Leboyer Childbirth Method

LeBoyer Childbirth Method

Childbirth education is an essential part of a successful, safe and comfortable delivery. Although all methods of childbirth education utilize different techniques they all contribute to promoting comfort during childbirth.

Definition

Leboyer childbirth method sometimes termed as “birth without violence,” views birth as a stressful experience for the newborn. The focus of this method is to primarily improve the quality of the birth experience for the baby.

History

Leboyer childbirth method was introduced by Frederick Leboyer. He is a French obstetrician who believed that the traditional hospital births of the time (1975) were traumatic for the infant. In 1975, he published a book entitled “Birth without Violence,” where depth of a newborn’s sensitivity and the importance of how the baby is handled by the people around him were emphasized. He pointed out that babies born in a less stressful environment were more content.

Leboyer postulated that moving from a warm, fluid-filled intrauterine environment to a noisy, air-filled, brightly lit extrauterine environment creates a major distress to the newborn.  He believed that holding a newborn upside down at birth and cutting his/her cord immediately from the mother is not beneficial to the baby.

In his view, the newborns’ senses are intact at birth and intense sensations at birth such as by slapping the baby’s buttocks are vividly perceived. He emphasized that a sensitive, unobtrusive technique of care, respecting the natural process and promoting a peaceful atmosphere at birth will help the baby to be born with a minimum stress.

Leboyer Method or Technique

Leboyer childhood method or “birth without violence,” creates an environment of serenity and peacefulness. To decrease the trauma at birth this technique is an advocate of the following:

  • The birthing room is darkened or dimmed. Doing so prevents sudden contrast of light that might distress the newborn. Leboyer thought that this is less shocking for the neonate’s eyes that have been in semi-darkness for several months.
  • A soft music is played or at least harsh noises are kept to a minimum. All the talking inside the delivery room is done by whispering.
  • The room is kept pleasantly warm, not chilled, to help the newborn be comfortable with the new environment and adapt to extrauterine life more easily.
  • Newborns are handled gently and carefully. Leboyer recommends not pulling the baby’s head to completely allow a natural childbirth.
  • The umbilical cord is cut late (It is cut after it has stopped pulsating). According to Leboyer, this allows the newborn to continue receiving the maternal hormones and oxygen carrying red blood cells. This is also done to allow the baby to breathe when he is ready and not have to be rushed.
  • The infant receives a warm bath immediately after birth for relaxation.
  • Before maternal and newborn bonding is done, the infant is massage to ease crying. Nowadays, mothers do this massaging to encourage immediate bonding.
  • Placing the infant in the mother’s abdomen is done for maternal-neonate bonding.

Since fewer drugs are given to the mother during delivery with this method babies are typically more alert and need less invasive measures to help them breathe.

Opponents to Leboyer Method

Some neonatologists are questioning the principle of warm bath because doing so can reduce spontaneous respiration and allows a high level of acidosis can occur. Cutting of the cod until it stops pulsating can lead to excess RBC in the neonate’s circulatory system that could lead to extra blood viscosity and increased risk of jaundice.

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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