Health27 Sep 2009 03:54 pm
A new edition of The Intellectual Devotional, this time with a focus on Health, is coming to stores on October 16! (Click here to pre-order your copy.) As well as continuing to expand on posts from the General Edition, “The Devoted Intellect” blog will introduce and expand on material from the Modern Culture devotional. Today’s entry on “Lamaze” is from the “Medical Milestones” section of the Health edition.
The Lamaze technique of childbirth, developed by the French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze, was created as a method of giving birth that helped women avoid medical intervention. Dr. Lamaze was inspired by his observation of Soviet birthing practices, where women were taught to use breathing and relaxation techniques to promote a smoother delivery. The Lamaze technique became popular in the United States in the early 1960s, after Marjorie Karmel wrote a book about her birth experience titled, Thank you Dr. Lamaze. The Lamaze technique is partially credited for the shift towards including the fathers in the child-birthing process.
Modern day proponents of the Lamaze technique have expressed alarm at the staggering rise in the number of women who currently give birth by cesarean section (31.8%). Will all to common, cesarean sections are major abdominal surgeries, and carries risks to women, such as infection, blood loss, scarring and severe pain. Moreover, the healing time for a woman who has given birth by cesarean section is significantly longer and more painful.
The Lamaze philosophy of the birthing process endorses the following rules for healthy birthing practices:
• Let labor begin on its own. Letting the body go into labor on its own is almost always the best way to know that the baby is ready to be born and the body is ready for labor.
• Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor. Moving in labor (not confined to a bed) helps women cope with strong and painful contractions, while gently moving the baby into the pelvis and through the birth canal.
• Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support. In childbirth, a woman feels better when supported by people she trusts and those who use encouragement.
• Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary. When interventions (e.g., induction, epidural, continuous monitoring) are used in a routine manner, women and babies are exposed to unnecessary risks.
• Avoid giving birth on back and follow the body’s urges to push. Upright positions are safe during pushing and can make it easier to push the baby out. This could mean squatting, sitting or lying on the side
• Keep mother and baby together – it’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding. Mother and baby share a natural instinct to be close after birth, and experts recommend that a healthy newborn be placed and cared for skin-to-skin on the mother’s abdomen or chest.
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