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200 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Book To Prepare For Labor And Delivery
This is, by far, the best book for preparing a couple for labor and delivery. _Birthing From Within_ takes a completely new approach to childbirth preparation and focuses on what each individual woman and her partner need to do to prepare for THEIR own birth. Following the exercises in this book will help couples work through their "issues" and prepare for the...
Published on June 6, 2001 by Kelly

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183 of 189 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for some, not for all...
Ok, let me preface this by saying that as a labor doula, for the most part, I love this book! However, if you fall into any of the following categories, you will hate this book, or at the very least, be offended or not like many parts of it. If you are a Born again Christian or do not believe in Evolution, or do not like to do art projects to get "in touch" with your...
Published on February 15, 2005 by Jennifer A. McFarland


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200 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Book To Prepare For Labor And Delivery, June 6, 2001
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This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
This is, by far, the best book for preparing a couple for labor and delivery. _Birthing From Within_ takes a completely new approach to childbirth preparation and focuses on what each individual woman and her partner need to do to prepare for THEIR own birth. Following the exercises in this book will help couples work through their "issues" and prepare for the best birth possible for them.
This book contains all the information a couple needs to have regarding labor and delivery, but it also teaches the couple to think for themselves and shows them the way to learn what is truly important for them as individuals. I am extremely grateful to have had this book in preparation for my second birth and wish I'd had it for my first.
The only drawback to this book is that parts of it get a little "new-agey" and may not appeal to a more "mainstream" person; but you can easily disregard anything that's too "out there" for you and still benefit *hugely* from having read the book and used the parts that worked for you.
The chapter on pain coping techniques is particularly phenomenal with some completely new approaches that are extremely good. I especially like the fact that the author is HONEST about the pain of labor [and doesn't imply that it is just "discomfort" and that any woman who has pain with labor is just not "doing it right". ugh!] Having acknowledged that labor IS painful, the author then goes on to give you some amazing ideas on ways to cope with that pain. I wish I could buy a copy of this book for every pregnant couple out there!
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183 of 189 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for some, not for all..., February 15, 2005
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
Ok, let me preface this by saying that as a labor doula, for the most part, I love this book! However, if you fall into any of the following categories, you will hate this book, or at the very least, be offended or not like many parts of it. If you are a Born again Christian or do not believe in Evolution, or do not like to do art projects to get "in touch" with your feelings, or can not imagine yourself birthing with every other woman at the same time in a sort of sisterhood, are easily offended by hippies or earthy/new agey types...than this is not the book for you. If however any of those things are things that you love or agree with, you'll love this book! I must say, that to my clients who are in the above categories, I tell them that they can borrow it from me, save their money, and just skip to chapter 16 and read from there. The pain relief and focusing techniques are quite helpful and empowering and the portions for fathers are very relevant. Being able to trust the birth process and how natural birth is is emphasized heavily and quite correctly in this book. I love that part of this book! So empowering!

Some of the newborn information is dated and is not correct, but then I have yet to meet a mom to be who doesn't read MANY different books on birth and childcare so most likely you'll find what you are looking for from another source. It is a great book, and I'm glad I have it, I just don't think it is THE book. This book combined with Bradley is so much better of a well rounded birthing experience. Just as I would not suggest only reading bradley, I would not suggest ONLY reading this book.
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113 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective on childbirth, August 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
I bought this book as I am hoping to have a natural, drug-free birth. So many of the books I read about natural childbirth really seem to "bash" the medical establishment, and end up creating negative or defensive attitudes, or scaring couples into thinking they are going to have to fight the medical staff for everything they want.
This book takes a gentler approach. The authors DO make the point that the medical community has made childbirth more of a convenience for the doctor than the mother, but the book encourages couples, and suggests ways to make the birthing process their own in the midst of all this. It also teaches about the "soul" of pregnancy and birth, which many other books do not go into, by having the parents express their expectations through drawings, journal writing and other creative methods. This book reminds the reader that birth is not just about the baby, it's about the family.
I recommend this book to any expectant mother, no matter what type of birth she intends to have. "Birthing from Within" helps you get in touch with yourself and your expectations, fears, and hopes to allow you to make the birth of your child a very personal and soulful experience.
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162 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering, January 22, 2005
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This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
This book is certainly biased towards natural birthing, but it is also empowering in the general sense of allowing women to listen to their own gut/voice/inkling/whatever comes from inside. So, if you are considering natural birth (or just want to know more in case), read on.

