Ina May's outlet online sale Guide to Childbirth 2021 "Updated With New Material" online

Ina May's outlet online sale Guide to Childbirth 2021 "Updated With New Material" online

Ina May's outlet online sale Guide to Childbirth 2021 "Updated With New Material" online
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What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you. Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:

• Reducing the pain of labor without drugs--and the miraculous roles touch and massage play
• What really happens during labor
• Orgasmic birth--making birth pleasurable
• Episiotomy--is it really necessary?
• Common methods of inducing labor--and which to avoid at all costs
• Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
• How to avoid postpartum bleeding--and depression
• The risks of anesthesia and cesareans--what your doctor
doesn’t necessarily tell you
• The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
• How to create a safe, comfortable environment for
birth in any setting, including a hospital
• And much more

Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

From Publishers Weekly

Founding member and former president of the Midwives Alliance of North America and author of Spiritual Midwivery, Gaskin offers encouragement and practical advice in her upbeat and informative book on natural childbirth. Since the mid-1970s, Gaskin and the midwives in her practice on a Summertown, Tenn., commune known as "The Farm," have attended over 2,200 natural births. Gaskin, who learned the rudiments of her gentle birthing technique from the Mayans in Guatemala, has helped bring attention to the method''s remarkably low rate of morbidity and medical intervention. Couples considering natural childbirth will get inspirational coaxing from more than a dozen first-person narratives shared by the author''s clients. Gaskin decries what she sees as Western medicine''s focus on pain during birth, arguing that natural birthing can not only be euphoric and blissful but also orgasmic (a survey of 150 natural birthing women "found thirty-two who reported experiencing at least one orgasmic birth"). The second half of Gaskin''s book deals with the practical side of natural birthing, including how to avoid standard medical interventions such as epidurals, episiotomies and even prenatal amniocentesis that may be unnecessary, even dangerous, to mother or child. While this may not be the definitive guide to natural childbirth, it is a comfortable and supportive read for women who want to trust their bodies to do what comes naturally.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Using history as her guide, nationally recognized midwife Gaskin explores what she hopes will be a renaissance in natural childbirth, something that she''s been advocating since the mid-1970s. By focusing on how women of ancient civilizations and other modern peoples give birth, Gaskin puts our own hypersensitivities in perspective, uncovering a beautiful, sometimes orgasmic experience rather than a dreadful, painful one. Sure, pain is part of childbirth, but preparing for the pain in a realistic rather than sentimental way--whether giving birth at home or in a hospital--can be the key to a woman''s ability to deal with it naturally. Within the pages of personal anecdotes, some touching, some startling, from Gaskin''s patients and colleagues, every woman is sure to find something to relate to, whether or not she chooses to have a medicine-free labor. The helpful back matter features a glossary, a detailed resource list including advocacy groups and Web sites, and a bibliography that includes periodicals, rounding out an extremely comprehensive and up-to-date guide on the topic. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you.

Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation?s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May?s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:? Reducing the pain of labor without drugs--and the miraculous roles touch and massage play

? What really happens during labor
? Orgasmic birth--making birth pleasurable
? Episiotomy--is it really necessary?
? Common methods of inducing labor--and which to avoid at all costs
? Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
? How to avoid postpartum bleeding--and depression
? The risks of anesthesia and cesareans--what your doctor
doesn?t necessarily tell you
? The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
? How to create a safe, comfortable environment for
birth in any setting, including a hospital
? And much more

Ina May?s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women?s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

From the Back Cover

What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you.
Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation''s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May''s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.
Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes: - Reducing the pain of labor without drugs--and the miraculous roles touch and massage play
- What really happens during labor
- Orgasmic birth--making birth pleasurable
- Episiotomy--is it really necessary?
- Common methods of inducing labor--and which to avoid at all costs
- Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
- How to avoid postpartum bleeding--and depression
- The risks of anesthesia and cesareans--what your doctor
doesn''t necessarily tell you
- The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
- How to create a safe, comfortable environment for
birth in any setting, including a hospital
- And much more
Ina May''s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women''s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

