Flora SuhdHommel

As an early proponent of the Lamaze method, Flora Suhd Hommel helped normalize natural childbirth through the Childbirth Without Pain Education Association (CWPEA). As a young bride, Hommel moved to Paris in 1946, where her experience advocating for herself through pregnancy and labor in 1950 drove her to study under Dr. Fernand Lamaze. By the following year, she was assisting at births. After returning to America in 1953, she earned a nursing degree in 1958 and began teaching Lamaze classes from her home in Detroit. She pushed hospital administrators to allow birthing coaches to help mothers in the delivery room as well as to allow expectant fathers to be present in the room. She founded CWPEA in 1960, creating and overseeing training programs for expectant parents, birthing coaches, and instructors. From 1964–1968 she served on the National Board of the International Childbirth Education Association, speaking around the country about the possibilities of avoiding drugs and insisting that doctors respect the rights of expectant mothers to make educated decisions about their own care. At its peak in 1969, CWPEA was serving 3,000 students per year. From 1973 to 1990, Hommel served on the Detroit Health Commission. Even after her retirement, she continued to advocate for such causes as universal health care, Social Security and Medicaid.

Topics: Midwifery, Medicine
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Photo of Flora Suhd Hommel, proponent of Lamaze, overseeing a birth. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.

Date of Birth
Birthplace

Detroit, MI
United States

Date of Death
2015

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Flora Suhd Hommel ." (Viewed on August 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/hommel-flora>.

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