English physician, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, was the pioneer in the field of natural childbirth. Dick-Read believed that in the absence of fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor. This caused what he called a fear-tension-pain syndrome. He believed that if fear could be reduced, tension would lessen, and pain would be minimized. He was one of the first physicians to encourage bringing fathers into the labor room. Classes in this discipline follow the basic pattern of the others, with part of the program devoted to education and the other part devoted to demonstration and the practice of exercises. This method focuses on passive relaxation, abdominal breathing, and body conditioning exercises. His principles are the foundation of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
Lamaze is focused on control. By controlling breathing you can control pain. By focusing on something other than the pain, you can control the pain or your perception of the pain of labor. Exercises are taught as well as breathing techniques. Multiple types of breathing for various progressive steps of labor are taught so that attention is on breathing and muscle relaxation. All breathing starts with deep 'cleansing breaths'. As contractions become more difficult, breathing may change during the contraction. The coach or partner's job is to monitor and help adjust the breathing pattern of mom. Pushing is accomplished by a deep , cleansing breathe, followed by slow exhalation or holding the breath while pushing the baby out.
Although challenged on being the only entirely natural childbirth method, proponents of the Bradley Method feel that there is danger in current obstetrical procedures. They disavow the safety of sonograms, episiotomy and regional anesthesia. It is stressed that women are capable of and entitled to a birth without drugs or medical intervention. They encourage the use of midwives rather than 'technical oriented' doctors. Parents should take the responsibility for the birth place, procedures and emergency back-up. Bradley teaches conditioning exercises and muscle relaxation in labor. A slow, deep breathing, take-your-time approach is advocated in a quiet, unlit, pillow-laden environment. Baby is immediately breastfed.
Based on Grantly-Dick Read and Lamaze, Kitzinger uses mental imagery to enhance relaxation. The use of touch, massage and visualization helps the woman flow with the contraction rather than ignore or breath it away. She uses "puppet-strings relaxation" in which the partner tells the patient which limbs the strings are pulling, the others remaining relaxed. She uses long, slow, deep chest breathing methods to achieve complete relaxation. Mom is encouraged to labor in any position that is comfortable for her. Pushing is done when the body tells you. Between pushes, short breaths are taken. Kitzinger emphasizes the empowerment of childbirth for women.
The key to the Gamper Method is the self-determination and confidence instilled by instructors in the ability of women to work and cooperate with the natural forces of childbirth. The emphasis is on the contraction, rather than away from the contraction. A normal, natural rate of deep abdominal breathing is taught to be able to help the woman work with the contraction. Classes begin early in pregnancy so that the fear-tension-pain cycle can be broken and new self-confidence instilled early on.
The LeBoyer Method, introduced by French obstetrician Frederick LeBoyer in the 70's, allows the baby to be born amid dim lights and soft voices. The baby is given a warm water bath, then placed on the mother's abdomen for bonding. They are handled gently and without sudden movement that may jar or startle the baby. LeBoyer Babies opened their eyes and breathed without being slapped on the bottom. They smiled, 'talked' to mom and dad and moved with relaxed bodies. Because of this method and its effect on newborns, we no longer have loud, harsh noises in the delivery area. Babies are massaged at birth to begin breathing and not struck to begin startled, anguished cries.
Michael Odent, another French physician, went a step further than LeBoyer. He put mother and baby both in the water. Odent allowed his laboring mothers to submerse in a pool of water. This appears to help some women ease labor pain. When some of the women were reluctant to leave at the time of delivery, they were delivered submersed, without drowning the baby since the baby has lived in fluid for nine months. The subsequent safety of this procedure has allowed this movement to be embraced in this country and many centers and hospitals now have this option available.
HypnoBirthing® is based on the techniques of an English physician, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, the pioneer in the field of natural childbirth. HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method, is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by hypnosis techniques, that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing in a way that most mirrors nature. Emphasis is placed on both pregnancy and childbirth as well as on HypnoBirthing®.
Copyright © 1997-2007 Mother Care. All photos © Mother Care & Terri McKinney Photography. All rights reserved.