About the Author

Ina May Gaskin, certified professional midwife, has been a midwife for more than forty years at The Farm Midwifery Center at The Farm, in Summertown, Tennessee.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Birth Stories

Introduction to the Birth Stories

There is extraordinary psychological benefit in belonging to a group of women who have positive stories to tell about their birth experiences. This phenomenon is exactly what developed within our village. So many horror stories circulate about birth--especially in the United States--that it can be difficult for women to believe that labor and birth can be a beneficial experience. If you have been pregnant for a while, it''s probable that you''ve already heard some scary birth stories from friends or relatives. This is especially true if you live in the United States, where telling pregnant women gory stories has been a national pastime for at least a century. Now that birth has become a favorite subject of television dramas and situation comedies, this trend has been even more pronounced. No one has explained the situation more succinctly than Stephen King in his novella "The Breathing Method."* Commenting on the fear many women have of birth, his fictional character observes, "Believe me: if you are told that some experience is going to hurt, it will hurt. Most pain is in the mind, and when a woman absorbs the idea that the act of giving birth is excruciatingly painful--when she gets this information from her mother, her sisters, her married friends, and her physician--that woman has been mentally prepared to feel great agony." King, you may not know, is the father of several children born at home.

The best way I know to counter the effects of frightening stories is to hear or read empowering ones. I mean stories that change you because you read or heard them, because the teller of the story taught you something you didn''t know before or helped you look at things from a different angle than you ever had before. For this reason, Part I of this book is largely devoted to stories told by women who planned to have home or birth-center births with me and my midwife partners. You may find this part of the book to be the one you want to read the most during pregnancy. At The Farm, the only horror stories we shared were those of previous births in which the care had been radically different from that given by Farm midwives. As women began to have positive experiences giving birth, their stories helped to calm the fears and worries of those who had not yet had babies. The confidence that these women gained from one another was a significant factor in why the midwifery care at The Farm has produced such good results.

Stories teach us in ways we can remember. They teach us that each woman responds to birth in her unique way and how very wide-ranging that way can be. Sometimes they teach us about silly practices once widely held that were finally discarded. They teach us the occasional difference between accepted medical knowledge and the real bodily experiences that women have--including those that are never reported in medical textbooks nor admitted as possibilities in the medical world. They also demonstrate the mind/body connection in a way that medical studies cannot. Birth stories told by women who were active participants in giving birth often express a good deal of practical wisdom, inspiration, and information for other women. Positive stories shared by women who have had wonderful childbirth experiences are an irreplaceable way to transmit knowledge of a woman''s true capacities in pregnancy and birth.

James''s Birth

By Karen Lovell

Huntsville, Alabama--Rocket City, U.S.A., where "the sky is not the limit." My husband, Ron, had gone to work for the maker of the world''s fastest supercomputers and was stationed at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. For all intents and purposes, it appeared that we were people geared toward state-of-the art technology, people who would accept the latest and greatest, even when it came to childbirth. So why The Farm?

That answer begins with the birth of my first son, Christopher. I had just completed working for teacher certification. My plan was to get a job teaching that fall, but before that could happen, I realized I was pregnant. Here I was, fresh out of school with a lot of science courses under my belt, and I felt I didn''t know anything about childbirth. Yes, I knew the mechanics, how the body responded, what happened, but I was totally ignorant as to how hospitals and medical professionals responded to childbirth. Learning something about what options I had started me on my search for alternatives.

My first visit with a highly recommended obstetrician in town was pretty unpleasant. The first thing I was told was the temperature in the delivery room could not be adjusted, although the lights could. When I asked to not have an episiotomy, he skirted the issue entirely by asking me what kind of episiotomy I meant, never once saying whether he would or would not give me one. This bothered me, but I knew this was about as magnanimous as he was going to get, so I let it slide. For the time being, I was getting good prenatal care. I could change later. However, as time went on, I was less and less sure of this doctor. In fact, I grew to distrust him. All along, there were little hints that he and I were in different head spaces. The biggest came during the sixth month of pregnancy, when I was sent a certified letter that made no sense whatsoever, unless one read it do it my way or else. Finally, in the seventh month, the doctor said there could be no Leboyer birth,* after leading me to believe all these months there would be. It was at that point that I knew I didn''t want this man touching me--and internal exams were to begin in two weeks. I knew I had to find someone else.

