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Gentle Birth Choices Paperback – Aug 9 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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  • Gentle Birth Choices
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  • Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally
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  • The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press; New Edition of Gentle Birth Choices Boxed Set edition (Aug. 9 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594770670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594770678
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Nurse, midwife, and founder of the Global Maternal/Child Health Association (GMCHA), Harper offers her addition to the growing number of alternative childbirth books (e.g., Catherine M. Pool & Elizabeth A. Parr, Choosing a Nurse-Midwife, LJ 5/1/94). Considering GMCHA's focus on water birth, it is not surprising that the major strength of Gentle Birth Choices is its thorough coverage of this birthing technique as an option. Unlike many other alternative birth guides, Harper's book is well documented, citing many well-recognized medical journals. A special plus is one of the appendixes, "Procedures and Protocols for Hydrotherapy for Labor and Birth," and the book also contains a large section of resources. Much of the information not specific to water birth can be found in other works. A nice addition to larger women's health collections but otherwise optional.
KellyJo Houtz Griffin, Harrison Memorial Hosp., Bremerton, Wash.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Believe it or not, birth resulting from a normal pregnancy needn't take place in a hospital. Harper explains why birthing centers and home births, along with other "gentle birth choices," are beneficial to both mother and baby. With a foreword by Robbie Davis Floyd, who wrote Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992), Gentle Birth Choices also features a history of how childbirth came to be so technological and blasts myths such as why fetal monitors save babies (they don't, very often). Harper also discusses giving birth in water and explores the connection of mind and body during labor and birth. She stresses the importance of midwives for a more natural and satisfying experience. Well illustrated with photos by acclaimed birth photographer Suzanne Arms and containing a first-rate resource section, Gentle Birth Choices provides an excellent alternative to mainstream birth books. Jo Peer-Haas --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have always been really scared of the birthing process. After reading this book, I felt much more empowered and confident about the whole process. Now I am really looking forward to it and feel like I understand so much more about how our bodies naturally can help us through birthing. This book sparked my interest and now I have learned a lot more about natural, drug-free birthing options. I am excited instead of scared. As with anything, we still need to make our own personal decisions about how we want to do things, but I really feel like reading this book opened me up to many options that I wasn't aware of or hadn't considered. It amazes me how many people go through being pregnant and birthing with a very limited view of how it "should be done". When I was reading the book, there were so many times where I thought, "yeah, that makes a lot of sense", even though I had never thought about it myself.
I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. The pictures are gorgeous, as usual Suzanne Arms has done terrific photography, and the descriptions of childbirth are pretty acurate. I must state though that every woman's experience of childbirth will be her own and be different so just because someone's childbirth was one way as described in this book it does not mean it will happen the same way for you. Technocratic birth is still the norm throughout the country and it is important to read books like this to prepare yourself should you be considering a hospital birth. The writer has obviously had a bad experience in the hospital, but many people have and I admire her wanting to share her experience as a warning to others. In my last hospital birth in 1999 I too was subjected to many of the interventions I did not want, for the third and final time I gave birth in the hospital. Never again. I wish I had read this back in 1995 before I had my first son and maybe things would have been different. Hospitals are for sick people, not pregnant women who are low risk. Also, someone else who reviewed here made some mention of a baby having an umbilical cord wrapped around its neck as a reason for c-sec, but that is not necessarily true. It is a small matter to unwrap a cord from around an infants neck as it is being born...I know as this happened with my son at his birth at home this past spring. If I had been in the hospital...would they have cut me open? Who knows?
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Format: Paperback
As a doula, I have not only watched and enjoyed this video, but also shared it with many of my clients. It gives a wonderful view of several different types of births, helping the future parent make educated decisions about the type of birth they want. It also is very realistic in terms of what to expect during labor. I look forward to reading the book after enjoying the video for so long!
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Format: Paperback
I would like to say that first of all, I agree with the previous reader from Austin (who rated this book a 1 out of 5 stars) only in that the author definitely has a strong bias against the medical establishment. The bias is so severe it does at times appear as a chip on her shoulder and she is so against modern medicine that she argues against any involvement with doctors at all. And I also agree that her choice of pictures/illustrations do seem overly dated given the publication date. (I actually had no idea that it was published as recently as 1994. I definitely perceived a 1970s feel.)
Given that, I would still say that the basic points of her information are worth considering. A natural birth is natural. In the normal situation of birth, the body is able to handle the huge amounts of stress that it experiences. And a woman's mind CAN be capable of cooperating with the body. The author also gives anecdotal evidence that the mind is also capable of working against the body. Basically, a natural birth is a whole experience and all components of the woman must work together to get the most out of such a tremendous experience. Her body, mind, emotions, and social support system must work in agreement and any conflict may cause problems or delays.
I read this book earlier this year after resolving to start a family. I read it a full 9 months before I actually became pregnant. At first, I was very convinced that natural birth is the only way. But after 9 months of contemplation, I now believe natural birth is the best way, but not the only way. Perfectly normal and happy families are created through less natural processes. And I still have another 8 months to dwell on my own choice for the birth of my first child.
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Format: Paperback
This is absolutely a lovely book. When I first became pregnant, I assumed that when it came time to birth to my baby, I would check into a hospital, get my epidural, and have my baby. However, as the months past and I began to appreciate the tiny individual inside me, I started to get curious about the entire process of child-bearing and birth. This particular book is slightly biased against American Obstetrics, but with good reason. I would advise all pregnant women to read this book, whether this is your 1st pregnancy or your 5th: but do read it with a grain of salt. Our medical establishment, for the most part, is interested in what's best for us and our babies. But this book can help those of us who haven't experienced birth, or had an unsatisfying birth experience previously, to educate ourselves on the birth process in order to make informed, sound decisions about what birthing method is best for us and our babies. I strongly recommend purchasing this book with the accompanying video-the video is excellent: informative and high-quality. It shows several different women actually birthing their babies. The way those babies (free from the sedative effects of narcotic or epidural anesthesia) respond to their parents and the others around them immediately after birth will awe you!
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