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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

by Ina May Gaskin

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1,0142514,410 (4.43)9
A leading authority on midwifery offers expectant mothers an alternative to hospital birthing, explaining how to create a mutually supportive relationship among birth-care providers and make informed choices.

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I would definitely recommend this book for both those considering natural birth and those who plan to have a medicated hospital birth. Either person can benefit from reading this. The best thing about this book is the first half containing all of the birth stories. Some of them are a little weird/cheesy, especially those that take place in the 70's. There is definitely a sort of "hippie" tone to many of them. However, all of the stories were very inspiring and showed the beautiful side of childbirth, which is a nice break from the hectic, terrifying birth scenes we tend to see in the media or hear about in stories. I am hoping for a natural unmedicated birth in the hospital, and reading all of these stories makes me confident that I can do it and birth is not something to fear.

The second half of the book, which is more of a guide, is ok. It has some great information but is not incredibly detailed. I would recommend supplementing this book with other books that offer practical advice for labor and delivery.

For anyone considering natural birth or who would just like to know more about it, the documentary The Business of Being Born was really interesting. It's on Netflix! But warning, it does have some birth scenes.

Also, Walmart had the best price I could find, even compared to amazon, eBay, and half.com. :-)

Good luck to those waiting for birth! ( )
  CeleryHands | Jun 25, 2020 |


I purchased this book knowing that I'd like to have a natural birth and avoid an epidural and Caesarean section. I hoped this book would give me the courage and strength to move forward with my birth plan and I think it's done just that. The first half of the book offers several empowering birth stories that help boost my confidence. The second half of the book offered advice and historical data/research regarding natural birth vs. medical intervention and really helped me understand what I'm about to experience. I feel more than ever now that I can make informed choices during my own birth. Great read and one I'd highly recommend to anyone pregnant or hoping to be pregnant one day. ( )
  JamieBH | Apr 3, 2018 |
The midwife lent me a whole stack of books (and is always pushing me to take more), but so far the only one I've read cover-to-cover is this one. And I'm wishing I'd read this before I had Jefferson.

Roughly the first half of this book is birth stories. Almost all of them are midwife-assisted births at The Farm, a village/commune in Tennessee, mostly just in homes without a lot of special equipment. Very few of the births had to be transported to the hospital, though those are represented as well. The stories are testament to what a calm and experienced birth assistant, a trust in the power of a woman's body, and the natural process of birth itself can do -- even when the mother gets temporarily hung up by fear, even with extremely large babies, and even with some fairly troublesome complications.

The second half of the book is a collection of essays by Ina May on the current state of birthing in the United States. (Primarily it's about this country anyway, there is also a lot of data from other countries for comparison.) The latter chapters are sometimes hopeful, sometimes chilling, but mostly make me glad we're trying for a midwife-assisted home birth this time.

But this book is mostly famous in our house for two pictures of a face-presentation. Jefferson was looking over my shoulder one day as I was reading this book and liked all the pictures of babies. So I started flipping through it with him looking for the pictures. Most were standard mom and baby post-birth posed shots, but on page 58 there is a picture of a baby where only the face has emerged from the birth canal, and then another of the baby right after delivery, with its poor face all smooshed and swollen. I was a little worried about Jefferson's reaction, as I hadn't intended to give him quite such a graphic introduction to "where babies come from," but he loved the pictures, and for a while developed a nightly routine of wanting to see the baby pictures before bed. At one point he even indicated the face presentation and told me he wanted me to have that baby. I told him no matter how much I loved him and wanted him to be happy, I would never wish for a face presentation.

Anyway! I loved this book. Very authoritative and informational. Would recommend to anyone interested in a more natural version of childbirth. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
In the end, this book serves as much more than a narrative of childbirth. This is a socially important book, at least for much of Canada and the U.S. ( )
  rastamandj | Jun 14, 2017 |
If you are going for a natural birth, go with this book. ( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
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To the women and the doctors who helped me become a midwife
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Whatever your reason for picking up this book, I salute your curiosity and your desire to know more about the important work of having babies.
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A leading authority on midwifery offers expectant mothers an alternative to hospital birthing, explaining how to create a mutually supportive relationship among birth-care providers and make informed choices.

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