A nurse who practiced as an underground midwife suggested a doctor from a nearby town who would provide more considerate care. Under his care I was able to have a Leboyer birth experience, but the hospital gowns and masks meant to create a more "sterile" environment were just that--sterile, cold, and intimidating. Also I had to labor on my back because of the monitor and ended up with a big episiotomy and forceps delivery.

One of the pregnant women, who became my friend after the birth of my son, used an original copy of Spiritual Midwifery as her bible, and even tore out pictures and pages and pasted them on her wall. Her daughter''s birth, which took place at home, had a profound effect on me. In the back of my mind I thought that, perhaps someday, I would have a child whose passage into this world would be really loving and spiritual.

My second pregnancy was hardly noticeable. It seemed that the baby sort of slipped in and was no problem. The only indications of my pregnancy were that I missed my March and April periods and my clothes were a little tight around my waist. I wasted no time in finding the most "lenient" obstetrician in town. I had no problems with him and found he was very honest with me. He flatly told me he insisted on an I.V. and that the hospital required an internal fetal monitor, although I could sign a legal waiver and not have the monitor. I had resigned myself to this type of birth if necessary but decided to investigate further. I finally obtained a copy of Spiritual Midwifery from a health-food store in Nashville, where I grew up. Several weeks later I wrote to The Farm, and Deborah Flowers responded.

I immediately felt as if a deep-seated prayer had been answered and prayed that if The Farm was right for me I''d end up there. When I told Ron about hearing from The Farm, I think he was worried. After all, I had seemed so content this time and the hospital was only ten minutes away. Why did I want to go up to The Farm, which was about seventy miles away?

Ron and I had a continuing dialogue about childbirth at The Farm. Finally, we both decided to go visit with an open mind (although I must admit I wasn''t quite as open-minded as Ron; I simply knew I wanted to be at The Farm). When we arrived, we met Deborah Flowers and Pamela Hunt, who showed us the facilities and checked me. Deborah said I was one centimeter dilated and loose, which I attribute to her absolute gentleness and the strong rapport I felt with her.

Ron was impressed that the birth cottage had hospital equipment to stabilize an infant in an emergency. He was also impressed with the fact that the midwives were emergency medical technicians and very qualified in their work. He decided to go along with a birthing at The Farm if our insurance would cover it. We found out in a few days that it would.

Because Deborah was my main midwife, I would bare my soul to her. I just knew things would go well. The Farm had it all: "in tune" midwives, a birthing house, a clinic with a holistic outlook, and doctor/hospital backup if necessary. I also liked subtle nuances such as helping the baby''s head stretch the mother out without tearing, not relying on cold machines such as ultrasound and internal fetal monitors, knowing how to deliver breech babies, and having faith in the universe.

When I went into labor back in Huntsville, I didn''t believe it at first and continued my project of cleaning all the carpets in the house. Intermittently, I rested on the bed to reduce the contractions until 4:00 p.m., when I realized I could no longer clean rugs. I waited a while to make sure of what I was feeling, then at 5:00 I called Ron to come home. He showed up, took things to the car, and we took off down the road after calling the midwives.

Contractions were steady and strong. Ron clocked them at seven minutes apart. Because I sat as still as possible, they remained unchanged. My back hurt with each contraction, which surprised me. Our drive was a little over two hours, and I was grateful for almost no traffic. Once at The Farm, Ron called Deborah, who came to let us in. I crawled onto the bed, where Deborah checked me. Ron brought things in while Deborah helped me through my labor. Chris had fallen asleep on a nearby fold-down chair. Ron sat down on the bed to help me with my back, which really hurt. Deborah grabbed my thigh while Ron pushed my back. It helped, and I told them so.

I could feel the baby moving down. I remembered Kim, this young woman giving birth on a video that Deborah had shown me. She had been really calm and didn''t have a husband to rely on. What a chicken I was, groaning, "Oh, my back!"

