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An Easier Childbirth: A Mother's Guide to Birthing Normally Paperback – August 13, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0962523144 ISBN-10: 0962523143 Edition: 2nd

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An Easier Childbirth: A Mother's Guide to Birthing Normally + The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) + Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide
Price for all three: $44.79

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow & Light; 2 edition (August 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962523143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962523144
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An Easier Childbirth should be read by every expectant parent. Peterson's workbook focuses on the personal reality of the pregnant couple, offering valuable approaches to explore and resolve emotional issues prior to birth. This extremely important process, which is overlooked in most childbirth books, is the essence of preparation." -- Elizabeth Noble, author of Childbirth with Insight and Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year

"This program starts where traditional education ends. Here is a truly personal preparation for childbirth, reaching emotional and unconscious depths." -- David Chamberlain, Ph.D., President of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and author of Babies Remember Birth

Years from now when we look back on the childbirth reform movement, Gayle Peterson will be called a pioneer. Peterson, the author of "Birthing Normally", was among the first to show the connections between a woman's beliefs and approach to childbirth. An Easier Childbirth is an informative and extremely practical guide that makes childbirth a rewarding experience. The tools provided in An Easier Childbirth simplify this process. Peterson describes techniques for coping with pain, including relaxation and visualization. She explains the importance of having realistic expectations and discusses how mother, baby, and family can bond together following the birth. The book also includes invaluable material on physical exercises, the natural flow of labor, and ideas for transforming fear. I this book to every pregnant woman with whom I consult. An Easier Childbirth may be Peterson's most important work yet, since its workbook format makes the woman's preparation for birth such a personal experience. -----Peggy O'Mara -- Mothering Magazine

From the Inside Flap

Integrating your emotional and physical needs helps you prepare for childbirth and a new family constellation. This book represents a continuation of my efforts to make childbirth an empowering and positive experience for women everywhere. Giving birth is the beginning of your relationship with your child. It is also an opportunity for personal growth. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

Over the past seventeen years I have developed a method of childbirth preparation which synthesizes the research on the effects of emotions on labor with the practical experience I have gained from working with pregnant women and their families. Giving birth is an experience you carry into your first days of motherhood as well as the rest of your life. It is an important event in a woman's life and has long reaching effects on your self esteem and confidence.

This workbook is based on the method I use in my own practice. It augments your emotional and psychological preparation for labor. It helps you explore your personal history, your feelings and your anxieties about childbirth. It also equips you with skills that help maximize the potential for normal delivery. In this workbook you will learn how to confront your fears, heal your past, and prepare yourself for the best labor possible. You will learn to:

* resolve emotional concerns related to giving birth and becoming a mother. You will be able to identify childhood feelings about your parents that will help you to understand your own experience of giving birth and becoming a mother. The birth inventory in chapter one and the exercises in chapter two will help you confront fears and identify your feelings, helping you achieve the self-knowledge so important to a calm and confident approach to labor.

* overcome fear related to your own birth or your previous childbirth experiences. Through the visualization exercises and journal writing in chapters three and four you can begin to heal past birth and childbirth experiences which adversely affect your attitude and expectations for your upcoming delivery. Chapter four will also help you address cultural influences which negatively affect your experience of childbirth.

* realistically prepare you for labor. The exercises in chapter five will prepare you to handle the different stages of labor. You will learn to let your body lead you into labor and to keep your mind from getting in the way with non productive anticipation. You will also learn how to develop attitudes and beliefs conducive to normal delivery. In chapter six you will learn to identify your natural coping style and learn new techniques for coping with pain.

* develop confidence in your ability to give birth and mother your child. In chapter seven you will be guided through a relaxation and birth visualization that addresses your unique concerns and situation, with suggestions for creating imagery and messages that will strengthen your resources for handling labor. Birth visualization will also help you bond with your baby before he or she is born.

You will also learn how to:

* maximize bonding with your new baby immediately after birth.

* establish patterns for healthy family bonding. Information in chapter eight will support you in bonding with your new baby after delivery. Chapter nine gives practical knowledge about becoming a family. It has exercises for nurturing yourself, your relationship with your partner and establishing healthy family patterns for the year following the birth of your child. WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Many of the exercises in this workbook are meant to be shared with a partner or another supportive person. Sometimes you will merely want to share your feelings. At other times you may find it useful or necessary to ask your partner to assist you. Include your partner in as many ways as possible and adjust the exercises to your current family and support network, including as many people as you wish. In this way your husband will also be growing into his role as father.

You will also need a pen or pencil for writing, a tape recorder for recording visualization sequences if you wish, and 2 blank sixty minute audio cassettes to be used for exercises and the birth visualization in chapter six. Comfortable clothing in which you can relax and lie down is also recommended.

The best place to use the workbook is one in which you feel safe and free of inhibitions. It is also optimal if the setting you choose feels nurturing to you in some way, and is relatively quiet and conducive to relaxation and closing your eyes as needed. You should also arrange not to be interrupted during the exercises so that you can fully absorb what this workbook has to offer. Your environment should provide you with enough privacy for you or your partner to talk about personal and intimate feelings as they come up.

