This 1956 documentary was used as part of the training received by women preparing for painless childbirth using the psychoprophylactic method (called “Lamaze Method”).
Documentaire sur la méthode psychoprophylactique d’accouchement sans douleur introduite en France par le Docteur Fernand Lamaze. Evaluation de l’importance de cette méthode dans le monde. Les cours de préparation physique et les méthodes de relaxation. L’accouchement.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Marchand and Dr. Pierre Vellay, this film was published by Cinétest in France in 1956 in 16mm format, Black & White and color (for the birthing scene).
The film was widely shown throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s by Flora Hommel, founder and director of Childbirth Without Pain Education Association in Detroit (CWPEA). The subtitles by Claudia Hommel are based on Flora’s translation script. Claudia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Lamaze Method, including extensive archives of birth reports by many of Flora Hommel’s 18,000 students, class outlines, teacher and monitrice certification exams, etc. are to be found in the Flora Hommel Papers at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.
The Flora Hommel Collection of CWPEA documents and personal correspondence are described at /node/9274)
More about Flora Hommel and the Lamaze Method in the US is posted at
Make your contribution to the ongoing legacy, research, and archives of Childbirth Without Pain Education Association (CWPEA) at
You can also order there a DVD of the three films in this playlist for a modest donation.
Physical copies of the 16 mm film (without subtitles) are on file at Bibliothèque de l’Université Laval
Québec, QC G1V 0A6 Canada; Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe in Cambridge, MA, and Wayne State University Archives, Detroit, MI.
In the US, Flora Hommel preceded each film showing with a commentary, pointing out, for example, that the scenes of a woman running track are intended to compare the training of an athlete to that of training for birth… but that running track is not part of the Lamaze training!
The birthing scene begins with the last contraction of First Stage of labor and most of what we see is the much shorter Second Stage (the pushing stage). The Third Stage, the expulsion of the placenta, is not included.
Flora explains the role of each person on the team… the woman is aided by doctor, monitrice, nurse, and husband (at a time when husbands were banned from most American delivery rooms). Other conditions in the Paris clinic would not be typical in a US setting: the use of oxygen, the replacing of sterile cloth, etc.