Just at transition,* I wailed, "My back is killing me." Then, and it was truly a prayer, "Oh, God, help me." Just then I felt my whole bottom bulge. The midwives commented on how stretchy I was. I pushed, and they could see the head. I pushed again and out came the head. Such a relief. The rest of the body seemed like nothing. Ron got to cut the umbilical cord after it was clamped, and Chris awoke in time to see the cut. A few minutes later I was easily able to push the squishy blob (the placenta) out of me.

I had a beautiful baby boy, born around 11:50 p.m. with hardly any head molding. He wanted to relax before nursing. We looked him over, then gave him to Joanne to weigh and dress while Deborah and Pamela gave me two stitches for a small tear.

I was grateful to have had such an easy pregnancy and that the birth itself was not just a psychosocial event but spiritual as well. I was thankful to have such loving, caring midwives and such a loving, thoughtful husband. I knew that this was the right way to have a baby. I enjoyed how the midwives paid attention to every detail and looked at things intuitively as well as on the surface.

The next day I felt so good. I looked at the clear blue November sky and the brown oak leaves left on the trees and basked in the warmth of the sun. I realized that I was truly blessed, that there really were some things on which technology could not improve--one of those was the billion-year-old evolutionary process of human childbirth. To some it may have seemed primitive; to me it was perfect.

Harley''s Birth

By Celeste Kuklinski

Around five o''clock I started feeling unusual cramps. Not wanting to give a false alarm, I didn''t say anything. I had my General Education Development (GED) class that night, and I didn''t really feel like going. Playing "truant officer," Donna, my mentor and friend, drove me to class. Mary, the teacher, said I was probably just having those fake, practice cramps (Braxton-Hicks). I went home early, unable to concentrate.

The cramps were getting stronger, and I was feeling warm and excited. I still didn''t want to call these cramps "contractions" in case it wasn''t really happening. I timed them and they were about four minutes apart. Donna asked if I wanted to go see a midwife, but I decided to hold off until I was sure I wasn''t getting excited over nothing.

Finally, in the middle of a Star Trek rerun, while my body was positioning itself in contorted ways all over the chair I was trying to sit in, I concluded that I had better see a midwife. Donna and I drove over to Pamela''s. She checked me and informed me that I was three centimeters dilated and that I would probably give birth that same night. Surprised and happy, we went home to prepare.

Finally, the moment had come. Pamela soon arrived, followed by Ina May and Deborah. By this time, my ability to converse had deteriorated. I was just trying to deal with what was happening to my body. Things were happening quickly. I didn''t try to hold any of the contractions back. I just let them come as fast as they wanted to, knowing that would help the birth happen without delay. It all felt very natural. I just "went with it." I went with taking a bath too, which was very helpful and relaxing. Ina May and my mother gave me support in the bathtub. Ina May showed me how to breathe deeply and slowly.

I tried it, and just then one of the strongest contractions yet overwhelmed me. I had to stand up. Some bloody, gray stuff dribbled and plopped into the bathwater. About this time, I started saying, "Oh, God!" I came out of the bathroom and did what I had to do, whether it was squat, bend over, walk around, say, "Oh, my God," or dance like a whooping crane. The contractions were getting very intense. I hardly had time between them to rest.

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
5,318 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

