History of Lamaze:
In 1951, Dr. Fernand Lamaze introduced a method of childbirth in France by incorporating techniques he observed in Russia. This method, consisting of childbirth education classes, relaxation, breathing techniques and continuous emotional support from the father and a specially trained nurse, became known as “the Lamaze method”.
In the U.S. in the late 1950’s a woman named Marjorie Karmel wrote a book called “Thank you Dr. Lamaze”, after giving birth assisted by Dr. Lamaze. She and another visionary woman named Elisabeth Bing met in 1958 and began to work together to teach the Lamaze method to as many woman as possible. In 1960 they formed ASPO/Lamaze (now Lamaze International) to spread the word about Lamaze and to set the standards for Lamaze childbirth educators.
Lamaze of Today:
Forty years of research and learning from women’s experience of normal, natural birth have provided evidence that has gradually but dramatically changed Lamaze from being a method for giving birth to a philosophy that provides the foundation and direction for women as they prepare to give birth and become mothers. “Breathing” is no longer the hallmark of Lamaze. The Lamaze Philosophy of Birth is at the heart of Lamaze education and has been for nearly a decade the driving force for significant changes in Lamaze preparation for childbirth.
Today’s Lamaze affirms the normalcy of birth, acknowledges women’s inherent ability to birth their babies, and promotes the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices. The Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator promotes, supports and protects every women’s right to give birth confident in her own ability, free to find comfort in a wide variety of ways, and supported by her family and all members of the health care team.