The Lamaze technique, also known as the psychoprophylactic method or simply Lamaze, began as a prepared childbirth technique. As an alternative to medical intervention during childbirth, it was popularized in the 1950s by French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze and based on his observations in the Soviet Union. The goal of Lamaze is to build a mother's confidence in her ability to give birth, through classes that help pregnant women understand how to cope with pain in ways that both facilitate labor and promote comfort, including relaxation techniques, movement, and massage.
There is a training and certification program available to practitioners, leading to the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) designation.
Dr. Lamaze was influenced by childbirth practices in the Soviet Union, which involved breathing and relaxation techniques under the supervision of a "monitrice", or midwife. The Lamaze method gained popularity in the United States after Marjorie Karmel wrote about her experiences in her 1959 book Thank You, Dr. Lamaze, as well as Elisabeth Bing's book Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth (1960). Both Karmel and Bing would later found the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics in 1960, later renamed to Lamaze International.
The core beliefs of Lamaze International are summarized in a list titled "Six Healthy Birth Practices":
- Let labor begin on its own.
- Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor.
- Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support.
- Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary.
- Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body's urges to push.
- Keep mother and baby together – it's best for mother, baby and breastfeeding.
Each of the practices includes a video, a patient handout, and professional references for medical personnel. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are available in eleven languages: English, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Romanian, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew.
Lamaze himself has been criticized for being over-disciplinary and anti-feminist. Natural childbirth activist Sheila Kitzinger’s description of the methods she deployed while working in a Paris clinic during the 1950s expresses concern regarding "the disciplinary nature" of Lamaze’s approach to childbirth. According to Kitzinger, Lamaze consistently ranked the women’s performance in childbirth from "excellent" to "complete failure" on the basis of their "restlessness and screams". Those who "failed" were, he thought, "themselves responsible because they harbored doubts or had not practiced sufficiently", and "intellectual" women who "asked too many questions" were considered by Lamaze to be the most "certain to fail".
The Lamaze technique has also been criticized for being ineffective.
- ^ "Childbirth education: Get ready for labor and delivery - Mayo Clinic". web.archive.org. 2019-04-29. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
- ^ "Certification Exam". Lamaze International Certifying Exam. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- ^ "Elisabeth Bing, 'Mother of Lamaze,' Dies at 100". New York Times. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- ^ Let labor begin on its own www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body's urges to push www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Keep mother and baby together – It's best for mother, baby and breastfeeding www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Eleven languages www.lamaze.org, Retrieved 27 July 2015
- ^ Jones, Jane Clare (February 2012). "Idealized and Industrialized Labor: Anatomy of a Feminist Controversy". Hypatia. 27 (1): 99–117. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01217.x.
- ^ Paula A. Michael s (March 2014). Lamaze: An International History. Oxford University Press. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-19-973864-9.
- ^ Jacqueline H. Wolf (7 January 2011). Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America. JHU Press. pp. 157–. ISBN 978-1-4214-0323-6.
- Official site of Lamaze International
- Really Teaching Lamaze: Evidence-Based Practice
- Records of Lamaze International. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- Audiotape Collection of Lamaze International. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
- Moving Image Collection of Lamaze International. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.