MrsC
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
If you want a very natural, non-medical birth, this is for you, if not keep looking...
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2018
I bought this book because of the astounding amount of good reviews. Let me first say, that I am not against natural births, at home or in a pool, or whatever, if that is what you want, great! I wanted some information to help me have a natural childbirth in a hospital... See more
I bought this book because of the astounding amount of good reviews. Let me first say, that I am not against natural births, at home or in a pool, or whatever, if that is what you want, great! I wanted some information to help me have a natural childbirth in a hospital setting. I have had two children, one that was induced/epidural and one that came naturally without any medications (no meds was more painful, but easier, and is what I want for number three). As I prepare to give birth a third time, I wanted some tips/tools/techniques to help me get through the pain of a natural birth, and was hoping this book would do that. This book is not that. I skipped the entire first half of the book after realizing it is all "positive birth stories" from Ina May''s previous patients. I didn''t need that.
The second half of the book is less about techniques or tools to help you through, and more about Ina May''s personal experiences as a midwife, and different notions about how we think about labor and delivery. Ina May doesn''t like the word contraction. She suggests that the pain of childbirth can be pleasurable. She feels things in her vagina as her patients feel things in theirs...Sorry, but I''m not buying that. There seems to be a lot against your typical hospital delivery, and more about convincing yourself to open up/dilate, not to be afraid, positive self talk, there''s even talk of masturbation during labor, like monkeys or chimpanzees, to help relax, open up and dilate the cervix.
Sooooo, if you are very natural, and very earthy, and want to have a labor that doesn''t feel medical, this book might be right for you. I''m not against that, it''s just not what I want. This book was just a bit too natural for my taste. Sorry Ina May. I do respect the work you do and your opinion, but it just wasn''t the kind of help I was looking for.
527 people found this helpful
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btpayne
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great guide, but be aware of strong bias
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2018
I''m expecting my little girl in about a month and after doing a lot of reading and research have decided to opt for a natural, in-hospital delivery (assuming everything goes more or less according to plan!). I purchased this book after seeing it on basically every must-read... See more
I''m expecting my little girl in about a month and after doing a lot of reading and research have decided to opt for a natural, in-hospital delivery (assuming everything goes more or less according to plan!). I purchased this book after seeing it on basically every must-read list about birth, and for the most part enjoyed it! Some thoughts::

Things I loved
I really loved her empowering stance on labor and delivery. Women, from a young age, are taught (often by other women) to fear childbirth or view it as this necessary evil in order to have a baby. Ina does a great job of encouraging mothers to embrace the wonder of this natural process instead of dreading it for months. She provides great insight into various natural birth techniques, both mental and physical, that will be great to have in my back pocket when the times comes.

What I didn''t love
She is hugely biased. I figured she''d be a little granola, so I wasn''t surprised by a couple jabs here and there at western medicine, physicians and hospitals, but at a certain point it got to be very obvious and honestly frustrating. Based on my experience and what I know from being friends with a lot of people in healthcare, she''s VERY wrong about a lot in terms of delivering in a hospital and the various medical interventions that can happen there. She makes a lot of claims about how a laboring woman will be treated by medical staff or hospital expectations that simply aren''t true.

She portrays physicians as soulless machines who don''t care about their patients and who will do anything just to make their jobs easier. Are there doctors out there like that - yes, unfortunately - but the vast majority? No way. She fails to mention that midwives can also get in over their heads with complicated deliveries and risk the life of the mother and baby when they choose to avoid the aid of an OB. The idea that every midwife if flawless, but every doctor is selfish, becomes a pretty prominent and, honestly, dangerous theme. As someone who is highly influential in her field, she had an opportunity to show how doctors also come alongside and support their patients desires in labor and delivery and how they partner with midwives frequently, but she instead decided to use, ironically, doctor-led studies to make it sound like your chances of having massive complications or your baby dying are much higher in the hospital than at a birthing center because of modern medical practices.

All that to say, I''m having a hard time finishing this book. As someone who is getting ready to deliver in the hospital (and, who knows, might need a CS or some other medical intervention that would ONLY be done when the risks of not doing it are far more dangerous), her claims about western medicine began to unnecessarily scare me. Had she been more accurate and fair in description modern OB practices, then I''d give this book 5 stars. But her claims could easily sway a woman with fewer resources to make potentially dangerous decisions based on one woman''s very biased opinion.