The information and guided exercises in this workbook can enhance your basic prenatal care by addressing your personal fears and anxieties. After you have done these guided exercises you are more likely to experience a smooth labor. And if medical intervention is needed during labor, you will be better prepared to cope with and adapt to the situation at hand. The capacity to manage anxiety in a stressful situation can greatly contribute to your own health and the health of your baby.

In working through this book, you also provide yourself with an opportunity to strengthen your internal resources. The birth of a baby is the birth of your own motherhood. The baby now inside your womb will soon be cradled in your arms!

More About the Author

Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is an international expert specializing in prenatal and family development. She is the founder of:, an online resource that has won acclaim from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy for guidance about what contributes to healthy family relationships. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering, Fit Pregnancy and Parenting. She is also the author of "An Easier Childbirth: A Guide to Birthing Normally"" and "Making Healthy Families: A Guide for Parents, Spouses and Stepparents".

Dr Peterson trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model, available online at and has produced a CD for helping women prepare for giving birth, "Body-Centered Hypnosis for an Easier Pregnancy and Childbirth", and a Training DVD for professionals in her method, "Body-Centered Hypnosis for Childbirth: A Training DVD".

She is a clinical member of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Diplomate with the National Association of Social Work. She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy magazine.

Gayle has written a monthly family column for the San Francisco Bay Area's Parents Press and is an expert on numerous parenting websites. She has also hosted a live Internet radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle", answering questions on family relationships and parenting, as well as appearing on numerous radio and television interviews, including The Today Show and the Canadian Broadcast documentary "Baby's Best Chance". Dr. Peterson is also a former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University and has served as adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Gayle currently lives with her husband in the California Sierra Foothills and enjoys playing music, writing, attending yoga classes and being a grandparent. She and her husband are parents of two adult children and proud grandparents to three lively boys, and one sparkly granddaughter!

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
by Andrea Eastman
I remember feeling like such a failure after the birth of my first daughter because I was unable to lie still and relax while I was in pain during contractions. All of the videos and pictures in books in my Bradley Method classes showed the laboring women lying there peacefully on their sides. Well, not me!
Later on, I realized that the Bradley Method failed me -- I did not fail. As I was doing my own research to prepare for the birth of my second daughter, I came across a book called An Easier Childbirth by Gayle Peterson. What a revelation! Peterson discusses the fact that we all deal with pain in different ways -- auditory, kinesthetic, visual -- and gives exercises to help women determine and then use their own coping styles.
How do you deal with pain? I remember one time I was walking in a darkened room and kicked the end of a rocker with the top of my foot. Right away, I grabbed my foot, started hopping up and down, cursing under my breath while grinding my teeth. After a bit, I realized that it was a good time to practice my relaxation skills, and so I flopped on the floor, let out a deep breath, and relaxed.
But my first instinct was to use movement & sound to deal with my pain!
Peterson writes in her book, "When we can identify our primary channel for receiving information, we can enhance our natural coping style for dealing with pain in labor. Some women suppress their natural style because they have been taught relaxation and breathing techniques that do not take into account their unique way of processing the labor experience."
Women have many different ways of dealing with pain during labor. When left to uninhibited expression, a large percentage will moan or make some use of sound during labor.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wonderful addition to the expectant mom's library. Contains exercises you can do to mentally prepare for pregnancy, birthing and mothering. Empowers women to believe (to know and to trust) that they can birth babies normally, that birth is beautiful and something to be proud of.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amy Stone on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
In addition to physical preparation and excercises to preparefor childbirth, this book addresses the emotional and mental aspectsthat can either contribute to or impede the positive experience of giving birth. Much of the book is focused on exploring and resolving fear, grief, and expectations that may interfere with a healthy birthing scenario.
Janet Balaskas writes, "If you have many painful feelings to work through, you may fear that doing so in pregnancy may harm your baby. Since these feelings exist inside you anyway, it will be an advantage to release them and clear the way for enjoyable motherhood...When you give birth you will find it easier to let go if you are not attempting to control or suppress your feelings." (Natural Pregnancy)
The chapter which deals with our own memories of being born is a bit overstated, IMO, but does not diminish the exceptional quality of this resource. Every expectant mother (with any birthing history) could benefit from this exploratory workbook.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book came in a lot of childbirth books from an ebay seller. As a childbirth educator, I read as much as I can on childbirth preparation but I had not heard of this particular book. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Most chidlbirth books explain positions and comfort measures for the expectant family to master. Those things are important, but as I tell my students, "You can't fake faith in your body." The author of this book is all about helping you develop faith in your body. Working through the exercises helps identify your fears and concerns so you can begin working to overcome them.

This book encourages reflective journaling, but the questions can be worked through as a discussion if that is more your style. The reader is asked to begin asking questions about herself to learn what she needs for and wants from giving birth. In my experience, this is the most often missed part of childbirth preparation. Because of this, it is not a "quick read" to learn a few comfort measures for labor. But taking the time and working through will help you labor more comfortably.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MrD on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had a very bad experience birthing my first child. I was a wreck as the birth of my second approached. I was anxious, crying a lot, and would just try my best not to think about it. This book helped me work through some issues. I also saw a counselor but this book was definitely a help too. My second experience was MUCH better thank goodness!
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By A'Marie B. on November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was in excellent condition with CD attached...Arrived on time and is a good resource for me. I am a satisfied customer.
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