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Birth & Sex: The Power and the Passion Paperback – 23 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd.; 1 edition (23 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780660502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780660509
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 1.7 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sheila Kitzinger M.B.E, M.Litt was a social anthropologist of birth and author of 24 books published internationally, most on the emotional journey through this major life experience. At Oxford in the 50s she discovered that the social anthropology of that time was almost entirely about men. She decided she would do research to discover what was important in women's lives, and focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
Her five children were all born at home. She lectures widely in different countries and has learned from mothers and midwives in the USA and Canada, the Caribbean, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, Latin America, South Africa and Japan, and from women in prison and those who have had a traumatic birth experience.
Her books include The New Experience of Childbirth, Understanding Your Crying Baby, Politics of Birth, Birth Crisis, the updated classic The New Pregnancy and Childbirth: Choices and Challenges and Birth & Sex.
She died in April 2015. Her autobiography A Passion for Birth is published in May 2015.

Product Description

About the Author

Sheila Kitzinger M.B.E is a social anthropologist of birth and author of 24 books published internationally and lives near Oxford, England. She lectures widely and has learned from mothers and midwives across the world, from women in prison and those who have had a traumatic birth experience.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Hall on 2 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought Birth & Sex after hearing Sheila Kitzinger speak with an energetic passion that belies her frailty, a few weeks ago; the talk was part revision of the history of obstetrics, and many parts eye-opener.

A few days later I read on a skeptical website a description of orgasmic birth as "the ultimate first world problem": making women feel guilty for not having an orgasm during labour. It's that familiar argument that informing people about how things could be is mistaken for setting impossible aspirational targets for all women. Throughout the book, Kitzinger dips into history, revealing how birth has become depersonalised, the mother and her needs sidelined, and the only goal a healthy baby.

After a fascinating chapter on genital anatomy and an exploration of sex in pregnancy, she goes on to explain the processes that impact on a woman's experience of labour. She is not telling women that they should have an orgasm during birth, any more than that they should have an orgasm every time they have sex; but describing conditions which it is often in the woman's power to create, that allow her to behave spontaneously. In fact the comparison with having sex is instructive, since goal-oriented sex is likely to be less satisfying than loving, fun, comfortable, spontaneous and uninhibited sex, all of which are applicable to birth.

Kitzinger shows how other cultures celebrate birth movements, for example in north african bellydancing; but how the gradual introduction of a bed into the birth environment forces women to accept a more passive role, and has gradually led to a production line approach, "without wasting doctors' time, and free of any female emotions that might complicate the process." [p.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tamara L on 30 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Once I started this book I couldn't put it down. Much of what Sheila Kitzinger has written resonates with my own experience of childbirth - the good and bad parts.
`Birth and Sex' examines the close links between these two experiences, with Kitzinger demonstrating how Western society has lost sight of this, eschewing instinctive, natural and ecstatic childbirth in favour of highly medicalised, interventionist, maternity care (active management). The book explores how active management of labour has a negative psycho-physical impact on women - labouring women are made to feel that their feelings are irrelevant, that they don't understand their own bodies; instead childbirth must proceed according to set times and any deviation from this schedule will most likely result in intervention e.g. episiotomy, hormone drip, forceps, epidural, caesarean. Some of the stories Kitzinger recounts read like scenes from a B horror movie - it's sad and shocking that women are living through these traumatic experiences in what should be one of the happiest moments of their lives.
Thankfully people like Sheila Kitzinger, Ina May Gaskin and Janet Balaskas are helping to empower women to push for the childbirth that they and their children deserve. A fascinating book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By efm on 28 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is thorough and well researched yet very very readable and accessible for all. Sheila Kitzinger dips into, and draws on many different areas of knowledge and research, history and cross cultural perspectives and manages to put it all together in a book that will inform and inspire women (and hopefully a few men!). I think the books appeal goes far beyond pregnancy and raises important questions about our society. An absolute must read for healthcare providers as well as childbearing women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eleonora on 29 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a rediscovery of a deeply instinctual act as well as a rediscovery of when, how and why birth has become medically managed. It empowers women to be the creator of their own experience. Making birth as pleasurable as it can be, without expectations. It is about channelling the energy and letting your body experience its sensations rather than wanting to achieve an orgasm. The book also has a practical section with plenty of suggestions for active labour. Only a wonderfully experienced child birth educator such as Sheila Kitzinger could have put so much content into a such concise book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did ☺
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Ann Hall on 25 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
dissapointed with this product as a lot of the content is very similar to some of kitzingers other books. If you havnt read anything else by her you may like it but having already read a number of her books i felt slightly let down by this as was hoping it would contain more new material.
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