Lamaze is a natural approach to giving birth. Proponents view childbirth as a normal, natural event and seek to empower women to make their own choices. They discourage the use of routine medical interventions, though they do not oppose them when medically necessary. Certified Lamaze instructors teach classes for expectant parents in which they learn techniques for giving birth naturally.
Lamaze instructors teach women and their partners strategies for having a natural, healthy pregnancy and birth. They teach women and their partners how medical interventions influence the normal course of childbirth and encourage and support women in making informed choices. They advocate for natural, healthy births in home, hospital and birthing center settings. Certified Lamaze instructors have demonstrated competency in all these areas.
New Childbirth Educators
To become certified as a Lamaze instructor, instructors must complete a course in childbirth education. They can complete a course offered by Lamaze International or a course offered by another agency that trains childbirth educators, such as the International Childbirth Education Association, Childbirth International or the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association. Instructors who complete a course offered by an organization other than Lamaze International must have some additional training in the Lamaze method. All must practice teaching a childbirth course under supervision.
Experienced Childbirth Educators
Experienced childbirth educators who are also licensed health care professionals, like registered nurses or physicians, can become certified Lamaze instructors by providing proof that they completed an approved course in childbirth education, attending additional training in the Lamaze method and providing proof of experience teaching childbirth classes. Childbirth classes include classes on pregnancy, breastfeeding or the postpartum period.
Midwives and Midwifery Students
Midwives and midwifery students can attend a special "Fast Track for Midwives" Lamaze seminar. If they feel they need more education and experience, they can take the training offered to new childbirth educators.
All certified Lamaze instructors must pass a certification exam consisting of 150 questions. As of May 2010, the cost for the exam in the U.S. is $250 for Lamaze International members and $380 for nonmembers. Lamaze instructors do not have to become members of Lamaze International to become certified, though many choose to join.
- Photo Credit pregnant image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com
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