Lamaze technique

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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 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.[1]

There is a training and certification program available to practitioners, leading to the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) designation.[2]


Lamaze visited the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and was influenced by birthing techniques which involved breathing and relaxation methods.[3] 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.[4]


Lamaze himself has been criticized for being over-disciplinary and anti-feminist. Natural childbirth activist Sheila Kitzinger's description of the methods he 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".[5]

The Lamaze technique has also been criticized for being ineffective.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Childbirth education: Get ready for labor and delivery - Mayo Clinic". Mayo Clinic. 2019-04-29. Archived from the original on 2019-04-29. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  2. ^ "Certification Exam". Lamaze International Certifying Exam. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  3. ^ Santos, Gonçalo (2021). Chinese Village Life Today: Building Families in an Age of Transition. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-295-74738-5.
  4. ^ "Elisabeth Bing, 'Mother of Lamaze,' Dies at 100". New York Times. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  5. ^ 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. S2CID 145291619.Open access icon
  6. ^ Paula A. Michaels (March 2014). Lamaze: An International History. Oxford University Press. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-19-973864-9.
  7. ^ 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.

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