Chances are when you hear the phrase “Lamaze Class” your simple mind conjures up images of pregnant women sitting around in a circle, breathing fast and pretending to push. Pop Culture, television, and other forms of entertainment have done a great job of misrepresenting what Lamaze class really is. Many men and even some women look at Lamaze classes with the same stereotype. The truth is that “birthing practice” is actually a small part of the class. I would recommend that all fathers to be try to attend this class with the mother to be.
So what is it? Lamaze class is a set of classes that are usually held once or twice a week over the course of a month. There are also “marathon” versions of the class that are held in shorter periods of times with longer classes. The normal class usually lasts three hours. Every hospital that holds these classes have different schedules, so make sure to call the center that you plan to go to in order to see what type of schedule they have. There a few parts to a traditional Lamaze class. One part of the class may include a tour of the facility that you plan to have the child in. This can prove invaluable when the big day comes. Our instructor gave us a tour of the birthing center and showed us exactly what to do to ensure we ended up in the right place when we showed up that the hospital. She also showed us the birthing room and explained exactly what we would hear and see.
The instructor also went over the hospital procedures for visitors and “spectators.” Whether you realize it or not, the birth of your child will be a spectator sport. Everyone you know will want to be in that room or very close. The instructor showed us where the waiting room was and how best to prepare anyone who wanted to show up. This stuff is important because whether you realize it or not, you will be the go to guy for everything. People will be blowing up your phone wanting to know where to go and what to do. Your wife or girlfriend will not exactly be in any shape to be coordinating family members and friends.
The instructor will go over the types of pain management options and the risks and benefits of each kind. You will also learn about cesarean births and under what circumstances they are warranted. This is all important information that you will to know in the event you have to make health choices in the place of your wife. Also, because of the tremendous amount of emotional fluctuations the mother will be experiencing, it will be up to you to have a level head in the delivery room to make the rational decisions necessary to protect the health of both the mother and the child.
And yes you will learn the methods of coaching the mother through the delivery. However, the “breathing and pushing” you see on television shows is just a small part of the bigger picture. You will be taught how to comfort the mother and allow her to relax. Being relaxed will make the process easier and smoother. You will learn how to use massage pressure points to stimulate calming sensations in her body. You will also learn how to help induce labor naturally to minimize the need for medical intervention.
This part of the class is extremely important. It is the part where you learn how to coach the mother through the labor process. Every mother prides herself in being an expert in childbirth. They think that just because they had a kid 10 years ago they are best equipped to be the coach for the mother to be. Although this might be true, this is not always be the case. You might have the mother in law or even your own mother, trying to kick you out and standing in as a coach for her. Remember, she was probably a little too busy at the time to keep notes on how best to coach herself through the birthing process. Lamaze class will train you to be a good coach for your wife or girlfriend. It will help you understand what is about to happen and what signs to watch for when figuring out whether it is time to go to the hospital.
After attending Lamaze class you will quickly be able to rise above everyone else in your or her family to make rational decisions while everyone else is panicking and trying to get you to take her to the hospital the second she feels a contraction. Allot of what you will learn will be seen by your older family members as “new age” stuff. They might question the things you learned and say “in my day…” This is exactly why as a father you should attend Lamaze class. This will allow you to fight off old wives tales and misinformation that could inadvertently cause you or the mother to go against doctors’ advice or even in some cases take doctors’ advice that might be dispensed in the interest of expedience and not health and safety.