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Dr. Lamaze was influenced by Soviet childbirth practices, which involved breathing and relaxation techniques under the supervision of a "monitrice", or midwife. The Lamaze method gained popularity in the United States after Marjorie Karmel wrote about her experiences in her 1959 book Thank You, Dr. Lamaze.
The rise of the epidural by 1980 and the widespread use of continuous electronic fetal monitoring as standard care practices changed the nature and purpose of the Lamaze method. Today, Lamaze International is an organization which promotes a philosophy of personal empowerment while providing general childbirth education. Modern Lamaze childbirth classes teach expectant mothers many ways to work with the labor process to reduce the pain associated with childbirth, and to promote normal (physiological) birth and the first moments after birth. Techniques include allowing labor to begin on its own, movement and positions, massage, aromatherapy, hot and cold packs, informed consent and informed refusal, breathing techniques, the use of a "birth ball" (yoga or exercise ball), spontaneous pushing, upright positions for labor and birth, breastfeeding techniques, and keeping mother and baby together after childbirth.
The Lamaze technique is not an evidence-based medical therapy. Its effectiveness benefit could be explained by a placebo effect, or simply by diverting the woman's attention from the pain of labor to the breathing exercise. 
Lamaze Approach to Birth
- Birth is normal, natural and healthy.
- The experience of birth profoundly affects women and their families.
- Women's inner wisdom guides them through birth.
- Women's confidence and ability to give birth is either enhanced or diminished by the care provider and place of birth.
- Women have the right to give birth free from routine medical interventions.
- Birth can safely take place in homes, birth centers and hospitals.
- Childbirth education empowers women to make informed choices in health care, to assume responsibility for their health and to trust their inner wisdom.
Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices
Template:Advert Lamaze birth practices are intended to promote a safe and healthy birth.
- Let labor begin on its own. Letting the body go into labor on its own is almost always the best way to know that the baby is ready to be born and the body is ready for labor.
- Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor. Moving in labor (not confined to a bed) helps women cope with strong and painful contractions, while gently moving the baby into the pelvis and through the birth canal.
- Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support. In childbirth, a woman feels better when supported by people she trusts and those who use encouragement.
- Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary. When interventions (e.g., induction, epidural, continuous monitoring) are used in a routine manner, women and babies are exposed to unnecessary risks.
- Avoid giving birth on back and follow the body’s urges to push. Upright positions are safe during pushing and can make it easier to push the baby out. This could mean squatting, sitting or lying on the side
- Keep mother and baby together – it’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding. Mother and baby share a natural instinct to be close after birth, and experts recommend that a healthy newborn be placed and cared for skin-to-skin on the mother’s abdomen or chest.
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