What Can You Find in a Lamaze Class? A Pelvis!

When you sign up for any Lamaze childbirth class, you can expect to learn thoroughly about labor, birth, and postpartum through the use of evidence-based resources and instruction. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. A Lamaze class can be taught in a group or privately; a Lamaze class can be covered in one day or over the course of several weeks; and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator will use a variety of activities, visual aids, and teaching tools to demonstrate different concepts, tips, and techniques. In this series, we're showing off some of the fun and unique tools our educators use in their classes. If you thought you knew all about Lamaze classes before, you might be surprised! The following helpful idea comes from Lisa Baker is a Lamaze Certified Childbith Educator in Alberta, Canada.

 

What's in a Lamaze classWhat: A pelvis model, hung on a "necklace."

You'll find a pelvis model in probably all childbirth classes, though this may be the only one that you'll see hanging around a teacher's neck! Etiher way, Lamaze educators use the pelvic model to demonstrate many things in pregnancy and birth, including the typical movements baby makes in labor (also referred to as "Cardinal Movements"), ways in which the pelvis opens wider through different bodily positions, and the importance of baby's position in labor (it's not just breech or head down that's important!). 

 

Why: Like we mentioned in our last post in this series, labor progress (how far you are in labor) isn't just about dilation. Knowing where the baby is and how she is positioned in relation to the pelvis also is important. Pelvic "stations" tell you how far up or down baby's head is in your pelvis, including whether or not he is "engaged" (baby's head has dropped below your pubic bone) in your pelvis.
Understanding more about your baby's position in your pelvis also helps you have a smoother and possibly quicker labor and birth.

Fetal positioning refers to how baby is positioned in relation to your pelvis. In addition to head down and breech, there are several ways a baby can be positioned, and some positions are better than others when it comes to progressing labor and causing a more difficult and possibly painful labor experience. For example, if you've ever heard of anyone talking about "back labor" or a baby who was born "sunnyside up," they are referring to how baby was positioned in labor. Instead of baby being head down and facing your tailbone (which is the way most babies are born), a sunnyside up baby, which is also referred to as OP (occiput posterior, or head to the back), is facing up with the back of her head against your tailbone. This means that the most prominent and hardest part of baby is nuzzling against a bundle of nerves and bone, this creating the intensity that can be back labor. Lamaze childbirth classes not only teach about baby's position in your pelvis, but also tried and true ways to use movement and position changes both in pregnancy and in labor to help baby get into an optimal position for birth. 

 

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Lisa Baker, BSc (Hon), BEd, LCCE, FACCE is a hospital-based childbirth educator and founder of Labour and Love Childbirth and Early Parenting Education. An award-winning educator, Lisa has been empowering and educating people from a very early age. Lisa's current challenges include trying to tackle piano and golfing. Lisa is also known as Mom to her two sons and resides with her family in Alberta, Canada.

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