This book is like a guide, but most of it seems totally foreign (even after reading) if you are in your first pregnancy. How can you REALLY know what its going to feel like to give birth, and try to "read up" on it? You don't. No matter how many books you read, you simply don't know until you go through it.

Having said that, you (and your partner) can learn tools, tactics, and ideas on how to achieve a natural birth by reading this book. One misconception that I had was that I would `remember' all of my feelings, but when you are knee-deep in labor there isn't much time to remember. Your partner, however, can help guide you, and if he or she reads this book too, they will have ideas. When I walked into the hospital I clenched up; I was afraid, and the fear overwhelmed me. It IS painful to give birth, and it IS hard to maintain your own sense of dignity/integrity in a mainstream hospital. In the United States many hospitals follow formula birth = IV, monitor, epidural, controlled pushing, baby. Mention you don't want the IV, and suddenly you are in conflict with the person who is there to take care of you - the nurse. (My husband brought StarBucks Gift cards and they certainly sweetened up our nurses).

Ultimately what I took from this book is not how I could have a natural childbirth, how I could control what happens in a hospital birth, how I could cope with pain, but rather it was how I could embrace the experience, whatever it may be. To me Birthing From Within means really listening to your own story, your own art, your own family and trying to take steps that are best for your baby and yourself. There is no formula. There is no one right way.

