Michel Odent, MD, is a French surgeon and pioneer in the evolution of respectful maternal care in France and a leading voice for change globally.

He was in charge of the surgical and maternity units of the Pithiviers Hospital (France) from 1962 to 1985, where he developed a special research interest in the environmental factors influencing the birth process. He introduced concepts like home-like birthing rooms, birthing pools in maternity hospitals and singing sessions for pregnant women. He later became more directly involved in home births. Michel also founded the Primal Health Research Centre in London and designed a database (primalhealthhresearch.org) in order to compile epidemiological studies.

Michel is the author of the first articles about the initiation of breastfeeding during the hour following birth (1977), the first article about the use of birthing pools during labor (1983), and the first article applying the “Gate Control Theory of Pain” to obstetrics (1975). He coined the term “hormone of love” when referring to oxytocin. In addition to approximately 50 scientific papers, Michel has published 15 books in 23 languages and has been a member of the Professional Advisory Board of La Leche League International for about 40 years. The MOM Center is honored to be named after his highly acclaimed and inspirational contributions to evidence-based reform in the sphere of maternal and newborn health.