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Rediscovering Birth Hardcover – April 3, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; 1 edition (April 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743412737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743412735
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a work of social anthropology with political intentions. Kitzinger, a well-known birth educator and activist and author of the classic Pregnancy and Childbirth, wants to open women's eyes to the meanings of childbirth that have been lost through the adoption of the technocratic model of birth now prevalent in Europe and the United States. To this end, she uses observations from decades of original fieldwork, as well as research from the literature, to examine childbirth practices and beliefs in many cultures. We have moved away from the social model of traditional cultures, Kitzinger tells us, in which childbirth is a normal life process controlled by the woman and her community, and have allowed birth to become a medical event associated with pathology and controlled by specialists. The political task at hand is to take back control from the technocracy and put it into the hands of women so that the best elements of both models may be available. Kitzinger has written a fascinating and emotionally and imagistically beautiful work of great usefulness. Potential mothers, students of traditional birth practices, and those interested in the medical, cultural, and political issues surrounding birth will welcome it.DNoemie Maxwell, Seattle Midwifery Sch.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Kitzinger's book helps women learn about taking back their bodies from the male-oriented medical business, respecting the ancient vocation of midwifery, and helping each other during a pregnancy. Kitzinger, author of Pregnancy and Childbirth (1996), discusses historical and cultural differences regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Attitudes about birth have always varied, and this book gives brief, fascinating descriptions about many of the different ways of regarding childbirth. The author discusses European witch-hunts against midwives, "birth sisters" for prisoners, and mental and physical abuse toward pregnant women. Rediscovering is illustrated with marvelous photos and drawings depicting the various stages of pregnancies and of the birthing process. Cultural attitudes toward the gestation period, birth process, and newborns vary greatly, and this book is a constructive and enjoyable introduction to the various outlooks on these important stages of life. Julia Glynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book would be worth it even without the text.
J. Stout
If you are a woman searching for a more spiritual, more universal meaning to your pregnancy, I would highly recommend this book.
Babaylan
This is such a beautiful book with a beautiful message about women, our wonderful bodies, and our wonderful babies.
"patchfire"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Babaylan on January 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's clearly not a guide-to-pregancy book, but I have found it to be a wonderful companion to the other pregnancy books I am reading. This book, with beautiful pictures and photos of ancient artifacts, surveys birthing myths and pregnancy traditions worldwide, comparing how this common, yet miraculous, human experience is appreciated and interpreted.
The author takes a harsh view at our highly medicalized, Caesarian-obsessed state of obstetric medicine, but I believe, she is right in that regard. Obstetrics has stripped women of some of the magic and the love that countless generations of women have experienced as they give birth.
I think that not every reader will appreciate or accept some of this, but it is perfect for me. I am a woman of color, with a deep fascination and appreciation of other cultures and ancient cultures and of the goddess religions and reading this book has affirmed much of what I already believe.
If you are a woman searching for a more spiritual, more universal meaning to your pregnancy, I would highly recommend this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "patchfire" on October 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a book on childbirth preparation, this is not it. If you're looking for a book that celebrates women, birth, and the mysteries of both, then you've found one! The detail is wonderful, the writing is lush, and the pictures are simply amazing. This is such a beautiful book with a beautiful message about women, our wonderful bodies, and our wonderful babies.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Stout on November 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sheila Kitzinger puts the 21st century American childbirth experience in its proper context. Reading this book breathed fresh air into my pregnancy.

Parts of this book are interesting in a "huh. i don't know that" kind of way. Others are real paradigm shifters. For example, before I read this book, one of the only reasons I could think of for not having an ultrasound was the expense. Kitzinger talked about how ultrasounds and other prenatal testing have changed the culture of chldbirth around the world (creating an atmosphere of pressure to abort girls where male children are preferred, one example). What was more directly relevant to me personally was how, in America, prenatal testing is changing the mother-child relationship from one that is exclusive to one where the mother ignores her child's direct communication in favor of allowing her child to speak to her only through 3rd parties, such as a doctor or technician. In this manner, the "authorities" can wrest even more control over women, because you "need" them to perform the tests in order to have a relationship with your own child.

The book would be worth it even without the text. The photography is beautiful.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Manske on August 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Definitely not a substitute for a good pregnancy reference book, but a beautiful addition to your reading list while you wait and prepare.
I love Kitzinger's use of photographs, art, and ancient and historical texts in describing the social aspects of birth and mothering. She has done extensive research into the birth rituals and practices of many cultures. While she is critical of the overuse of interventions in American births, she openly acknowledges that they can be a wonderful blessing in saving the lives of mothers and babies in emergency situations.
When I first got this book, I just paged through and looked at all the pictures and quotes. They way the book is printed (double-spaced on wide, glossy pages) makes it a little difficult to read, for me anyway. After a few days, I started reading it from the beginning and am enjoying it so much I'll forgive the printing style.
A great book for mothers who are relishing this profound, defining time in their lives. It will inspire you to read more on natural childbirth (if you haven't already) as you begin to realize the power within you to give birth.
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