prepared childbirth


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prepared childbirth

 
an educational approach to labor and delivery in which the parents are specially prepared for the event. The aim is for the mother to be awake and cooperative and for the father to assume an active and supportive role during the birth of their child. Called also natural, educated, or cooperative childbirth.

The underlying concept for all methods of prepared childbirth is education of the parents so that they can actively participate in and share the experience of childbirth. The methods of instruction may vary, but all proponents advocate a family-centered maternity care program. The benefits of this approach are believed to be a more comfortable pregnancy, a shorter period of labor, less trauma during birth, and a decrease in the morbidity and mortality rates among newborn infants.
Methods. One of the most widely used methods of prepared childbirth is the lamaze method, named after the French obstetrician Fernand Lamaze, who adapted the Russian method of psychoprophylaxis to his practice. The overall goal of psychoprophylaxis is use of the mind in prevention of pain and, more specifically, the modification of the perception of pain. The Read method of preparation, based on the teaching of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, had its beginning earlier than the Lamaze method; its emphasis is on passivity of the mother and an interruption of the fear-tension-pain cycle. Another method is the psychosexual method of Sheila Kitzinger, which includes marriage counseling and encompasses all family interrelationships and their effect on childbirth and feminine sexual response.

Although there are variations in the underlying philosophies and the specific techniques that are characteristic of each method, all are concerned with helping both parents understand the birth process and their expected role during labor and delivery, with giving instruction in exercises to develop neuromuscular control and physical conditioning, and with teaching specific breathing patterns to be employed during the three stages of labor. The father is given instruction in the ways he can support his partner and promote her comfort during labor. Many of the techniques learned in childbirth classes can be used to reduce the effects of stress and to relieve the discomfort associated with tension in situations not related to childbirth. Most parents who have chosen prepared childbirth describe it as an exhilarating and emotionally satisfying experience.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

prepared childbirth

Childbirth in which the mother, and often also the father, of the baby has been educated about childbirth, anesthesia, and analgesia during labor. The mother may choose to have natural childbirth or to receive medications or regional anesthesia.
See: natural childbirth; Lamaze method; psychoprophylactic preparation for childbirth
See also: childbirth
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
There were several benefits of this three-hour prepared childbirth class for nursing students.
Expectant parents attend prepared childbirth classes to gain information about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood and to have the opportunity to dedicate time to each other and their expected baby.
This is followed by a chapter called "The Myth of the Painless Birth," in which the origins of prepared childbirth are explored.