Frédérick Leboyer

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal, 2017, Vol 29 No 2

(1918 – 2017)

Known for his groundbreaking 1974 book Birth Without Violence (made into a documentary film on 2008), Leboyer was a game changer in maternity and obstetrics.

While by no means the first to argue that interventions in birth were potentially damaging in some cases, he was the first person to be able to have his concerns widely heard for the impact on the baby during birth. At a time when some routine operations were performed on babies without anaesthetic, because it was still considered that newborns couldn’t feel pain, Mr Leboyer (he preferred Mr to Dr) argued that the birth process for babies could be hugely traumatic, and that we should do what we could to minimise this for them, as well as for the mother.

Under his care, birth room lights were dimmed to aid the transition to light for the baby, and to reduce over stimulation. He advocated immediate skin to skin and optimal cord clamping – and not surprisingly, his methods were scorned and rejected by other medical men of the time who felt that doctors needed bright lights to decide whether a baby’s colour was acceptable, and that violent crying was a sign of a healthy infant.

However, parents continued to press for their providers to support his methods, and slowly, changes were made that we see in some of today’s birth rooms. Leboyer’s understanding of birth from the baby’s perspective – that some interventions, even if necessary – may be brutal and traumatic for babies as well as their mothers - was instrumental in changing firmly held beliefs and practices, and leading to more births without violence.

Latest Content

Journal

« »

Book Review: Mothership by Francesc…

AIMS Journal, 2019, Vol 31, No 4 Reviewed for AIMS by Jo Dagustun Mothership By Francesca Segal Chatto and Windus, 2019 288 pages £14.99 ISBN 978-1-78474-269-0 Find this…

Read more

Book Review: Eleven Hours by Pamela…

AIMS Journal, 2019, Vol 31, No 4 Reviewed for AIMS by Emma Mason Eleven Hours By Pamela Erens Published by Tin House Books 2016 ISBN 978-1941040294 176 pages Publisher's…

Read more

Book Review: The Breast Book by Emm…

AIMS Journal, 2019, Vol 31, No 4 Reviewed for AIMS by Clara Hubbard, age 12 The Breast Book: A puberty guide with a difference - it's the when, why and how of breasts By…

Read more

Events

« »

NICE Annual Conference 2020

Registration for the NICE Annual Conference 2020 will open on 22 January 2020. For more details and to register your interest, please visit http://www.niceconference.org.…

Read more

IMUK National Conference 2020

The theme of IMUK's 2020 National Conference 2020 is The Science Behind The Art of Midwifery. Speakers to be announced and tickets will be released soon. Information is a…

Read more

Midwifery Today Conference: “Birthi…

21-25 October 2020 The theme for this year's Midwifery Today conference is Birthing in Love: Everyone’s Right. Classes will include: Clinical sessions such as Hemorrhage,…

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

RCOG Consultation on leaflets in As…

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) recently launched a public consultation on two draft documents they have produced. Both documents were in the…

Read more

AIMS' Response to Hull Daily Mail a…

AIMS has responded to the Hull Daily Mail's article entitled, " https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/health/baby-born-bus-stop-shoelace-3571474 ". 26 November 2019 Dear E…

Read more

AIMS Response to NMC Consultation o…

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) plays a key role in the ongoing quality assurance and regulation of the maternity services and its staff. Effective and efficient…

Read more