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Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices Paperback – Dec 2 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Celestial Arts; 1 edition (Dec 2 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587613220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587613227
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Wendy Caldwell on Nov. 23 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book to be a bit of a hard read. Sort of textbook like. I found all the references to studies and statistics a little distracting. That said there is a lot of great information in the book about hospital births and procedures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Megan on Jan. 15 2011
Format: Paperback
For those mothers-to-be that are looking for some evidence based, current, unbiased literature to help them decide or offer support regarding hard decisions about (what will be) the most important event in your life to date. TOO often people go forth with child birth assuming that your body will be able to do it without preparation and that the standards implemented in hospitals are the best for baby and mom. When in reality these practices are often outdated, misguided and have the interest of the doctors/hospitals/healthcare business in mind rather than mom, baby and their relationship.
Dr Buckley (MD) provides detailed information in a well laid out manner that examines pros, cons and alternatives to popular topics such as home births vs birthing centre vs hospitals, epidurals, pain medications during labour, monitoring practices, vitamin K injections, cesareans, breastfeeding, co-sleeping etc.
Some of the information can be a "heavy read" but even a lay person can tease themselves thru the information at hand and take from it what they will. She also includes her own personal experiences which to me gave the remaining scientific content an even greater meaning as she is obviously a very caring mother and doctor who can speak/write from a great deal of clinical and personal experience.
It was very useful to my family during my pregnancy and i will highly recommend it to my friends, family and patients going forward.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 27 reviews
135 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Just a Little Too "Out There" for Most Readers Jan. 7 2009
By Mama Bee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start out by saying that I really appreciate Sarah Buckley and the work she's done. I have read some of her articles in various places and was SUPER excited to get this book.

Also, I am a proponent of natural birth and mothering. I have given birth at home (on purpose!), am tandem nursing my infant and toddler, practice sleep sharing via Family Bed, etc., so I was definitely coming to this book with an open, even eager, mind.

That being said, by the time I had read through the author's 4 birth stories, the story of her son's placenta and the narrative of her breastfeeding experiences (all of which are included scattered throughout the book, highlighted in gray), I knew this wasn't the book I was hoping for.

While much of the information Sarah shares in this book is well-researched, informative, and enlightening, there is too much sort of mystical, magical, spiritualism present, as well as an advocacy of practices that are so unconventional as to be considered "fringe", for it to be an all-purpose guide to natural birth and mothering.

I think most readers looking for a basic guide to natural childbirth will be turned off by some a the more bizarre, New-Agey stuff in this book, and might therefor conclude that something like natural birth or homebirth is only for a "certain type" of person, one who draws large pastel mandalas in preparation for birth and during pregnancy uses "Brazilian rhythms and hip swirls to spiral [an] ambivalent baby deeper into [one's] pelvis."

While I respect Ms. Buckley's decisions regarding her own births, I can't help but feel that someone reading about her decision to give birth without outside assistance and to forgo any prenatal medical care, including blood pressure tests, might not feel too confident about the advice given in this book. Maybe I'm just not "there" yet, but I can't quite head into pregnancy and birth "[trusting] my body and my baby to tell me, through feelings, dreams, and impulses, what was needed." (Of course, it helps that both the author and her husband are M.D.'s, which made the footling breech birth of their baby with a non-pulsating cord somewhat less dangerous.)

I appreciated Sarah's description of all the wonderful things her son's placenta did for him while he was in utero. However, keeping the placenta attached to the baby after birth (tucked into a velvet bag and taken out regularly to be dried and salted) until it fell off naturally (so-called "lotus birth") is, well... gross.

