Imagine what it would feel like to take piloting lessons and then never be allowed to actually fly an airplane. That’s how many fathers-to-be felt in the early days of prepared childbirth. A couple would take Lamaze classes, but the husband would not be allowed in the delivery room for his baby’s birth. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the parents and older siblings of today’s expectant couples fought long and hard for the right to experience husband-attended labors and deliveries, as well as for many other birthing options that were not readily available at that time.
Over the years, the efforts of these early advocates have paid off. The couples’ perseverance prompted studies that showed that there actually are measurable benefits to having a support person during labor–that the presence of a support person can result in a shorter labor and fewer complications. Studies have even shown that continuous labor support may decrease the chances of a cesarean delivery. Other birthing options have also been proven to be of benefit to the woman and baby. for example, walking during labor, rather than being confined to a bed, has been shown to speed up labor and to decrease the need for pain medication. Breastfeeding immediately after birth and on demand thereafter is now known to be extremely beneficial to the newborn. These, and many other options that were denied in the past, are presently available to most expectant couples.
Today, it is a rare hospital that does not encourage at least one support person during labor and delivery. Laboring women are often allowed to move around as they desire and to choose the position of greatest comfort. Immediate breastfeeding and bonding are encouraged, and siblings are often permitted to be included in the birthing and bonding experiences. Family involvement has become the standard in the most birthing units. In addition, many out-of-hospital birth centers have opened throughout the country, allowing the greatest freedom for couples desiring to plan their own births.
Because so many options are now available, it is even more important for expectant couples to educate themselves before making decisions. The options today include the use of such technological advances as ultrasound, which is employed during labor to monitor the baby, and medications such as the epidural, which many women choose in an effort to avoid pain. Only by becoming familiar with the benefits and risks of all the available options can a couple make wise decisions. Education is the purpose of this website. Expectant couples are no longer in the position of having to push for what they want. Now their responsibility is even greater–they must learn all they can about the many choices available so that when their special day arrives, they can choose the options that are best for them. the birth of her baby is one of the most significant events in a woman’s life–one of the few that she will remember in great details even decades later. Well-thought-out decisions can help ensure an optimum birth experience and positive memories.
This website is designed to accompany couples from the early months of pregnancy through the early months of parenthood. It provides very valuable information to help you have a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy and awake and aware childbirth experience. It also offers information on baby care and parenting. In addition, throughout the website you will find helpful hints directed to the labor partner or father-to-be. Utilizing these will increase your mate’s participation in the pregnancy, labor, and birth processes, and will enhance his role in parenting.
What is Family-Centered Maternity Care?
The term family-centered maternity care (FCMC) implies family togetherness during the time of labor and delivery. The needs and feelings of the mother, father, and baby are of the utmost importance, second only to the safety of the mother and baby. FCMC includes such concepts as father participation in labor, delivery and cesarean birth; bonding time; rooming-in; sibling involvement; and presence of other family members and/or friends during labor and delivery. All of these concepts are discussed on this website.
Childbirth preparation comes in several forms. Some couples choose to attend the shortest class offered by their hospital, wishing simply to learn the hospital procedures or to find out how soon they can get an epidural. Other couples prefer to attend a class that teaches a prescribed format such as the Lamaze (pronounced le MAHZ) method or the Bradley method. This choice requires learning and practicing specific techniques for use during labor. Yet these methods offer more than just breathing techniques. Couples are also encouraged to try other pain-reducing measures that may increase their comfort during labor. Still other prepare for birth by gaining a thorough understanding of the birth process and having the confidence that a woman who is tune with her body will instinctively know how to labor and give birth.
Prepared childbirth, as discussed on this website, presents a variety of options, allowing you to select the tools you desire to individualize your birth. The basis for the breathing techniques is the Lamaze method, named for the French doctor, Fernand Lamaze, who discovered that laboring women could benefit from the conditioning techniques originated by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov. Prepared childbirth, however, is more than just relaxing and breathing. It is an attitude whereby a couple accepts responsibility for their childbirth experience. This method requires you to become familiar with many techniques and procedures. You can then utilize those that provide the most benefit and comfort during your particular labor. This is why there is no success or failure. Since each childbirth is unique and unpredictable, you are prepared to deal with any situation that may arise. The ultimate experience is achieved when you make informed decisions concerning the management of your labor and delivery. This can be accomplished only through education and preparation. It also requires the knowledgeable seeking-out of those birthing facilities and caregivers that will most enhance the type of birth you desire.
As in many scientific and medical fields, the techniques of prepared childbirth are constantly changing. The Lamaze of today is quite different from that Dr. Lamaze’s day, over 55 years ago. Aware childbirth educators are constantly updating and revising their teaching methods in order to incorporate the relaxation and breathing techniques and other pain-relief strategies that have been found most beneficial. The techniques presented on this website are of the latest available today.
What This Website Will Do For You?
The purpose of this website is twofold. First, the website provides the tools to be utilized by you, the expectant couples, throughout pregnancy and birth. Some of these tools must be studied and practiced many times for maximum benefit. Second, the website conveys an attitude, one of awareness and responsibility. It is through this attitude that couples can make educated decisions.
How To Use Information On This Website
This website is intended to be used in conjunction with early pregnancy, childbirth preparation, breastfeeding, and new mothers’ classes. The section on cesarean birth also makes it an appropriate manual for cesarean preparation classes. When used individually, rather than in class setting, the whole sections on this website should first be quickly and thoroughly read from the very first post to the last one. Then, the various sections should be studied in more detail according to the current stage of pregnancy–for example, the nutrition section should be read during the early months of pregnancy, the relaxation and breathing section during the later months. The newborn, infant feeding, and parenting sections can provide a handy reference guide after your baby is born.
When reading through the website, please note that for the sake of clarity, the pronoun she is used in reference to the woman, midwife, or nurse. The pronoun he is used when referring to the labor partner, baby, or doctor.
Whether this is your first birth or your first “prepared” birth, the information on this website will enable you to make your journey from pregnancy to parenthood a truly rewarding and memorable experience.