All About the Lamaze Method

Considering taking a Lamaze Method childbirth class? Check out the history and basic principles of this popular natural childbirth technique and find out if it might be right for you.

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An Introduction to Lamaze

Lamaze is the oldest and most popular technique of childbirth preparation in the United States. One in four deliveries -- or about one million births a year -- is to a woman educated in the Lamaze method.

The method originated in the 1960s with the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics (ASPO), but didn't get really popular until the 1970s. Lamaze is popularly known for its rhythmic breathing techniques.

Lamaze is popularly known for its rhythmic breathing techniques, which emphasize active concentration and promote relaxation. The rhythmic breathing patterns help women turn their attention away from their contractions.

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Benefits of the Lamaze Method

Management of pain without drug intervention gives the Lamaze method widespread appeal among parents who seek a natural childbirth experience.

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The Lamaze Childbirth Philosophy

Lamaze teachers stress consumer awareness, introducing medication as an additional tool that women might choose to use and offering its pros and cons. Former Lamaze international president Deb Woolley says, "Like the rest of life, childbirth isn't as good when it's experienced through a haze of drugs or fear."

Lamaze teachers also encourage students to discuss all medical interventions with their caregivers so they can make well-informed decisions during labor.

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When to Take a Lamaze Class

Usually you'll take Lamaze classes for five or six weeks toward the end of pregnancy, for a total of about 12 hours. In some areas you can take a full Lamaze series in a single weekend.

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What to Look for in a Class

Though most ASPO-certified childbirth educations (ACCEs) a nurses, Lamaze teachers can have a background in teaching, social work, counseling, clinical psychology, or physical therapy. Call Lamaze International at (800) 368-4404 or visit for a referral to a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator in your area.

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.

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Additional Information on Natural Childbirth Techniques

Thinking of trying a drug-free birth? Be sure to check out our natural childbirth resources:

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