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Lamaze: An International History - Oxford Studies in International History (Hardback)
  • Lamaze: An International History - Oxford Studies in International History (Hardback)
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Lamaze: An International History - Oxford Studies in International History (Hardback)

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£24.49
Hardback 264 Pages / Published: 27/02/2014
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The Lamaze method is virtually synonymous with natural childbirth in America. In the 1970s, taking Lamaze classes was a common rite of passage to parenthood. The conscious relaxation and patterned breathing techniques touted as a natural and empowering path to the alleviation of pain in childbirth resonated with the feminist and countercultural values of the era. In Lamaze, historian Paula Michaels tells the surprising story of the Lamaze method from its origins in the Soviet Union in the 1940s, to its popularization in France in the 1950s, and then to its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s in the US. Michaels shows how, for different reasons, in disparate national contexts, this technique for managing the pain of childbirth without resort to drugs found a following. The Soviet government embraced this method as a panacea to childbirth pain in the face of the material and fiscal shortages that followed World War II. Heated and sometimes ideologically inflected debates surrounded the Lamaze method as it moved from East to West amid the Cold War. Physicians in France sympathetic to the communist cause helped to export it across the Iron Curtain, but politics alone fails to explain why French women embraced this approach. Arriving on American shores around 1960, the Lamaze method took on new meanings. Initially it offered a path to a safer and more satisfying birth experience, but overtly political considerations came to the fore once again as feminists appropriated it as a way to resist the patriarchal authority of male obstetricians. Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Michaels pieces together this complex and fascinating story at the crossroads of the history of politics, medicine, and women. The story of Lamaze illuminates the many contentious issues that swirl around birthing practices in America and Europe. Brimming with insight, Michaels' engaging history offers an instructive intervention in the debate about how to achieve humane, empowering, and safe maternity care for all women.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199738649
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 518 g
Dimensions: 238 x 163 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[a] fascinating book * Eliane Glaser, London Review of Books *
Michaels has succeeded in producing an innovative, refreshing and insightful book. Lamaze tells us much not only about the history of childbirth, but also Cold War politics, the communication of knowledge across borders, and social change in three very different post-war settings. It deserves a wide readership. * Dr Salim Al-Gailani, Reviews in History *
Lamaze is an interesting and enjoyable book which is engaging reading for both a specialist audience and wider readership. * Angela Davis, Social History of Medicine *
an enjoyable and absorbing read. Michaels writes well, and because the arguments are so clearly made and provocatively posed, this would be an excellent book for gender and medicine courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students would read this book, and scholars interested in the history of gender and medicine should as well. * Tricia Starks, American Historical Review *

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