most. This is also especially evident if they haven’t considered a back-up or alternative plan, should the Lamaze method fail to do the job here. Yet, though some women take the many classes and practice the Lamaze technique so well, they fail to consider the possibility that when the time comes, it may not be a good enough choice for them at all.
- As much emphasis as the Lamaze technique places on breathing, the actual way to breathe correctly is not a part of the process. This means that those teaching this method will not instruct on how to breathe correctly. This is all to do with the new wave of teaching, which insists on moving away from what was once considered a most rigid way of informing. Nowadays, the Lamaze method instructs all pregnant women to breathe in whatever way makes the most sense to themselves and one which is the most natural and comfortable of choices. The problem with this approach for many moms-to-be is that childbirth inevitably brings with it a lack of control. So, in the midst of the more painful of contractions, some women find themselves struggling to hold onto those crucial breathing techniques, simply because they’ve never entirely been taught them correctly in the first place.