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Grant number: FT-13683-78

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John D. Bell
University of Maryland, Baltimore (Baltimore, MD 21201-1603)

The Politics of Childbirth: The Controversy of Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics

The psychoprophylaxis method of childbirth (known in the US as the Lamaze method), originated in the Soviet Union when political intervention in medicine and science was at its height. In the early 1950s, the method was brought to France from the USSR by Dr. Fernand Lamaze, member of the French Communist Party, who maintained that it proved the superiority and greater humaneness of Soviet science and medicine over the "bourgeois" counterparts. When the method was introduced in the US in 1960, a different sort of political question was raised-one that touched on an aspect of woman's liberation. Study will focus on relationship between political ideology and medicine in the USSR, France, and the United States—3 different societies and 3 different medical systems.

Project fields:
History of Science

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$2,500 (approved)
$2,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/1978 – 8/31/1978