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Birth Matters: a midwife's manifesta [Kindle Edition]

Ina May Gaskin , Ani DiFranco
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A woman who gives birth in the US today is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was. With one in three babies born via cesarean, the US ranks behind thirty other nations in neonatal mortality rates, and forty other nations in maternal mortality rates. Confidence in women’s bodies and women’s choices has been lost.
In Birth Matters, Ina May Gaskin, author of Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, reminds us that the ways in which women experience birth have implications for us all. Renewing confidence in a woman’s natural ability to birth provides transformative possibilities for individual families, and for society at large.
Known around the world for her birthing practice’s exemplary low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality, Ina May Gaskin has gained an international reputation in obstetrics for demonstrating the magic key to safe birth: respect for the natural process. Birth Matters is a spirited manifesta showing us how to trust women, value birth, nurture families, and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species.
“Ms. Gaskin is a bright light shining into a dark chasm of forgetting... I believe we should do well to hold Gaskin’s writings up among the great philosophical contributions to our time.” Ani DiFranco, from the foreword
“A wonderful book expressing Ina May’s energy and vision.” Sheila Kitzinger, author of Rediscovering Birth

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Product Description

About the Author

Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, PhD (Hon.) is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, by 2011, the Farm Midwifery Center had handled approximately 3000 births, with remarkably good outcomes. Ms. Gaskin herself has attended more than 1200 births. She is author of Spiritual Midwifery, now in its fourth edition. For twenty-two years she published Birth Gazette, a quarterly covering health care, childbirth and midwifery issues. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was published in 2003 and has been translated into Italian, Slovenian, German, and French. Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding was published in 2009 and Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta , was published in 2011. She has lectured all over the world at midwifery conferences and at medical schools, both to students and to faculty. She was President of Midwives' Alliance of North America from 1996 to 2002. In 1997, she received the ASPO/Lamaze Irwin Chabon Award and the Tennessee Perinatal Association Recognition Award. In 2003 she was chosen as Visiting Fellow of Morse College, Yale University. In 2009, she was conferredw with the title of Honorary Doctor by the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences of Thames Valley University in London, England. In 2011, she was chosen as one of four recipients of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), given in an award ceremony before the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. Ms. Gaskin has lectured widely to midwives and physicians throughout the world. Her promotion of a low-intervention but extremely effective method for dealing with one of the most-feared birth complications, shoulder dystocia, has resulted in that method being adopted by a growing number of practitioners. The Gaskin maneuver is the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife. Her statistics for breech deliveries and her teaching video on the subject have helped to spark a reappraisal of the policy of automatically performing cesarean section for all breech babies. As the occurrence of vaginal breech births has declined over the last 40 years, the knowledge and skill required for such births have come close to extinction. Ms. Gaskin's center is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality despite the inclusion of many vaginally delivered breeches, twin and grand multiparas. Their statistics were published in "The Safety of Home Birth: The Farm Study," authored by A. Mark Durand, American Journal of Public Health , March, 1992, Vol. 82, 450-452. Her website is at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 690 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B005CDUT2O
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin; 1 edition (17 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #313,737 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Called "the midwife of modern midwifery" by Salon, Ina May Gaskin has practiced for nearly forty years at the internationally lauded Farm Midwifery Center. She is the only midwife for whom an obstetric maneuver has been named (Gaskin maneuver). She is the author of Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By K. Hall
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ina May's new book is a manifesta setting out the philosophy of natural birth, and therefore nothing that has not been said by wise women (and men) countless times before. The value of this work is its comprehensive, detailed, and clear presentation of the information, such that surely no rational human could disagree. It is a scientific celebration of what nature has achieved and what women are capable of.

The first chapters set the subject in its global context, and birth stories are scattered through the text to remind the reader that while these are global, political issues, they have personal, individual impacts.

I have learned about the cultural loss of breastfeeding knowledge, and it makes a sad kind of sense to me to be reading the same description of society's attitude to birth: the loss of skills among health professionals and the consequent loss of positive birth stories. This cycle will be perpetuated and added to, and will spread beyond the US increasingly rapidly, as we lose touch with and confidence in our own bodies.

Ina May Gaskin discusses the role of feminism in driving an `escape' from pregnancy and motherhood, a push towards equality between men and women instead of a celebration of the important differences between us. Why should power be measured only in masculine terms and defined by the choice NOT to do something? Ina May's positive, empowering feminism offers a far wider range of choices.

