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Lamaze International

Lamaze International, founded in 1960, educates prospective parents about pregnancy and labor, and promotes natural childbirth techniques.

Elisabeth Bing and her students during a Lamaze class, performing an exercise
Three images of Elisabeth Bing and her students during a Lamaze class, ca. 1965. Lamaze International Records. Hollis #: olvwork719303

Marjorie Karmel and Elizabeth Bing were inspired by their personal experiences with "natural childbirth"—methods of delivery that used little or no medical interference and focused upon the joy of childbirth as a natural life process—to educate others about these methods. Founded as the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics (ASPO), Karmel and Bing's group taught the French obstetrician Ferdinand Lamaze’s method of childbirth, which instructed mothers and their partners in psychological and physical methods to suppress pain and facilitate delivery without drugs. ASPO changed its name to ASPO/Lamaze and eventually to Lamaze International to recognize the centrality of the doctor’s teachings to the organization’s mission: developing and promoting standards for childbirth and early parenting education and family-centered maternity care through education, advocacy, and reform. 


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