Side note: Birthing From Within also has a website with an excellent network of doulas. If your considering natural birth in a hospital, take a moment to consider a birthing doula.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful guide to creating your unique, positive birth, March 15, 2004
By 
Liesl Calado (Mountain View, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
Even though I am hoping for an unmedicated birth in a hospital, I thought this book would be "too alternative" for me. However, I am so thankful that I read this at the suggestion of my doula - who happens to be a Birthing from Within instructor. There are definitely some passages that don't mesh with my personal preferences and birth philosophy, but I was able to overlook those and find some truly wonderful morsels of wisdom that touched me. After all, every birth and every woman is different, so you don't have to follow the book to the letter or believe in every opinion presented.
For me, the most helpful aspect of this book was the assumption that the birth would take place in a hospital. What have become routine procedures for birth in most hospitals scare me very much, so I have chosen a doctor and birth attendants who support my decision for a natural, intervention-free birth. However, most books I have read that share my viewpoint are extremely anti-hospital and only serve to increase my anxiety level. (I did consider home birth - my first choice - but ultimately decided against it for various reasons.) Although "Birthing from Within" contains some horrible stories of hospital births, I appreciated that the book's focus is on making a hospital birth a rewarding experience, NOT trying to avoid a hospital birth. It provided me with techniques for working through my fears of the hospital and ways I can cope if events don't go exactly as I hope.
The section for fathers is perhaps my favorite part of the book because it is so well-written and contains some wonderful advice. I also was thrilled to read the chapter on "baby-proofing your marriage." Before reading "Birthing from Within", I had yet to come across a birth book that positively addressed the impact of a baby on marriage, if it addressed the issue at all. Not that this book looks at the issue from behind rose-tinted glasses! But it prompts discussion before the baby's arrival, so couples are prepared.
Overall, this book has not only positively encouraged me to work on my personal beliefs and fears about birth, but has also provided my husband and me with some valuable discussion points so we can both approach the impending birth of our first child with confidence. I encourage all mothers-to-be to read this book with an open mind. Some suggestions may work for you, others may not; use what speaks to you to create the birth experience that fits YOU.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ for any pregnant woman!, December 25, 2000
By 
Amazon Customer (Zanesfield, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
Whether you plan to have a natural birth experience or prefer to use drugs for the pain, you must read this book first. It will tell you all the things your Dr. never will. You'll be so much more informed about your options and so much more comfortable with your choices!! I am 3 weeks from my due date at this writing. Between this book and the book "The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth" I have such a different outlook on child birth and I am actually looking forward to delivery day. I had no idea what possible complications could be caused by medical interventions and I also had no idea how to get through child birth naturally, until I read these books. I would also recommend a childbirth class/method other than Lamazze. I took Imagery Birthing which is based on Hypnobirthing. The idea is to practice imagery, relaxed breathing and help your mind get out of your bodies' way when it's time for the baby to be born. You could also use The Bradley Method. Remember, you are not an ill patient when you go to the hospital to have a baby - it is a role women are made for and it shouldn't require you to be hooked up to all kinds of machines, medications and procedures. Good luck to all you expectant mom's!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative Fun Positive & Empowering Approach to Birthing, February 15, 2001
By 
Mellissa Seaman (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
I've read about 10 books on birth preparation & pregnancy. If I had to choose one, this would be it. It makes the pregnancy process a JOY, not an academic class or a sermon from the medical mountain or the hippie commune.
Unlike most childbirth prep books on the market, this one prepares the whole woman for the glory, the pain, and the creative explosion of birth. It does not detail all the scary medical stuff that could possibly go wrong (as most of them do - Don't they know we're nervous enough when we're pregnant!)
Mothers-to-be, this book will empower you with stories of birthing women all over the world and all through history. It will take you through fun artistic ways to open your creative doors, preparing not just your left brain, but also your fantastic feminine right brain for the big event.
I found that the "birth art" - actually little stick figure sketches - that I created via the book's process helped me come to grips with my hidden fears & anxieties about birthing. Once they were explored through the art, I felt SO much more powerful and confident about my ability to give birth.
The information on pain and various methods of pain-management was truthful, balanced, and helpful in preparing for the big day & dealing with anxiety about the big pain issue.
Buy this book. And do the art stuff - you do NOT have to be an artist. It is just so FUN!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best resource!, May 15, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
As a nurse and first-time mom, I found myself in constant search of information during my pregnancy. However, all of the things I read which were "clinical" descriptions or "prescriptive" manuals for how to go through labor left me feeling anxious and empty. Then I found this book and, admittedly, I thought it looked kind of hokey when I first picked it up. But I soon discovered that it was the most empowering thing I had read so far. I think that people who already have a basic understanding of the mechanics of labor need look no further than this book for support and direction. It truly allows you to be yourself, direct your own birth experience, and believe in your own natural abilities, without criticizing those who find they need pain control or medical intervention. I highly recommend this book to every parent who wants to experience birth, not just survive it.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE ONLY book to prepare for Childbirth with!, May 19, 2000
By 
Marysue Meints (Atlanta, Georgia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
I bought this book in September 1998 when I hired a Doula to be with me during my second baby's birth. My Doula recommended the book. It helped me tremedously! I had a wonderful hospital birth experience in November, despite it not being how I had hoped it would go.
I am now expecting my third baby, and have read and re-read this book. It is the only way to prepare for childbirth. I am planning a home birth this time, and the methods of dealing with things will allow a home birth to go smoothly, and if need to be in a hospital arises, that won't alter the birth experience, as we birth from WITHIN, not from WITHOUT!
My Doula now TEACHES the BFW method, and my husband and I are attending the classes. Pam England has a superior way of looking at the birthing process. Other childbirth classes pale in comparison, and really there is no true comparison! BFW is the best book written on preparing to give birth, whether at home, in a birthing center, in a hospital room, or under the knife via C-section!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ethnographical journey through universal birth rituals & your own birth preconceptions, August 19, 2005
This review is from: Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation (Paperback)
This is so much more than just a childbirth preparation book & I feel that it will stand the test of time in its universal approach to honoring ones own sacred truths regardless of ones surroundings. The goal after all is not to give birth *in spite of* the machines & "The Man" behind them, but in a graceful, powerful dance *with* them standing by. There really can be a space in which technology meets the sacred, where the tools of the trade are lying in wait & only used when truly necessary.

