Audio Collection of Lamaze International, 1956-2004 (inclusive), 1980-2004 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1980-2004
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Recordings may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
8 phonograph records
Series I, CONFERENCES, 1980-2004 (#T-297.1 - T-297.635), contains tape recordings of Lamaze International's annual conferences and recordings of meetings of the Childbirth Institute, a group which served as a summit for childbirth educators and occurred immediately before Lamaze annual conferences. The Childbirth Institute recordings featured many of the same speakers and topics covered at the Lamaze annual meeting and were intermingled with annual conference recordings. All tape titles are original, created by the speaker or Lamaze International. Speakers' names are provided when known; in some cases, following the tape title and date, additional description was provided by the archivist. Tapes are arranged first chronologically; within each year, tapes are ordered according to a numeric session code that Lamaze assigned. In most cases, Childbirth Institute tapes follow the Lamaze annual conference tape recordings of that year; however, occasionally, following the original labeling and numbering sequence, Childbirth Institute tapes appear within the annual conference tapes. In these few cases, Childbirth Institute is noted in the tape title.
Series II, GENERAL CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION, 1956-1985, n.d. (#Phon-33.1-Phon-33.8, T-297-636 - T-297.643), includes instructional recordings of Lamaze breathing techniques and practices, the tape recording of a father-attended Caesarean birth, and instruction (tailored to men and women) on overcoming fear in second stage labor. It is arranged chronologically with undated materials appearing at the end.
A native of New York, Karmel delivered a baby in France in the 1950s, under the guidance of Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze. At the time in hospitals across America, birth had been largely medicalized and medical professionals commonly treated labor and delivery as a pathological process which required controlling. A widespread focus on the intolerable pain of labor made it standard procedure to restrain and heavily sedate women. In many cases, however, drugs prevented women from being able to properly push, confused women and exacerbated fears, and adversely affected the baby as well. Afraid and isolated from their partners, many women described childbirth as a horrifying, unnatural, emotionally painful experience. Disturbed by these attitudes toward birth, French obstetrician Ferdinand Lamaze proposed that the intense physical and emotional pain women experienced in childbirth resulted largely from social conditioning.
Lamaze advocated that pregnant women be instructed in visualization, psychosomatic practices, and controlled breathing techniques to mentally prepare them to cope with pain in labor, facilitating delivery without drugs. When Marjorie Karmel delivered her child in France following Lamaze's method, she reported the experience as transcendent; not without pain, but tolerable, memorable, and filled with joy. The book she wrote detailing her experience, Thank You, Dr. Lamaze (1959) attracted the attention of many pregnant women and childbirth educators, including Elisabeth Bing, a physical therapist. Impressed by Karmel's experience as an active participant in the birth process, Bing became a champion of the Lamaze method. She and Karmel united to teach the method to women in New York City and formed the ASPO.
Initially, the organization's by-laws stipulated a tiered system of membership: only physicians were entitled to full membership. Psychologists, nurses, midwives, and other professionals could join as associate members and other interested lay people (primarily parents) could join as supporting members. In 1965 new by-laws were written that redefined membership criteria, creating three divisions of full membership: physicians, teachers, and parents. These three divisions worked together to further the organization's mission: developing and promoting standards for childbirth and early parenting education and family-centered maternity care through education, advocacy and reform. The group taught the Lamaze method of childbirth which instructed mothers and their partners in psychological and physical methods to suppress pain and facilitate delivery without drugs.
From its inception, the ASPO held annual conferences that featured leading childbirth experts, researchers, physicians, nurses, midwives, doulas, and childbirth educators who presented papers and led workshops, most of which were dedicated to issues pertaining to pregnancy, labor and childbirth techniques, and postpartum care. In 1983, after several years of discussion that the name "American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics" was cumbersome, ASPO modified its name to ASPO/Lamaze. By 1993, the group changed its name again, to Lamaze International, to accommodate the chapters that had formed outside of the United States.
- Series I. Conferences, 1980-2004 (#T-297.1 - T-297.635)
- Series II. General Childbirth Education, 1956-1985, n.d. (#Phon-33.1-Phon-33.8, T-297-636 - T-297.643)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records of Lamaze International were given to the Schlesinger Library by Elisabeth Bing and Harriet Berry between 2000 and 2006. Additional materials were given by Gwin Richter in June 2014.
By: Marilyn Morgan
- Breastfeeding--United States
- Childbirth--Psychological aspects
- Childbirth--United States
- Maternal and infant welfare--United States
- Motherhood--United States
- Natural childbirth--Psychological aspects
- Obstetrics--United States
- Parents--United States
- Patient advocacy--United States
- Phonograph records
- Postnatal care--United States
- Pregnancy--United States
- Prenatal care--United States
- Women health reformers--United States
- Women--Health and hygiene
- Lamaze International. Audio Collection of Lamaze International, 1956-2004 (inclusive), 1980-2004 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Rosa Raisel Fund, the Class of 1958, and the Ardis B. James fund.
- EAD ID
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