If you do choose to read this book, please be sure to balance its claims out with another perspective. Talk to an OB about the things she says and you''ll come out with a far more balanced and accurate picture of labor and delivery. Even if you are planning an at-home or birth center delivery, it''s best to be prepared in case your delivery does not go as planned and you do need medical intervention because, yes, that does happen. Midwives bring exhausted, medically complicated laboring women to the emergency room more than she lets on, so I''d highly recommend having a truly accurate idea of hospital care and medical interventions just in case your delivery doesn''t go as planned.
204 people found this helpful
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Amber Steele
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very outdated and needlessly fear inducing
Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2018
I bought this book based on the glowing reviews. As a first time mom-to-be I was excited to learn all I could. While I knew I would be having a hospital birth I thought I could still learn a lot. Instead, this book absolutely terrified me for what was to come. I... See more
I bought this book based on the glowing reviews. As a first time mom-to-be I was excited to learn all I could. While I knew I would be having a hospital birth I thought I could still learn a lot. Instead, this book absolutely terrified me for what was to come. I "learned" that hospitals give you episotomies, mandatory IVs and monitors which leave you immobile, enemas, shave you, don''t let you eat or drink anything, and push everyone toward epidurals and c-sections. I was so scared for my baby''s birth day, because I didn''t want ANY of that! And then I took a class run by the hospital and learned that while this may have been true in the 70''s and 80''s, they DON''T do ANY of these things anymore. The hospital also supports delayed cord clamping for the baby (this is the norm now, not something you even have to ask for), immediate skin to skin contact, delayed bathing (unless you ASK for your baby to be washed right away), breastfeeding, and rooming in with the baby is the norm- my hospital doesn''t even HAVE a nursery. They have birthing balls, peanut balls, squat bars, water birth tubs, and even twinkle (Christmas) lights if you ask. They happily work with doulas and midwives. I spent a whole month needlessly terrified for what was to come thanks to this stupid book, thinking all these things were only available on some farm community I could never attend, and instead I was going to be almost tortured in a hospital. If you want to be hopelessly misinformed then this is the book for you. Otherwise, don''t read it.
130 people found this helpful
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Heather
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great information about how the body functions during birth, the birth stories are great but a few are very "Earthy"
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018
I loved this book! As a first time mom nervous about childbirth this book gave me so much confidence in my body to do its job. The book is set up in 2 parts: part 1 is just birth stories, part 2 is medical information about birth. The birth stories were wonderful to read.... See more
I loved this book! As a first time mom nervous about childbirth this book gave me so much confidence in my body to do its job. The book is set up in 2 parts: part 1 is just birth stories, part 2 is medical information about birth. The birth stories were wonderful to read. Yes, a few were very "New-Agey" and kind of "hippie" like but just hearing about different women who successfully gave birth was very helpful to combat all the people telling me to just "Get an epidural as soon as you can." and all the horror stories people somehow think are acceptable to tell to a pregnant woman. Not all of the stories are for everyone, but that''s okay. Even if you just want to hear some positive birth stories, you will enjoy them. There''s a snarky comment about the experience of one woman who went to assist in another''s birth and I think it''s inappropriate. The women at The Farm (the community that Ina May established for those who wish to pursue natural birth) see the value in helping other women through birth and we as a Western society forget that this used to be the only way women had any assistance during birth before hospitals and OBGYN''s. I think it''s a beautiful example of how this community functions. You don''t have to agree with it, just move on to the next story if it isn''t your cup of tea.

The medical information in the second half has helped my confidence immensely in choosing to have a "natural" hospital birth. Keep in mind this is coming from the point of view of a midwife, not a doctor, so it''s not going to have the same voice as those in a medical profession. Ina May goes through how the body responds to labor and possible interventions you may see in the hospital. Although she is clearly for having as natural a birth as possible, she definitely gives what I think of as an unbiased view on these things as she can. She defines the interventions for you and tells you possible side effects. She says which ones you can definitely refuse without endangering yourself or your baby if you choose to, but as I read through this I never felt like I would be considered less of a mother if I chose any one of these things. Though she is clearly trying to show you the benefits of using a midwife vs. traditional doctors, she makes intelligent points and is clearly just trying to inform her readers. She also has many many references and resources to back up her claims and the statistics of the midwives she showcases speak for themselves.

