There are five myths about Lamaze -- and the Lamaze birthing method -- that seem to persist. Here's the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Lamaze is all about breathing
Reality: The goal of Lamaze classes is to increase women's confidence in their ability to give birth. Lamaze classes help women discover the inner wisdom they already have for giving birth. Women learn simple coping strategies for labor, including focused breathing. But breathing techniques are just one of many things that help women in labor. Movement and positioning, labor support, massage, relaxation, hydrotherapy, and the use of heat and cold are some others.
Myth #2: Lamaze promises painless childbirth
Reality: Many women are afraid of the pain that is a normal part of childbirth. The pain of labor and birth, like other pain, protects us. Responding to the pain of contractions -- by changing positions and moving, by massaging, by moaning -- actually strengthens the contractions, helps the baby settle into the pelvis and move through the birth canal, and reduces pain perception. Some women find that experiencing and coping with the pain of labor and birth is similar to the hard work demanded by dancers and athletes. Lamaze classes help women understand the value of pain and learn how to respond to pain in ways that both facilitate labor and increase comfort.