In the 1960’s, as a result of a woman’s birth experienced in France with a doctor named Fernand Lamaze, the organization called ASPO was formed. The founders were the American actress Marjorie Karmel who had had her baby in France, and a New York physical therapist named Elisabeth Bing. Marjorie brought her birth experience and passion for its wonder. Elisabeth brought the ability to help people with body work. Together, they formed this organization called ASPO. That acronym stood for the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics. They used this fancy name to lend more credibility of themselves in a male medical world. For after all, these “simple”women” could not possibly know anything about birth American obstetricians hadn’t already committed to memory.


Psycho (mind) +
Prophylaxis (blocking) =
Mind-blocking of pain

What started as childbirth classes in a small physical therapy studio, by the early 80’s had grown into a certifying organization whose techniques and ideas had spread rapidly and profoundly across our nation. Now annual national conferences were held where experienced Lamaze educators and novice teachers could meet to network long before the networking concept had been heard of.

Elisabeth Bing Teaching In A Studio, Circa 1978.

Image ©

A board of directors and committees spearheaded by enthusiastic birth junkies
worked to immortalize the organization’s philosophy that
pregnant and laboring women’s bodies worked, and worked perfectly.

Committees and the board from time to time bantered around the idea of whether or not to change the name to include the name of the method’s founder, Ferdinand Lamaze. For many years, support for calling the organization ASPO prevailed. Behind that was the recognition that the word Lamaze could become a household word—wind up meaning “any old childbirth class”. That strong sentiment somehow fell into disfavor… the organization began moving away from the beginning vision of what Dr. Lamaze, Marjorie Karmel, and Elizabeth Bing gave us.

In fact, eventually, Lamaze slipped out of the hands of passionate birth junkies. A professional company, hired to “upgrade” our sacred institution – one of whose “bright ideas” was to use the word Lamaze in our organization’s name. First, we were known as ASPO/Lamaze. The final blow came when the brand changed to Lamaze International™.

Just as vintage Lamaze educators predicted, we now live in a society where the brand has been modified and degraded. Though unaware of hog-washing the term and side-stepping truth in advertising, anyone or any facility like to call their childbirth classes “lamaze”.

Misbranding a trademarked title of anything is against the law.

Legitimate Lamaze™ classes are taught by a fully certified L.C.C.E./Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators who teach the Lamaze™ Philosophy and the Six Healthy Care Practices for Birth©. L.C.C.E.’s who work for medical facilities but do not teach Lamaze curricula, means you are not getting authentic Lamaze™.

So, unless it is Chocolate from Hershey, Pennsylvania, it isn’t REAL Thing!



Have you signed up for authentic Lamaze™ classes or not?