I think this is a great book for anyone trying to learn more about the childbirthing process, anyone who is nervous or doubting their ability to do it, or anyone who just wants to know their options in care. I have recommended it to several people and am loaning it to my cousin who is due in March.
86 people found this helpful
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Geoffrey A. Fricker & Haylea Drysdale
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shocked at all the praise!
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2019
I really did not enjoy this book, which is incredibly surprising to me given how many women recommend it. The book starts out by suggesting that it is applicable for all women regardless of your birth plan. That really couldn''t be further from the truth. I found the book to... See more
I really did not enjoy this book, which is incredibly surprising to me given how many women recommend it. The book starts out by suggesting that it is applicable for all women regardless of your birth plan. That really couldn''t be further from the truth. I found the book to be judgmental and overtly critical of physicians and nurses in a hospital setting. It does not even remotely cover potential risks with home births (of which there are a few!) The book also focuses solely on the experiences of births at "The Farm" which is unlike what the majority of women can or will experience. The first half of the book consists of positive birth stories which is nice, but it''s very redundant. The important material to me is glossed over in the end. I just have to say though, no matter your birth plan, I don''t recommend this book. I think it creates a divide among women and makes gross generalizations about the health care system.
41 people found this helpful
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Slava
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The ONE book I read during my pregnancy
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2017
As someone who reads tons of material on just about any subject, I actually made a decision to stay less informed about my pregnancy and birth. May sound crazy to most but I do believe that our bodies know exactly what to do and it is better to approach pregnancy and birth... See more
As someone who reads tons of material on just about any subject, I actually made a decision to stay less informed about my pregnancy and birth. May sound crazy to most but I do believe that our bodies know exactly what to do and it is better to approach pregnancy and birth with intuition rather than with one''s brain. We live in a society where we cannot escape information any way, so I am constantly getting inundated with preggo and birth. Plus I have a midwife who makes sure I know what I need to know at each check up.
So I decided to read just ONE book and I chose this one. It was such a good decision – with each story that Ina May shares, I become less scared and more excited about birth. I felt like I learned all I needed to know and to feel empowered about my choices.
Highly Highly recommend it for any expectant mama and her partner.
40 people found this helpful
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Hannah
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absolutely recommend!
Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2018
I haven''t finished reading yet, I read some of the birth stories in the beginning and am maybe halfway through the practical advice at the end. You have to take the birth stories with a grain if salt because a lot of them happened in the 70s on the hippie compound that The... See more
I haven''t finished reading yet, I read some of the birth stories in the beginning and am maybe halfway through the practical advice at the end. You have to take the birth stories with a grain if salt because a lot of them happened in the 70s on the hippie compound that The Farm Midwives later came out of. I admit some of them were a little too... "different" for me. Depends on your views I guess. But there is something powerful about reading story after story about how women gave birth as something that they did rather than something that happened to them. I''m not sold on orgasmic birth or some of the other things discussed, but that was just a small portion of the book. If you''re like me and that isn''t really for you, my advice is to still read the practical advice (the second half of the book). Ina May has this amazing way of bridging gaps from centuries of medical knowledge with today''s knowledge and conveying it in such a graceful and easy to understand way that isn''t pushy in any way. It''s your body, your baby, and your birth and you need to make choices about your care and birth for yourself. That being said, I don''t know how you could read this book, be low-risk, and still go forward with a typical American pregnancy and birth (there are always exceptions of course). I would love to be able to be seen by The Farm Midwives. The powerful knowledge and compassion comes through the pages of the book. This book, in addition to scholarly research I''ve done for an essay I''ve written for a college class, and watching The Business of Being Born documentary has completely changed how I view birth. I absolutely love Ina May! I have recommended this book to family and friends and will continue to do so. Knowledge is power!
18 people found this helpful
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Em Jay
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Blatant Bias.
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2020
I’ve never read such a biased book in my entire life. Basically it paints the picture of hospital births as torture chamber prisons for women and that you cannot have a good birth experience there and are probably less of a woman if you do. She talks about masturbating and... See more
I’ve never read such a biased book in my entire life. Basically it paints the picture of hospital births as torture chamber prisons for women and that you cannot have a good birth experience there and are probably less of a woman if you do. She talks about masturbating and sucking on nipples during labor. Maybe I’m not crunchy enough, but I was totally put off by the entire book. It says birth without fear, but basically would have many women terrified of birthing in a hospital. I am happy to report that I’ve delivered four babies, some unmedicated, in hospitals. I’ve had wonderful experiences with wonderful, accommodating staff, where we had access to emergency care should the need have popped up.
9 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

