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.
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 GlynnCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved