Established in 1960, Lamaze International is a not-for-profit organization composed of parents, childbirth educators, healthcare practitioners and other health professionals whose mission is to advance safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. Knowing that access to credible information and research is key to a healthy pregnancy, childbirth and a good start to parenting, Lamaze works to educate women and provide support so they are equipped to effectively partner with their care provider, navigate their options in care and push for the safest, healthiest birth possible.
Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available. The Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices are tried and true ways to teach parents how to have a safe and healthy birth. Our vision is “knowledgeable parents making informed decisions.”
Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) certification is internationally respected and the only childbirth educator program that has passed rigorous standards set by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Lamaze childbirth education professional training and continuing education programs meet the highest professional standards as an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Accredited Provider. The LCCE Educator promotes, supports and protects every woman’s right to give birth, confident in her own ability, free to find comfort in a wide variety of ways, and supported by her family and all members of the health care team.
Our Rich History
In 1951, Dr. Fernand Lamaze introduced a method of childbirth in France by incorporating techniques he observed in Russia. This method, consisting of childbirth education classes, relaxation, breathing techniques and continuous emotional support from the father and a specially trained nurse, became known as “the Lamaze method.”
Word of mouth spread in the United States during the late 1950s, after Marjorie Karmel gave birth assisted by Dr. Lamaze and she wrote of her childbirth experience in Thank You, Dr. Lamaze. The book inspired many women to approach childbirth as a shared event for both mother and father.
Elisabeth Bing and Marjorie Karmel met in 1958 and began to work together to teach the Lamaze method to as many women as possible. In 1960, they formed ASPO/Lamaze (now Lamaze International), a not-for-profit organization composed of parents, childbirth educators, health care providers and other health professionals, to spread the word about Lamaze and to set the standards for Lamaze childbirth educators.
Learning from years of research and observing women’s experience of normal, natural birth has provided evidence that gradually but dramatically changed Lamaze from being a method for giving birth to an evidence-based approach that provides the foundation and direction for women as they prepare to give birth and become mothers. The 2001 position paper, Lamaze for the 21st Century, outlined the evidence-based rationale for the evolution of Lamaze preparation for birth with the Lamaze Philosophy of Birth as the centerpiece. Today the Lamaze Fundamentals for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting capture the core tenets and continuum of Lamaze education. The Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices, adapted from the World Health Organization, translate evidence-based practices into concrete, understandable concepts that form the basis of Lamaze education today.