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NEW YORK -- When Elisabeth Bing became interested in childbirth techniques in the 1950s, women were often heavily medicated, dads were generally nowhere near the delivery room and expectant parents had less information than many do today.

Bing, the Lamaze International co-founder who popularized natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room, died Friday at 100 in her New York apartment, the organization said Saturday. The cause of her death wasn't immediately known.

Bing taught breathing and relaxation techniques to generations of expectant mothers, wrote books about birth and pregnancy and encouraged women and men to be more prepared, active and inquisitive participants in the arrival of their babies.

Bing was born July 8, 1914, in Berlin. She fled Nazi Germany with her family for England, where she trained in physical therapy. Working with new mothers led her to think about delivery practices, an interest she brought with her to the U.S. in 1949.

She learned about ideas advanced by some doctors, including French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze, for using breathing and mental preparation to manage labor pain without medication. She and the late Marjorie Karmel established what is now Lamaze International in 1960 to spread the strategies.

Over the years, the idea of refusing all painkillers during labor fell out of favor with many women. Still, Bing said in 2004 that she felt the organization's work had "changed the whole attitude toward obstetrics and pregnant women, not necessarily technical changes, but the psychological and practical approaches to pregnancy."

Metro on 05/18/2015

Print Headline: Co-founder of Lamaze International

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