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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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Second, I feel the need to point out that the author is a huge proponent of waterbirth. Which is great, but I want to make it known that being in the water is NOT the only way to have a natural, drug free and pleasant birth. At times the book makes it seem as if a woman needs Some sort of "pain control" method, such as being in water, and this is not the case at all. I'm not saying it is a bad idea, I think it is great, but going through pregnancy and going into labor with the mindset of needing some outside technique or *thing* to get you through and enable you to have a normal birth is not the right way to approach birth. A normal birth can happen in many different settings, one being in water. Hypnobirthing is by far the silliest of these ideas that one needs some outside source of pain relief to make it through. A woman is perfectly capable of giving birth normally and naturally with a supportive birth partner, without relying on outside sources for "pain management".
Third, more current information on Group B Strep and ultrasound/Dopplar technology, which is outdated in this book http://www.mothering.com/articles/treating-group-b-strep-are-antibiotics-necessary/
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundrodgers.asp (I highly recommend the book called Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J Buckley, it's a bit newer and it has an excellent chapter on ultrasounds, as well as the rest of the book being excellent!)
Fourth, the information she presents about when the cord is around babys neck when born (nuchal cord), is very wrong and very dangerous if one were to do what she says!! http://midwifethinking.com/2010/07/29/nuchal-cords/
These are the issues I had with this book. There is lots of good too, just educate yourself a little in the areas where she is not as knowledgeable and learn to recognize this. I do recommend this book, and I hope she releases an updated version with the above corrections as well as an update of the statistics in the book!
I highly recommend this book!
What this book actually is, is a guide to deciding what kind of birth to have. It's a bit preachy, too, not unusually so, but not exactly openminded, either. So if you are wondering if there is a better way, but don't know anything about midwifery or homebirth, you might learn something. If you have, say, researched it on the Internet, you might already know what this book has to say.
I would recommend one of Ina May Gaskin's great books before this one.