So you have just found out you are pregnant? Once the ‘dust settles,’ next on the agenda for Mum-to-be is to look for a childbirth education class. As I am sure you will agree with me, most Mums would love to plan for the most natural childbirth possible. This blog will look at some of the methods you might find out about; Lamaze, Hypnobirthing and the Bradley Method.

There are so many options out there, so many different methods, which may make you feel overwhelmed. Especially if you aren’t sure which class will be the right fit for you and your birthing partner. For example, should you take a class in person or online? Should you spend time preparing for a natural birth whilst simultaneously preparing other choices such as one with an epidural or even a c-section? 

Of course our generation of Mums has the benefit of Google at our fingertips. But with so much information out there, it can even make it more difficult to make decisions! So in this blog I would like to try and make it a bit simpler, by providing some basic information which can help you to make a decision.

Lamaze

This method, popularised by a French obstetrician (of the same name) in the 1950s, would have been used not only by your Mother but maybe also your Grandmother. 

Lamaze helps prepare Mum and birthing partner for labour and birth through presentations on:

  • Massage 
  • Breathing
  • Movement  
Dr Fernand Lamaze (1891–1957)

When one thinks of childbirth most will think immediately of Lamaze because it is so widely recognised.  Its core teaching is based on the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices:

  1. Letting labour begin on its own 
  2. Movement during labour
  3. Continuous labour support
  4. Avoiding unnecessary interventions
  5. Following Mum’s urges to push 
  6. Keeping Mum and baby together after birth

Classes can be taken in person or online. Check out 10 things you ought to know about Lamaze.

Hypnobirthing

I used this method for my second one, in unison with a water birth.  I did my research and felt this was the one for me. From personal experience it allowed me the most natural childbirth I had always dreamed of. Hypnobirthing has gained huge popularity over the past recent years because of an increase in the desire of Mums to have a natural childbirth.

There are many hypno-based classes available either in person, or online. I work with a lovely lady, local to me in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, called Anne Bayati. She is involved in the antenatal education for the local Trust, being the lead Midwife for Hypnobirthing.

Hypnobirthing classes focus on teaching students self-hypnosis which is said to facilitate deep relaxation throughout the labour and birthing process.  In order to create this state of self-hypnosis, Mum-to-be will use:

  • Visualizations 
  • Suggestions 
  • Affirmations 

These would have been practised prenatally.  Prior to birth and during labour Mum will often be listening to one of her guided visualisations to aid her in creating her state of self-hypnosis. During labour this can help reduce the fear and pain of a natural childbirth.  In fact in times of stress or simply at bed time, I often still listen to mine! The one I use is by Marie F Mongan. I also use her recordings with my clients, at the end of each session to help their bodies and minds relax.  Her book HypnoBirthing (the Mongan Method) is well worth a read and I highly recommend it.

To quote Anne Bayati:

“The simple concept made such sense to me; having an understanding of the mind/body connection during birth, being relaxed, feeling in control and entrusting confidence in the body’s birthing ability resulted in a more positive experience of birth.  Couples feel empowered knowing they have a ‘toolkit of techniques’ at hand during birth and their positive mindset re-enforces the belief that they and their bodies can do it.”

Click here link to find out more about Hypnobirthing.

The Bradley Method

This method was made popular in the 1960’s by the book ‘Husband Coached Childbirth’ by Dr Bradley and continues to be used as a way to prepare for childbirth. 

The basis of the Bradley method is to empower the birth partner to advocate for Mum-to-be during labour. It is based on the premise that the birth will be a natural one and that Mums should prepare for it throughout their pregnancy with:

  • Education
  • Diet
  • Exercise (cannot disagree here!)

Dr Bradley is a strong advocate of Mum having a birthing partner throughout the labour and birth.  Classes attendance is required over 12 weeks. If you want to know more then click here. This particular service is based in Southampton, but well worth a read!

And last but not least…

Arrow

Arrow is the new kid on the block of birthing methods, with the use of their up-to-date, cutting-edge digital platform. It is coming out of the USA, priced in dollars.  This course is entirely online and aimed towards today’s modern parents. This platform prepares Mum for any type of birth she and her birthing partner may want:

  • Natural
  • Medicated 
  • And/or cesarean

For the founders of Arrow, it was crucial that every type of birth is taught. They believe experience has shown that no matter what Mum-to-be wishes, she will never know how her baby may want or need to be born.  Their team are experienced up to the hilt, with a team of 35+ OBGYNs, Midwives and Doulas. They teach to what they know best and still experience, so that any Mum-to-be visiting their site will always get the information from source. It’s available online at arrowbirth.com/learn. Worth a visit to weigh up your options.

So there are many options to choose from when it comes to finding out and educating yourself for the magical and momentous birth of your baby.  As you have seen from all my previous blogs about labour and birth options, make sure you do the same when it comes to your birthing method, so you are informed, empowered and make the right decisions for you, your baby and growing family. Remember at any time you can change your mind and your midwife is always there to discuss options.  So don’t just wish for a great birth – Prepare for one.

Happy Options, Happy Choice, Happy Birthing!

References:

  • Sofeminine
  • The Home of Hypnobirthing  
  • Your Natural Birth