Why men should go for childbirth classes

Health & Fitness

Why men should go for childbirth classes


lamaze

Despite the increasing popularity of Lamaze classes, where women are taught breathing exercises during labor and alternative birthing positions, there is still widespread lack of awareness, especially among men.

Christabel Wesonga, the Director of Maternal and Child Health Services at Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi says the involvement of men in this critical area of ​​family life is important. She explores the benefits and perceptions of male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth.

What is Lamaze birth technique?

It is a childbirth preparation technique based on a proven scientific method whose aim is to provide a positive experience for expectant couples. It focuses on labor as a natural event. It entails rhythmic breathing exercises that reduce heart rate, anxiety, and pain perception during labor.

It is a variation of natural childbirth where labor and childbirth are without medical intervention; no drugs are given to relieve pain or aid the birth process. It builds confidence, teaches coping mechanisms, and essentially serves as an alternative to medical intervention.

Lamaze places emphasis on safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. It is important to clarify that the method neither encourages nor discourages the use of medication during labor and delivery.

Is Lamaze an alternative to hospital delivery?

No. It is simply a birth preparation technique regardless of the delivery method you will use- whether normal or caesarian section. Anyone desiring home delivery would benefit even more from this technique due to the limited availability of birth support systems at home.

Why is it important for men to attend Lamaze classes with their expectant women?

Male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth is very important. Ideally, both husband and wife should attend the Lamaze classes together. This helps especially the husband to stay involved during pregnancy and delivery and to continue supporting the wife and the newborn.

In this technique, a mother learns about childbirth anatomy and physiology and practices pain management through relaxation, massage, and breathing exercises.

Research has shown that it influences pregnancy outcomes, reduces negative maternal health behaviors for the woman, minimizes the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, fetal growth restriction, and infant mortality.

There is scientific evidence that by providing emotional, logistical, and financial support, male involvement reduces maternal stress, increases the uptake of prenatal care, and leads to the cessation of risky behaviors -such as smoking and drinking. It also enhances men’s commitment to their future parental roles from an early stage.

What are men taught in a Lamaze class?

By attending Lamaze classes, the man is empowered to be accessible – present, available, and a team player as well as responsible – concerned, maintains the connection with the woman, and is a caregiver, provider, or protector.

The classes also help the father-to-be to desire to be engaged – caring about the pregnancy and the coming child, wanting to be involved and to be supported by the health system to accomplish his roles.

What are some of the perceptions or fears men have about Lamaze?

In the African context, men were not to be involved in childbirth – it was a taboo.

Even though this has shifted and more men are readily involved in assisting their partners during pregnancy and after delivery, the traditional notion still has great influence in some communities. As such, some might see Lamaze as a counter-culture.

The other perception is that the technique is only about delivery and therefore has no place for the man. Additionally, some men would generally be hesitant to be present, especially during delivery and even in the initial days after delivery when the mother and child need support. Traditionally it was the role of women.

What factors may prevent men from being involved in childbirth?

In recent years, generally speaking, there have been deliberate efforts to promote male involvement in maternal and child health. However, involvement is still low. Notably, patriarchal societal values ​​and norms that influence gender roles have partly hindered male involvement in maternal and child care.

Men’s participation in maternal and child health is affected by multiple factors emanating from the community and health institutions.

Involving men in the mother and child’s health is critical, and therefore participatory and comprehensive approaches should be applied to encourage participation at all levels. Communities’ sensitization is fundamental for increasing awareness of the significance of male involvement.

So what could be done to increase men’s participation in Lamaze classes?

There is a need to have workable strategies to invite men to participate in maternal healthcare at a health facility, family, and community levels. The couple strategy, however, is most effective but it’s mostly used by educated urban residents.

Use of a male-peer strategy is also effective and sustainable at a community level. Overall, there is a need for the creation of awareness among men so that they sustain their participation in maternal health care activities of their female partners even in the absence of incentives, coercion or invitation.

Does AKUH have a Lamaze policy that supports men’s involvement in maternal and child health?

AKUH has fully embraced the technique and offers Lamaze classes. We encourage both mother and father to attend classes to learn together.

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Health & Fitness Why men should go for childbirth classes Saturday April 23 2022 Despite the increasing popularity of Lamaze classes, where women are taught breathing exercises during labor and alternative birthing positions, there is still widespread lack of awareness, especially among men. Christabel Wesonga, the Director of Maternal and Child Health Services at Aga…

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