Naissance: A Lamaze Childbirth Without Pain (with English subtitles)

With English subtitles

Made in France in 1956, this film was widely shown in the United States by Flora Hommel, founder of Childbirth Without Pain Education Association (CWPEA) based in Detroit. It summarizes the classes attended by expectant parents and features a live birth using the psychoprophylactic method (called “Lamaze Method”).

More information about the Lamaze Method, including extensive archives of birth reports by many of Flora Hommel’s 18,000 students, class outlines, teacher and monitrice certification exams, etc. are to be found in the Flora Hommel Papers at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

In the US, Flora Hommel preceded each film showing with a commentary, pointing out, for example, that the scenes of a woman running track are intended to compare the training of an athlete to that of training for birth… but that running track is not part of the Lamaze training!

The birthing scene begins with the last contraction of First Stage of labor and most of what we see is the much shorter Second Stage (the pushing stage). The Third Stage, the expulsion of the placenta, is not included.

Flora explains the role of each person on the team… the woman is aided by doctor, monitrice, nurse, and husband (at a time when husbands were banned from most American delivery rooms). Other conditions in the Paris clinic would not be typical in a US setting: the use of oxygen, the replacing of sterile cloth, etc.

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