` It seemed crazy to me to take on the belief that the human female is the only mammal on earth that is a mistake of nature... it's our minds that sometimes complicate matters for us. (p.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As excellent as expected! 27 Feb. 2012
By rmew
I am a first year student midwife, and having read two of Ina May Gaskin's previous books, I was eagerly awaiting my copy of Birth Matters. I was not disappointed! The book is very informative and evidence-based yet easy to read. Midwives, parents-to-be, or anyone with an interest in childbirth will find this book fascinating. The author writes mainly from an american perspective, yet all nationalities and cultures would benefit from her wisdom, experience and insight. The book covers the history of childbirth and midwifery, feminism, the use of technology in childbirth, caesarean sections, and ends with the author's vision for the future. There is a chapter aimed at fathers-to-be and the book is interspersed with birth stories. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book 3 Sept. 2012
By Tonks
Wow what a great read, Ina May Gaskin is an absolute inspiration. Her passion and determination for change comes across in every single word that she writes, her style of writing is engaging and makes the book an easy read. You end up desperate to read more and find out more. She shares a lot of her own personal history and shares the knowledge that she has obviously worked so hard to gain on such a broad subject. The sections about how countries all around the world manage pregnancy, labour and birth are so full of facts and true stories that they really stir your own emotions and make you wish that things would change for the better.
The birth stories scattered throughout are fantastic, a real inspiration and a wonderful confirmation of what a womans body can do given the opportunity and no medical intervention.
It is so sad to think of all of the knowledge that has been gained for as long as man has been around being lost and negated in such a way. Women should be safer than every now giving birth however with more medical interventions more women in the USA will die in childbirth now than in their own mothers era. It really is going the wrong way, so much is now down to politics and money that the most natural process on Earth is being ruined and altered.
This book really initiates conversations and I have personally found myself discussing it with friends and family on many occasions - so much so that they now want to read the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the health profession, any mums or mums to be or anyone with an interest in childbirth, it is an extremely thought provoking piece from a fantastic author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vital reading for anyone concerned with birth 24 July 2012
By Jil
`Birth Matters' is one of the most wide-ranging books on birth that I have ever read. It is shocking, but inspiring. The way birth is managed in different nations and cultures today is compared to the way it was approached in the past - how shocking that a woman who gives birth in the U.S today is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was.
Other aspects of the life of women today are examined; the development of feminism through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, medical menstrual suppression and other manipulations of the natural hormonal state, the obsession with breast enlargement surgery, as well as the unbelievable fact that women in America still die for the lack of post natal care, whilst others are imprisoned for the 'crime' of being young, not knowing they were pregnant and failing to resuscitate their babies at birth.
`Birth Matters' considers the global, international, national, regional and personal aspects of childbirth. Especially engaging for parents-to-be are the individual accounts of births by parents scattered throughout the book, and the chapter for fathers-to-be. This is all rounded up with Gaskin's vision for the future of birth.
This has to be one of the most important and comprehensive contributions concerning the future of our society to emerge in recent years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
another fantastic book from Ina May !
Published 14 days ago by Mrs G
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
A fantastic book I would recommend all pregnant women to read! Empowers women that their bodies know how to birth and gives a very clear argument about how birth has become very... Read more
Published 19 months ago by SOREH A LEVY
4.0 out of 5 stars loved the text ending was a bit much
well written and very moving there are some shocking stats in it though. I like the birth stories although the first one was annoying. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Cathode
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
A very compassionate view on child birth, empowering women without being too new age, and giving some well deserved perspective to today's over medicated view on child birth.
Published on 14 Mar. 2013 by Susanne
4.0 out of 5 stars The gifts of manual skills, patience and wisdom
While I found some of the chapters too historically heavy, I loved the positive and empowering birth stories scattered through the book. Read more
Published on 26 Feb. 2013 by Eleonora
5.0 out of 5 stars Words of Wisdom
This is great reading for any midwife, midwifery student which asks us to consider alternative approaches and recognise women's power in childbearing and childbirth. A must read.
Published on 3 Jan. 2013 by Mrs. R. A. Garratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, every mum should read it!
Fantastic book, great philosophy and really gives a thorough discussion on birthing your baby...essential reading for every mother - I will share with all my friends.
Published on 16 Jun. 2012 by Niamh
4.0 out of 5 stars Another inspiring book by Ina May Gaskin
Ina May Gaskin is an inspiring writer on the subject of childbirth and midwifery. I have read a couple of her other books before this one and have found they are full of lots of... Read more
Published on 14 Jun. 2012 by BWells
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