Lamaze International Mourns the Passing of Co-Founder Elisabeth Bing

News Release

Lamaze International Mourns the Passing of Co-Founder Elisabeth Bing

Contact: 

Berna Diehl, JPA Health Communications202-591-4045 berna@jpa.com

For Release: May 16,2015

WASHINGTON, DC (May 16, 2015)—Elisabeth Dorothy Bing, – co-founder of Lamaze International, died yesterday at the age of 100, six weeks shy of her 101st birthday.  She died at home, in her New York City apartment.  According to friends, she had not been ill, and simply lived a full, beautiful life.

 “Whether they recognize her name or not, countless women have benefitted from the impact that Elisabeth Bing had on childbirth in the U.S. and around the world,” said Lamaze International President Robin Elise Weiss PhD, MPH, CPH, LCCE.  “Today, women face different challenges than they did in the 1950s and 1960s, but they still use what they learn in Lamaze classes to push for the safest, healthiest birth possible.”

 

Bing was instrumental in launching a prepared childbirth consumer movement in the US over 55 years ago, partnering with physicians, parents and childbirth educators to establish the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics (ASPO) in 1960, making Lamaze the household word it is today. Originally headquartered in New York, ASPO/Lamaze eventually became known as Lamaze International. Today, Lamaze International offers education and certification programs that have sparked generations of passionate of childbirth educators, and parent education and resources based on evidence-based birth practices that support natural, safe and healthy birth for mothers and babies.

 

During the span of her career, Elisabeth Bing penned eight books about pregnancy, childbirth and recovery, which included Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth. These pieces discouraged the use of pain management medications, teaching fathers to be present in labor and delivery rooms during childbirth. Bing presented childbirth as an unforgettable event in parents’ lives, opening patients’ communication with their doctors, midwives, physical therapists and labor nurses.

 

As Lamaze awareness grew, Elisabeth Bing became an increasingly recognized prenatal expert. Her Manhattan classes included celebrity clientele such as Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Despite her popularity and recognition, friends and peers found her gracious and unassuming. “She was friendly, approachable, and straight-forward,” said Weiss. “She genuinely cared about women going through childbirth, and maintained a life-long commitment to promoting healthy birth practices.”

 

Elisabeth Bing was born on July 8, 1914, in Berlin, Germany. Her family fled to England during World War II, where she trained as a physical therapist. In 1949, Bing moved to the United States to live with her older sister in Illinois. At this time, she met Dr. Bob Hartman, an obstetrician who encouraged her to support women through the labor process using natural practices.

 

Elisabeth Bing’s teachings have inspired and empowered an international base of childbirth educators. “Elisabeth Bing changed the face of childbirth for families and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators continue to play a critical role in helping women and their partners advocate for evidence-based care in childbirth,” said Mary Jo Podgurski, RNC, MA, EdD, former president of Lamaze. As an advocate and educator, Bing maintained that pregnancy and childbirth is healthy, natural and positive experience for mothers and their families. For more information about Elisabeth Bing, read an article published in Lamaze Parent’s Magazine (1990).  

 

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About Lamaze International

Lamaze International promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices.  Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years.  Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available.  Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices.  The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze certified instructor.  To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org

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