There are several formal vaginal childbirth methods from which to choose which represent various philosophies of childbirth and offer different perspectives, teaching methods, and curricula. As there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the method you choose should best fit your individual circumstances and align to your personal childbirth priorities.The most widely used include:
Hypnobirthing is a natural childbirth method that is rooted in the belief that a Fear-Tension-Pain cycle creates pain during childbirth. By eliminating fear and tension, the laboring mother experiences no pain. One of its distinguishing tenets is that pain is not an intrinsic characteristic of labor and can be completely eliminated.
The Bradley Method, also termed "husband-coached childbirth" teaches women to focus on and manage pain during labor. Classes focus not just on childbirth, but also on healthy pregnancy habits, postpartum care and breastfeeding.
Classes span a full 12 weeks, making it the longest natural childbirth method. A prescribed curriculum is taught. A 125 student workbook is also provided.
Lamaze is the most widely-known of all the childbirth methods. It is most widely recognized for its breathing techniques. However, Lamaze has undergone several significant changes over the years and breathing techniques are no longer the foundation of this method. Teachings vary widely from instructor to instructor as the certification process focuses on the educator developing their own individualized curriculum rather than emphasizing a standard curriculum.
Whether you do or do not choose to use one of the formal methods of childbirth, you can still have a pain-free natural childbirth. The key to be finding what works for you. It may be more convenient to use a method that has tools pre-assembled for your use, but this might not suit everyone.
The preferred course of action is to educate yourself on your choices in childbirth, then select the path that best suits you, your family, and your desired birth experience.
Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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