In case no one has told you: You are the one who gives birth! And, women have been giving birth forever & ever & ever....

Having had a highly interventive first pregnancy, complete with a dozen needless ultrasounds, a failed thirty-two hour induction on my EDD, SROM on September 11, & a coerced Cesarean after twelve hours of labor for no good reason except that I had a slight fever (probably from the epidural) & it was approaching time for my OB to open her office, I wanted desperately to have a vaginal birth after Cesarean, or VBAC, with my second child. After much deliberation, my husband & I agreed that the best way to ensure a VBAC was actually to plan a Homebirth with a skilled Midwife. I didn't like the idea of husband-coached childbirth for myself, so we sought out a method that empowered the woman to take charge of her birth with the husband as a support person. We took a Birthing From Within class with an amazing mentor by the name of Nancy Elfanbaum. It was called "Birthing Again" for couples who had birthed before. We felt that we knew enough about hard labor (Pitocin contractions are simply not natural & I had survived a total of 46 hours of them before!!), but not enough about how to manage the pain without an epidural. Because I had withdrawn so completely in my first labor (I didn't speak with my doula or husband except to say, 'This isn't fair, I'm not getting a break between contractions!' & would not open my eyes), I knew that BIRTHING FROM WITHIN was the book I wanted to read from the title alone! Then to find out that the author, Pam England, had been a Midwife when she had a Cesarean, I just knew in my bones that this book would serve me. Being a spiritually-inclined person (Pagan/Taoist/Unitarian Universalist), the Zen approach & exercises were natural for me. I can see how some could find it challenging to explore some of these ways of thinking (or not-thinking!), but pregnancy & labor are certainly times when our bodies & minds are in a prime state for meditation & exploring our spiritual truths. It is the ideal time to get in touch with ones emotional truths so that they do not overpower us. I feel it is so crucial to explore/debunk the mythology of childbirth in our culture & to challenge the stigma of childbirth as unavoidably painful experience that is best undergone with medications that numb us from the waist down.

Take a weekend to devour this book, then read it again over a few months & do all of the exercises. I implore you to really do them, with your labor support person if possible, as you will find them healing in & of themselves. The lessons are especially important for those who plan to give birth in the hospital. Practice is key here- & if you make the exercises part of your daily work, you really will be able to do them in labor.

Birth art is awesome! It is where it's at for me. I feel that I "know" all the answers to my questions & all I need do is ask them. Getting into my right-brain through art accessed the primordial mother in me who already knows how to give birth in a cave. I feel that BFW helped me do just that. I gave birth without interventions, standing up, to a 10 pound, 8 ounce, 23 inch long boy who was sunny-side-up & wide-eyed at birth. I would surely have been cut in one way or another in the hospital. As it was, I tore a bit, but was able to have my baby on my belly right away, nurse him as soon as he was interested, & eat a pizza pie & chocolate cake!!! I give BFW a great deal of credit not so much for what I learned, but for what I *un-learned* about birth & my body/mind/spirit experience of pain.

I say give this book as a gift to every pregnant woman! It doesn't matter what religious path she walks or if she is an atheist; if she is planning to give birth in a birth center, hospital, hotel room or swimming pool; if she has a husband or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or no one at all to attend her birth. It is about the universal journey of birth, & the importance of creating a sacred space in which one can feel safe & strong.

Honor the sacred, She will not betray you.
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Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation
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