Naissance: Lamaze… la méthode psychoprophylactique d’accouchement sans douleur (original version in French)

Documentaire sur la méthode psychoprophylactique d’accouchement sans douleur introduite en France par le Docteur Fernand Lamaze. Evaluation de l’importance de cette méthode dans le monde. Les cours de préparation physique et les méthodes de relaxation. L’accouchement.

The English subtitled version is also available on our video page.

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”).

Directed by Jean-Pierre Marchand and Dr. Pierre Vellay, this film was published by Cinétest in France in 1956 in 16mm format, Black & White, and color (for the birthing scene).

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.

Physical copies of the film are on file at Bibliothèque de l’Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6 Canada; Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe in Cambridge, MA, and Wayne State University Archives, Detroit, MI.

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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