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A Chapter From Lamaze History: Birth Narratives and Authoritative Knowledge in France, 1952‐1957

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This article analyzes birth narratives gathered during what can be considered a formative period of the Lamaze movement in the West: from 1952 through Fernand Lamaze's death in early 1957. The use of women's birth narratives as an assessment tool is one of Dr. Lamaze's most enduring contributions to obstetric pain management. The early work of Lamaze and his collaborator Pierre Vellay provided a template for studies conducted elsewhere for decades to come. By examining expectations in another time and place, our own standards, so often normalized to the point of invisibility, are thrown into sharp relief. This article addresses the conflicting and contested nature of authoritative knowledge surrounding parturition.

Keywords: Fernand Lamaze; France; Helene Deutsch; Pierre Vellay; birth stories; psychoprophylaxis; qualitative evidence

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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