“Mother of Lamaze” Elisabeth Bing Has Died

Elisabeth Bing (The New York Times)

Elisabeth Bing (The New York Times)

Elisabeth Bing, credited for bringing Dr. Fernand Lamaze’s childbirth techniques to American women, has died at age 100 in New York.

The Lamaze method emphasized relaxation during childbirth, and posited that a mother’s pain during giving birth stemmed from fear. Having studied natural childbirth since 1942, Bing first encountered Lamaze’s technique in the 1950s. In 1960, she and a colleague founded Lamaze International, then known as theĀ American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics.

It’s estimated that 25% of expectant mothers and spouses attend a Lamaze class at some point during pregnancy. For context, almost 4M babies were born in 2010. This would put the number of Lamaze-attending parents-to-be around 1M. (But this wouldn’t be completely accurate because it assumes that every mother only gave birth to one child.)

Bing’s goal was to help empower women to make their own decisions regarding how childbirth would go for them, and she certainly achieved that.