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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: Updated With New Material Paperback – Mar 4 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (March 4 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381153
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By catfish friend on July 4 2006
Format: Paperback
Like many first-time expectant moms, I devoured MULTIPLE books on pregnancy and birth before I started Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, but I WISH I HAD READ THIS ONE ***FIRST!!!*** I started with the ubiquitous book that tells you "what to expect", but what I wanted was a book that would TEACH me, not TELL me how I could go about my pregnancy and birth in a way that was educated, informed, self-directed and naturally beautiful! Out of the wealthiest industrialized nations that has one of the worst perinatal mortality rates, Ina May of the US rises like a phoenix, a beacon of hope and light to share with women who want to affirm their bodies' innate ancient wisdom how to give birth powerfully. Filled with first-hand accounts of births, the wealth of her own experience as a midwife (her group was involved in catching some 3000 births with only a 1.4% c-section rate!) and research and citations from current medical journals and reviews, this book is a MUST-READ if you want to take charge of your body, your baby's birth and ask the right questions of your birth care provider! I started my pregnancy convinced that I would only birth in a hospital, but as I began to educate myself, I found that as a low-risk pregnancy, a home birth was truly what I wanted and that it would be the safest place for me to birth my baby. I believe each woman should be able to choose what she wants, and if you want an epidural in a hospital, more power to you, but do yourself and your baby a favor and educate yourself -- learn what an epidural is, what potential complications can occur, how medical technology as intervention in an age-old natural birth process can lead to more interventions that may not be what you bargained for...and also learn how beautiful birth can be, how there is no need for fear of it!Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Krystal P on Jan. 23 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best that I have read. The first half of the book is filled with empowering birth stories, and the last half with some excellent advice and information about the childbirth process.
This book tells you everything you need to know to maximize your chances of having a natural childbirth, from the best positions to labor in to what sounds you should make to help labor progress.
It also gives you unbiased information on the risks and benefits of interventions such as epidurals, episiotomies, and c-sections.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is a must read for all pregnant women who want to acheive a natural childbirth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Freedle on Feb. 6 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was very calming. I especially enjoyed the birth story section, which was the second half of the book. There were so many different ways that labour progressed that I felt mine was normal, too, even though it didn't follow what most childbirth manuals say. (had painful cramps every 15 minutes for 2 days before the real thing kicked in... hadn't read about THAT anywhere else)

I reread it before my second child was born. A very soothing way to build confidence that yes, my body can do this! (and even when a birth results in c-section or less invasive procedures, the way it is framed in this book still is a triumph of the woman's body)

I definitely appreciated and used the delightfully named 'law of sphincters' to ease both kids into the world with minimal damage to me.

Fair warning, this book has been described (by me, while lending it to all my pregnant friends) as "hippie-dippy", but if all the crunchy lingo doesn't bother you, it is a wonderful read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28 2004
Format: Paperback
Since I became pregnant I have been a book hound and I've read several different titles (especially books on Natural Birth). I have found Ina May's book to be the most honest and inspiring! She is not afraid to offend and really tells it like it is! I reference it often and I feel lucky to have read this before labor and delivery. I am very satisfied with this book!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By scientific mom on Sept. 2 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I've read a lot of the "bestselling" pregnancy and labor books on the market (i.e. "What to Expect", the Dr. Sears books, etc) but this one blew the rest out of the water when it comes to labor and delivery! Ina May's book explains the importance of psychological readiness for labor and delivery, as well as awesome techniques to overcome the "obstacles" of labor naturally. The first half of the book consists of very inspirational natural birth stories which made me feel prepared and even EXCITED about natural childbirth before I even read the second half of the book.
After reading this book, I decided to switch from using my OBGYN to a midwife instead. My OBGYN is supportive of my decision to try a "natural" childbirth, but her definition of the concept doesn't go beyond "patient doesn't want an epidural". She is totally untrained and unprepared to help me naturally deal with stalled labor, avoiding an episiotomy, delivering a "stuck" baby, etc. I know she would give me drugs or wheel me in for a C-section long before a midwife despite her "supportiveness".
You CAN try the ideas in Ina May's book on your own during labor, without the doctor knowing a thing about natural childbirth, as long as the OB isn't going to argue with what you want to try in the middle of delivery! For example, if baby's shoulders are stuck, most OB's will want to do an immediate C-section; Ina May's book tells you that if you simply turn over on your hands and knees, the baby will most likely slide right out!
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