As leaders in childbirth education, Lamaze International developed a set of birth practices to help women learn what they can do, along with the help of a good care provider, to give birth in the safest and most healthy way possible. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are the foundation of Lamaze, and are designed to help simplify your birth process with an approach that eases your fears and pain. Regardless of your baby's size, your labor's length and complexity, or your confidence level, these care practices can help keep labor and your baby's birth as safe and healthy as possible. Following are an outline and simple definition of each birth practice. Click through to read more detailed information and to see a short video demonstrating each practice.
Healthy Birth Practice 1: Let labor begin on its own
Avoid inducing labor (learn about medical reasons for induction) unless necessary. Babies know best when to be born -- allowing baby to choose his or her birth date helps ensure proper growth and health.
Healthy Birth Practice 2: Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor
Moving around in labor isn't just for fun, it helps labor progress! Different positions work well to speed up labor, lower pain, and help baby move down.
Healthy Birth Practice 3: Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support
Continuous support during labor has been shown to reduce the length of labor, lower the risk of cesarean and medical interventions, and increase confidence about labor and birth for you and your partner.
Healthy Birth Practice 4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
Some practices that are routinely done (episiotomy, routine IV fluids, early cord clamping) may not actually be necessary, and in fact, have been shown to have increased health risks. Do your research on birth interventions and have a conversation with your health care provider about their frequency of use. If you find your goals are not in alignment, you may consider finding a new provider.
Healthy Birth Practice 5: Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body's urges to push
Laboring and birthing while lying in bed (on your back) can lengthen labor, make it more painful, and make birth more difficult.
Healthy Birth Practice 6: Keep mother and baby together - It's best for mother, baby and breastfeeding
Babies do best on mom's chest. Uninterrupted skin-to-skin care gives babies the best start in life.
For additional information and resources on the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices download the Healthy Birth Practices booklet, the Healthy Birth Practices flyer, or simply participate in our new online parent education course: Safe and Healthy Birth: Six Simple Steps.
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