- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (March 4, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553381156
- ISBN-13: 978-0553381153
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,898 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth Paperback – March 4, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Founding member and former president of the Midwives Alliance of North America and author of Spiritual Midwivery, Gaskin offers encouragement and practical advice in her upbeat and informative book on natural childbirth. Since the mid-1970s, Gaskin and the midwives in her practice on a Summertown, Tenn., commune known as "The Farm," have attended over 2,200 natural births. Gaskin, who learned the rudiments of her gentle birthing technique from the Mayans in Guatemala, has helped bring attention to the method's remarkably low rate of morbidity and medical intervention. Couples considering natural childbirth will get inspirational coaxing from more than a dozen first-person narratives shared by the author's clients. Gaskin decries what she sees as Western medicine's focus on pain during birth, arguing that natural birthing can not only be euphoric and blissful but also orgasmic (a survey of 150 natural birthing women "found thirty-two who reported experiencing at least one orgasmic birth"). The second half of Gaskin's book deals with the practical side of natural birthing, including how to avoid standard medical interventions such as epidurals, episiotomies and even prenatal amniocentesis that may be unnecessary, even dangerous, to mother or child. While this may not be the definitive guide to natural childbirth, it is a comfortable and supportive read for women who want to trust their bodies to do what comes naturally.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Using history as her guide, nationally recognized midwife Gaskin explores what she hopes will be a renaissance in natural childbirth, something that she's been advocating since the mid-1970s. By focusing on how women of ancient civilizations and other modern peoples give birth, Gaskin puts our own hypersensitivities in perspective, uncovering a beautiful, sometimes orgasmic experience rather than a dreadful, painful one. Sure, pain is part of childbirth, but preparing for the pain in a realistic rather than sentimental way--whether giving birth at home or in a hospital--can be the key to a woman's ability to deal with it naturally. Within the pages of personal anecdotes, some touching, some startling, from Gaskin's patients and colleagues, every woman is sure to find something to relate to, whether or not she chooses to have a medicine-free labor. The helpful back matter features a glossary, a detailed resource list including advocacy groups and Web sites, and a bibliography that includes periodicals, rounding out an extremely comprehensive and up-to-date guide on the topic. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The medical information in the second half has helped my confidence immensely in choosing to have a "natural" hospital birth. Keep in mind this is coming from the point of view of a midwife, not a doctor, so it's not going to have the same voice as those in a medical profession. Ina May goes through how the body responds to labor and possible interventions you may see in the hospital. Although she is clearly for having as natural a birth as possible, she definitely gives what I think of as an unbiased view on these things as she can. She defines the interventions for you and tells you possible side effects. She says which ones you can definitely refuse without endangering yourself or your baby if you choose to, but as I read through this I never felt like I would be considered less of a mother if I chose any one of these things. Though she is clearly trying to show you the benefits of using a midwife vs. traditional doctors, she makes intelligent points and is clearly just trying to inform her readers. She also has many many references and resources to back up her claims and the statistics of the midwives she showcases speak for themselves.
I think this is a great book for anyone trying to learn more about the childbirthing process, anyone who is nervous or doubting their ability to do it, or anyone who just wants to know their options in care. I have recommended it to several people and am loaning it to my cousin who is due in March.
The second half of the book is less about techniques or tools to help you through, and more about Ina May's personal experiences as a midwife, and different notions about how we think about labor and delivery. Ina May doesn't like the word contraction. She suggests that the pain of childbirth can be pleasurable. She feels things in her vagina as her patients feel things in theirs...Sorry, but I'm not buying that. There seems to be a lot against your typical hospital delivery, and more about convincing yourself to open up/dilate, not to be afraid, positive self talk, there's even talk of masturbation during labor, like monkeys or chimpanzees, to help relax, open up and dilate the cervix.
Sooooo, if you are very natural, and very earthy, and want to have a labor that doesn't feel medical, this book might be right for you. I'm not against that, it's just not what I want. This book was just a bit too natural for my taste. Sorry Ina May. I do respect the work you do and your opinion, but it just wasn't the kind of help I was looking for.