Last Updated: January 14, 2023, 18:57 IST
Lamaze breathing is a conscious breathing technique that focuses on slow, deep breaths. Also known as the psychoprophylactic method of breathing, it helps pregnant women feel more relaxed and in control during labour. The method was created by Dr Fernand Lamaze in 1951 and includes breathing and relaxation, emotional support, and childbirth classes. The technique has become quite famous these days among parents-to-be. The classes for Lamaze breathing not only include the breathing technique, but also strategies that help deal with the extreme pain of contractions.
There are six healthy birth practices that are always advocated, alongside the breathing technique. According to Medical News Today, the six practices are:
Helping labour start on its own.
Helping the pregnant woman move around and change positions during labour and delivery.
Encourage continuous emotional support from a loved one or friend.
Avoiding unnecessary medical interventions.
Avoiding giving birth to the baby lying on the back and encouraging the mother to follow the instincts of pushing in labour.
Keeping the birthing parent and baby together after birth.
Lamaze originally taught people breathing techniques to manage the pain of childbirth and also consulted parents on when to use them. Today, Lamaze International encourages people to learn the techniques but also suggests that the application has a limited effect and there is no ‘right way’ of breathing during labour.
Conscious breathing means that a person has full control over the speed and depth of inhalation and exhalation. With Lamaze, a cleansing breath is a slow, deep inhalation through the nose before an exhalation through the mouth.
Slowing down breathing can help a person relax. Structured breathing involves taking two or three quick, shallow inhales and then a long exhale. This is in a “hee, hee, hoo” or “pant, pant, blow” manner.
While conscious and relaxed breathing helps mothers relax and deal with the pain during the first stage of labour, people rely on structured breathing more during active labour.
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