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Gentle Birth Choices: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions about Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, and Hospital Birth Paperback – June 1, 1994
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From Library Journal
Nurse, midwife, and founder of the Global Maternal/Child Health Association (GMCHA), Harper offers her addition to the growing number of alternative childbirth books (e.g., Catherine M. Pool & Elizabeth A. Parr, Choosing a Nurse-Midwife, LJ 5/1/94). Considering GMCHA's focus on water birth, it is not surprising that the major strength of Gentle Birth Choices is its thorough coverage of this birthing technique as an option. Unlike many other alternative birth guides, Harper's book is well documented, citing many well-recognized medical journals. A special plus is one of the appendixes, "Procedures and Protocols for Hydrotherapy for Labor and Birth," and the book also contains a large section of resources. Much of the information not specific to water birth can be found in other works. A nice addition to larger women's health collections but otherwise optional.
KellyJo Houtz Griffin, Harrison Memorial Hosp., Bremerton, Wash.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Believe it or not, birth resulting from a normal pregnancy needn't take place in a hospital. Harper explains why birthing centers and home births, along with other "gentle birth choices," are beneficial to both mother and baby. With a foreword by Robbie Davis Floyd, who wrote Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992), Gentle Birth Choices also features a history of how childbirth came to be so technological and blasts myths such as why fetal monitors save babies (they don't, very often). Harper also discusses giving birth in water and explores the connection of mind and body during labor and birth. She stresses the importance of midwives for a more natural and satisfying experience. Well illustrated with photos by acclaimed birth photographer Suzanne Arms and containing a first-rate resource section, Gentle Birth Choices provides an excellent alternative to mainstream birth books. Jo Peer-Haas
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For me, this is where this book comes in to play. I did not read this book looking for knowledge and factual information on birth, I'd already gleaned that from several other books. I read this book wondering if a gentle birth was truly attainable.
I read this book a few weeks before my due date. After finishing it, I truly felt at peace with my body and with my decision to pursue a natural birth. Sure, I still had my doubts, but after reading about all the women who had NCB in many different settings, I felt strongly that I could do it. And a few weeks later, I DID. Once labor began, I probably forgot everything I read, but what I didn't forget was the sense that I was just one of many women who embarked on a journey toward a gentle birth, and that if other women could do it, SO COULD I. My memories of my son's birth are gentle and peaceful, most of it spent in the water with my midwife holding my hands and my doula massaging me through contractions. My only regret is not having my husband read this book, too, as I think he was more nervous than I was.
Should this be the only book you read while pregnant? NO! But then, I don't think there is any one book that really covers every little piece of information about pregnancy. Do I think this is a book that should be read by every pregnant woman? Yes, I do. Perhaps if more women read this book, pregnant women would no longer be treated to horror stories about birth, and instead, would know that, in most cases, it can be a gentle, loving process.