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Fernand Lamaze

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Fernand Lamaze (1891 - 1957) was a French obstetrician, most famous as the popularizer of psychoprophylaxis, a method of childbirth preparation and pain management that has come to bear his name (the Lamaze technique).

Lamaze visited the Soviet Union in 1951. There he observed a birth using psychoprophylaxis, which had been developed primarily by Soviet psychotherapist I.Z. Velvovskii of Kharkov, Ukraine.

Based on Ivan Pavlov's theory of conditioned response, psychoprophylaxis strove to eliminate the pain of childbirth through education about the physiological process of labor and delivery, through the trained relaxation response to uterine contractions, and through patterned breathing intended to both increase oxygenation and interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the uterus to the cerebral cortex. Lamaze was so impressed by what he witnessed that after he returned to France, he devoted the rest of his life to promoting psychoprophylaxis.

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