50 years of childbirth without pain

Created initially for the Steelworkers, the maternity ward of the Bluets in Paris has become the reference for painless childbirth. But since the 1950s, the preparation at birth has deeply changed. For Dr. Evelyne Petroff and Danielle Sfoggia today the accompaniment should be customized and fostering dialogue. They respond to issues of Doctissimo.

Doctissimo: Bluets surrogacy was pioneer in childbirth without pain. What developments experienced by this method?

Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: Childbirth without pain has been developed by Dr. Fernand Lamaze and his team, after attending a birth in the former USSR. This method is based on two pillars. The first is pedagogical: it comes to learn the mother-to-be how birth, just as it would teach him to swim. Be given particular notions of anatomy. In the 1950s, pedagogy through lectures, and metallurgical workers ‘returning on the benches of the school”. The other pillar of the program is a physical component. It was based on the work of Pavlov at the time: it was of “deconditioning” women to suffer during childbirth. This happening by associate contraction with breathing to oxygenate baby, rather than associate it with pain.

childbirth without pain

This method was very controversial. In the 1970s, M. Leboyer added the concept of softness of the baby home. Light, gestures… the Leboyer method advocates a birth without violence. Then there was the arrival of the epidural in the 1980s, heavily dosed at the time. Women felt more nothing. They were passive, while Lamaze approach was intended to make them active. Need to find a balance between pain reduction and the involvement in its delivery.

Doctissimo: Precisely, how do you manage to find this balance?
Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: Our goal is not to control the pain at all costs but to accompany women in what they wish to: singing, breathing, epidural dosed mini… We have women who opt for a method, and then change their mind along the way. Our support for the mother-to-be is refined. We are not aiming a kind “of ideal childbirth”, but what is best for each. But we keep the two pillars of the Lamaze, teaching method and physical approach. We give ourselves the means to propose more human accompaniments, favouring dialogue and Exchange. Thus, the educational part is done by classes diversified, with not more than 10 persons, from the 4e month of pregnancy. Because every woman is unique, and each baby is unique.

Doctissimo: But how do you manage to propose a personalised welcome, while most maternity wards are experiencing a real crisis?

Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: First, it is true that we do not problem pregnancies. This allows us to concentrate on coaching. In addition, we work in network. Many doctors general practitioners and gynaecologists are related to our maternity to extend the monitoring. We regularly offer training.

Doctissimo: What is the profile of women who give birth at you and what methods of painless childbirth are preferred?
Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: We give birth to 1,750 babies each year. But we do not have detailed data on the most methods. Because as I told you, many women change along the way. But in General, 70 to 80% of women are opting for a preparation for childbirth. Those who do not follow have often already practiced a technique they know. Or there may be other cultures, which will have specific approaches. With regard to the profile of expectant mothers, we welcome women of all backgrounds, of all socio-professional categories.

Doctissimo: Within your maternity, the father there a privileged position?
Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: The father was always present during childbirth. But it is true that in the mid-1970s, there was a very militant movement so he attended the birth, cut the cord… Today, there is a return to more reason. Father occurs depending on what it is willing to do, there is no obligation. But there is a genuine work of the team, to make fathers feel welcomed as part of the adventure. They are welcome everywhere: in consultation, ultrasound, in preparation (“words of men” interview them is devoted), childbirth (even during caesarean sections) and in puerperium throughout the day.

Doctissimo: Under your auspices, a birth House will soon see the light of day?
Dr. Petroff and Sfoggia: This House of birth is expected in 2006. Attention, it is not an extension of motherhood the Bluets, but an autonomous structure, which will occur the liberal midwives. It will be attached to our maternity. The goal is to offer women a yet more custom tracking, and delivery “at home”. Because it is now almost impossible to give birth at home.