Remembering Elizabeth Noble and Her Contributions to Maternal Infant Health

© Elizabeth Noble

© Elizabeth Noble

Elizabeth Noble, author, presenter, teacher, and advocate for mothers, babies and families, passed away last week after spending time in hospice care.   Elizabeth was a highly respected physical therapist and internationally recognized expert on, and an advocate for, the normal physiology of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Born and raised in Australia, Elizabeth received degrees in physiotherapy, philosophy and anthropology before she moved to the United States in 1973.  In 1977, Elizabeth founded the Section on Women’s Health for the American Physical Therapy Association.  In 1979, Elizabeth also founded the Maternal and Child Health Center in Cambridge, MA, along with Cambridge Physical Therapy.  She was the director of these organizations until 1990.

Elizabeth Noble authored eight booksEssential Exercises for the Childbearing Year (her most well known), Having Twins and More, Childbirth with Insight, Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers to Be, Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers and Babies, Primal Connections, The Joy of Being a Boy, andHaving Your Baby by Donor Insemination.  Many of these books have been translated into several other languages.

Elizabeth created several multimedia productions (videos, DVDs and CDs) that included Inside Experiences, Channel for a New Life, BabyJoyExercises and Activities for Parents and Infants, Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year and Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers-to-Be andPelvic Power.

Elizabeth authored  several articles, chapters and forewords and was a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, and Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology. A former Director of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health, she has served on the boards of many organizations such as ICEA, The Toronto Birth Center, Center for Loss in Multiple Pregnancy, and Dancing Through Pregnancy®.

Elizabeth was the creator of “Instructor Training in Prenatal and Postpartum Exercises” a three day course geared for professionals.  She presented this frequently all over the world.

Some of her well known lectures and presentations included:

  • Optimal Health
  • Deskercises
  • Say What You Mean!
  • Pelvic Power: An Evening Public Presentation
  • Pre- and Perinatal Origins of Mental and Physical Health
  • Preventing Professional Burnout: Personal Growth for Maternity Care Providers
  • Hands-on Pelvic Assessment & Treatment
  • Prenatal Preparation
  • Empowerment Challenges for Expectant and New Parents
  • Psychophysical Aspects of Pain in Labor
  • The Pregnancy Playshop:  Weekend Childbirth Intensive for Expectant Parents
  • New Dimensions in Support for Childbearing Year
  • Childbirth Preparation and Unfulfilled Transitions
  • Reproduction and Birth in A Technological World
  • Marching Backward: The Malaise in the Natural Childbirth Movement
  • The Power of Knowing: Psychological Strategies for Expectant Parents and Maternity Care Providers
  • Tapping the Unconscious Mind
  • Inside Experiences: Guided Recall for Birth & Before
  • Reproductive Technology
  • Anonymous Donor Gametes and Genealogical Bewilderment
  • Multiple Pregnancy
  • Fetal Surveillance and the Nocebo Effect: Recommendations for a Normal Pregnancy, Vaginal Birth Optimal Outcome.
  • Pre and Perinatal Loss of a Twin
  • Bonding with Multiples
  • Sharing Space: Twinship Experiences in the Womb

Elizabeth’s dear friend and colleague, Nancy Wainer, CPM, had this to say about Elizabeth Noble:

Liz was quite unique- well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, well-spoken, opinionated (because she was educated!) and feisty. She was extremely articulate and was most dedicated to mothers and babies.

Liz took excellent care of herself – her diet/nutrition was excellent and she exercised regularly. She was mindful.  She had so many things she wanted to accomplish in her lifetime, both professionally and personally. It seems so unfair to those of us who knew her that she was stricken with this dreaded and painful disease, cancer, and that she succumbed this past week. For the past decades, she has been a driving force for mother and babies and and natural living (having had her own home birth in a tub outside on a beautiful day at her’s and Leo’s lovely home in Harwich) and was knowledgeable about so many aspects of birth that made her a true pioneer/trail blazer. She was cut out of a very special mold and her absence will be surely be felt in our circles. Her list of accomplishments are a mile long, and should have been another full mile. Rest in peace, dear Liz… rest in peace.

© Elizabeth Noble

© Elizabeth Noble

The Section of Women’s Health (APTA) recognized Elizabeth by establishing The Elizabeth Noble Award, given yearly to an APTA member in good standing who has provided extraordinary and exemplary service in the field of women’s physical therapy.

Many in the birth world are very familiar with all of Elizabeth Noble’s many contributions to mothers and babies and had the deepest respect for her significant accomplishments.  Her voice and her knowledge cannot be replaced and will certainly be missed.  All of us at Science & Sensibility and Lamaze International offer our condolences to the Noble family.


I am saddened by Elizabeth Nob

January 7, 2015 07:00 AM by Penny Simkin, PT, CD(DONA), CCE
I am saddened by Elizabeth Noble's death. I have known her since she moved to the USA, and felt a special kinship with her, as a fellow physical therapist specializing in women's health and maternity care at a time and in a country where physical therapists had virtually no place in maternity care. I admired Elizabeth; she was brilliant, fearless, feisty, and blunt (and somewhat intimidating). Her self-confidence, curiosity, and independence took her beyond physical therapy as she explored the larger meanings of life and became more interested in the psyche and the spirit. Her journey took her into more mysterious realms of the unconscious, though I think she maintained her interest and expertise in Women's Physical Therapy. Elizabeth was one of a kind. I am shocked an saddened that she is no longer among us. I do hope she passed peacefully.

Elzabeth was a dear friend of

January 13, 2015 07:00 AM by Sandra Jeanne Bardsley, RN, LCCE, FACCE, CD
Elzabeth was a dear friend of many of us pre and perinatal psychology members.(APPPAH) Elizaabeth was much loved and respected for her energy, conviction and determined spirit. She and her husband Leo were fearless and frank advocates for improving how we treat and interact with the unborn & newborn baby and mother. Her strong, outspoken and fearless way of presenting her material concerning the importance of the mother/baby bond caught the imagination and determination of so many of us, and led the way to many human efforts to better pregnancy, birth and early post-partum. I know that many of us will miss her presence and determination to better humanity, one birth at a time. It is difficult for me to imagine that she is not on this mortal plane with us, but I feel that she and Leo are still shedding much light and determination for our efforts. In memory of Elizabeth and Leo, let's work together to strengthen each others work of shifting the paradigm surrounding the medical birth machine model.

Elizabeth was my first teacher

January 13, 2015 07:00 AM by Deborah Wiegand Snyder
Elizabeth was my first teacher / mentor in women's health . She taught me at a few classes in her home in Cape Cod. I was inspired by her creative , direct , " take no nonsense " personality & her passion for women 's needs . I will miss her . She is the reason I opened a Continence Center at Riddle Hospital in 1991 & became one of the first practicing physical therapists in this area In the current Mainline Health a System . She touched many lives in a positive inspiring way .

I first heard Elizabeth in 197

January 14, 2015 07:00 AM by BJ Garlick
I first heard Elizabeth in 1977. I am still working as a Physical Therapist in Women's Heath. I was deeply saddened to learn of her death. Her passion for the field was infectious. we all cont to do her work

Thank you for placing this tri

January 17, 2015 07:00 AM by Sally Hopton
Thank you for placing this tribute, Sharon, I appreciated your effort.

To leave a comment, click on the Comment icon on the left side of the screen.  You must login to submit a comment.  

Recent Stories
SOGC and Canada Embrace Home Birth - Why is the USA So Far Behind?

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month - What the Childbirth Educator Can Be Sharing

Series: Building Your Birth Business - Google Classroom to Share Resources and Build Community