The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is utilising the 60-year old French-developed technique of Lamaze to help pregnant women demystify the birth process, according to Dr. Oneka Scott, Maternal and Child Health Director (ag).
According to a media release from the MoPH, the five-day training programme for thirty health-care professionals from health centres in Regions Three, Four and Five is being held at the Mirage in Alberttown, Georgetown, and will cover such issues as birth practices, psychosocial elements in labour, physical preparation, listening skills and neuromuscular control.
“If we have a teen that is not relaxed during labour we have an increased risk of complications at pregnancy which can be prevented with Lamaze,” Dr. Scott was quoted in the media release as saying, while adding, “The Adolescent Health Unit and other health care facilities now have a platform for delivery of factual information that prepares adolescent parents and reduces the risk of both maternal and neonatal mortality.”
At Monday’s opening, Isha Urlin, a physiotherapist attached to the Rehabilitation Services of the Ministry and one of the facilitators of the
exercise, lauded the programme as a confidence-building strategy targeting expectant mothers from Essequibo Islands/West Demerara (Region Three); Demerara/Mahaica (Region Four) and Mahaica/Berbice (Region Five).
“We want to enable the parents to develop a confidence and a relaxed approach to pregnancy and child birth…Lamaze encourages the bond between mom and dad and provides support physically, mentally and emotionally during the entire stage of pregnancy where the mother’s body goes through various changes,” Urlin was quoted as saying in the MoPH statement. She added that there is a great need in Guyana for pregnant women to be exposed to physiotherapy and entire families should benefit from physiotherapy.
The MoPH release further noted that exposure to Lamaze, which has become an annual fixture in the calendar of events of the Adolescent Health Unit (AHU), has the stated objective to equip healthcare providers with information and techniques which will help support the development of exercise programmes for women during their child-bearing years. The ADU is targeting teenage girls with sensitive information on prenatal issues and using the French-developed technique to impart coping skills they will need before and after the birth of their child.
The final two days of the training will be conducted at health centres in Regions Three, Four, and Five.
The Lamaze technique was introduced to the world in 1951 and was popularised by Marjorie Karmel, a US citizen, with her bestselling book, Thank you Dr. Lamaze which became famous in the 1950s. The Lamaze technique, which was used to deliver Karmel’s child, introduces pregnant women to such competencies as relaxation and breathing exercises among other light physical skills to assist with pain relief during the birthing process.