KJ
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Helpful but a bit biased and kind of dated
Reviewed in Canada on December 23, 2019
I bought this book looking for a different perspective than the ones in the books I have that were written by MD''s. I am also considering a natural birth and wanted to educate myself about some techniques I could use to accomplish that goal. The TLDR version is yes I...See more
I bought this book looking for a different perspective than the ones in the books I have that were written by MD''s. I am also considering a natural birth and wanted to educate myself about some techniques I could use to accomplish that goal. The TLDR version is yes I recommend this book but its not always impartial and reflects the times of its original writing so take it with a grain of salt. Also keep in mind that like most pregnancy & childbirth books out there this is HEAVILY influenced by the disaster that is the US medical system. Part I: The first half of the book is birth stories, most of them seemed to date from the 70''s and were well...kinda hippy-ish. I got so annoyed with them and the tree-hugger vibes that I ended up only reading about half the stories then skipping to the second part. I also did NOT find all of the birth stories to be positive, there''s one in particular about a hospital birth (because of course) where the woman experienced a serious and life threatening complication they linked to the use of an IV and as a result her baby later passed away. I found it really upsetting and not all helpful to read that particular story. I had to put the book down and come back to it later. Part 2: This is where the book actually became more helpful. The author shares her experience and opinion as a midwife but also backs most of it up with references to scientific research studies, statistics and facts. I liked the step back from the medical lens of some of my other books and feel informed and empowered to make decisions and challenge my OB or medical team if necessary. This book help me come up with a number of questions to ask my OB at my next appointment to suss out his personal policies and those of the hospital where I am delivering.
15 people found this helpful
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daniela
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Indispensable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2020
Absolutely indispensable for any woman searching for a natural birth. I just gave birth to my second child this week at home totally unmedicated and in complete confidence and control and throughout the birth the words of Ina May carried me on. Eternally grateful for her...See more
Absolutely indispensable for any woman searching for a natural birth. I just gave birth to my second child this week at home totally unmedicated and in complete confidence and control and throughout the birth the words of Ina May carried me on. Eternally grateful for her teachings.
3 people found this helpful
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Ilze
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very knowledgeable book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2020
Best book I could ever read.. definitely helped me to know what to expect and how the body works in labor.. really good book to read before the labor..
One person found this helpful
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MELANIE J HUGHES
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Believe in your body to birth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 29, 2014
A fantastic book by a fantastic midwife a book that helped me take control of my babies birth and helped me plan a vba4c at home my son was 2lb heavier than my previous 4 c section babies that were induced and failed to progress when the scan woman kept changing my dates,...See more
A fantastic book by a fantastic midwife a book that helped me take control of my babies birth and helped me plan a vba4c at home my son was 2lb heavier than my previous 4 c section babies that were induced and failed to progress when the scan woman kept changing my dates, my cycles are long 32 days and I ovulate late 24 I knew there must be a valid reason why I cooked my babies longer, my son was born at 42 weeks and 3 days spontaneous labour and 6 hrs later he was born at home contractions from start to finish one on top of the other, a perfect textbook homebirth with a fantastic nhs midwife , I''ve since had 2 more vbacs at home making a total of 3 vaginal births no problems after 4 c sections at home
4 people found this helpful
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kat
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wise and helpful words
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 19, 2013
This book really was a God send for me and helped me to get in the right mindset for what I hoped to be a natural birth- and I was fortunate enough that things transpired that way for me. The book gave practical tips as well as helping me to understand the history and...See more
This book really was a God send for me and helped me to get in the right mindset for what I hoped to be a natural birth- and I was fortunate enough that things transpired that way for me. The book gave practical tips as well as helping me to understand the history and context of child birth. Thank you Ina May.
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