All in all, there are some great parts to this book - I especially love the chapter on "Love, Attachment and Your Baby's Brain" and on safe sleep-sharing. And while a certain select population of pregnant women and mothers will find everything in this book to be up their alley, I can't help but think that most will find it too "out there" to be helpful. I certainly can't see myself loaning it out to pregnant friends the way I have with Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth." I would say try that one instead, or even the Sear's "Birth Book."
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Childbirth Book Jan. 24 2009
By BNA - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It is my favorite childbirth book for many reasons. I love the fact that it is a collection of articles which makes it super easy to read. Dr. Buckley's wisdom is priceless. I am a childbirth educator and doula and I recommend this book to all of my students and clients. In my opinion there is no better childbirth book! She opens you to a new way of thinking. I know I began to question things that are considered standard in maternity care and made different choices than I would have without the knowledge gained through her book. Her insight into the hormones in labor and breastfeeding is profound! I use her book when I teach my classes and draw on it for doula clients as well as my own pregnancies. It goes beyond childbirth into breastfeeding and parenting as well. You learn on many different levels. Thank you Dr. Buckley a hundred times over for finally getting this amazing book published in the USA so more women can benefit from the wisdom it contains!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Authoritative, truthful, compassionate Oct. 7 2009
By Robin Grille, psychologist, author - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love Sarah Buckley's book! It accomplishes a rare feat: combining a compassionate voice with the weighty authority that a practising doctor and meticulous researcher can bring to her subject. Sarah's book is a treasure-trove. For anyone who cares about the critical formative period of child development from conception to early childhood, it delves beyond the sentimental to provide a formidable data-base, as practical as it is touching and inspiring.

As a father I found Sarah's book brilliant and a pleasure to read.
As a psychologist in private practice, parent-educator and author, her book has been one of my most valued and oft-quoted resources.

I doubt that anyone who reads Sarah's book could ever again choose a hospital birth with obstetric intervention (unless there are clear medical complications). Reading left me feeling angry that the many psychological and medical risks presented by today's obstetric excesses have been so heavily downplayed by the industry. Why weren't we told? On the other hand, Sarah has presented clear neurological and endocrinological evidence of the blissful beginnings that natural and gentle birth, and gentle parenting, can bring about. Her book paves the way to a far more loving world.

The great gift of Buckley's book is that she relieves parents of a century of needless and baseless iatrogenic fears: fear of pregnancy, fear of birth, fear of babies, fear of the body. The reward is a font of natural, undisturbed hormonal bliss; for mothers, newborns, and even for fathers. Buckely's extraordinary book midwives the birth of a new, healthier, and more loving culture.

Robin Grille, psychologist, author
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
heart and head March 4 2009
By Unmani - Published on
Format: Paperback


I need to declare a bias in reviewing this book.

I am a grandmother of 3 little boys whose mothers have felt reassured and validated by reading and rereading `Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering' .
And I am a co-journeyer with Sarah Buckley in the Melbourne based `Women's Mysteries Advanced Circle' led by Shivam Rachana..

As I opened the covers of this book and moved from the foreword and introduction to the initial pages, I was inexorably drawn to skip to the moving stories of Sarah's birthings of Emma, Zoe, Jacob and Maia, to her piece on breastfeeding `The Gift of a Lifetime', to her celebration of the intelligence of Jacob's placenta and her other gentle family practices. Then my brain wanted to know more about the science behind the `overdue baby', `Gestational Diabetes', and the practice of ultrasound etc. And then more finding out about the `nocebo' effect (constantly reminding the pregnant woman about potential problems and the stress that this places on a pregnancy). And after that I flipped to the exhaustive 41 pages of notes, book references and studies which back up the scientific aspect of the book. And then to Ch 6- the groundbreaking work on the `ecstatic birthing hormones '.(To my knowledge Sarah is unique in gathering for the scientific world an understanding of this `hormonal orchestration of the birth process').
The gift of this book is exactly as has been so often said - a marriage of the deeply authentic and personal with the best of our scientific heritage - the data, the tests, the studies.

The brain and the heart dancing together.

I reflect, as someone who did the best I knew how with my own births in the 70's - a book like this would have been gold. I would have devoured it. I would have found it readable, thought-provoking, gentle and poetic.
I would have felt looked after emotionally, and as a thinking person.
And I would feel stronger in listening to the ancient echoes of my own mammalian instincts.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One of the best pregnancy/childbirth books Jan. 26 2009
By Brenda Stone - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have loaned this book to many people with different backgrounds and beliefs - doctors, account executives, homesteaders, home birthers, hospital birthers - and all have thoroughly enjoyed the book and found something helpful and useful. For me personally, this is a valuable resource because it does give a different and totally valid viewpoint than the standard American medicalized pregnancy/birth.

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