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3.9 out of 5 stars58
3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 19 August 2006
There's some sensible advice in this book, geared toward preparing mind and body for a natural and gentle birth.

The gist is - don't pig out on processed food and sugar or you'll pile on the weight and your baby will be too big resulting in a difficult birth. At worst you may get gestational diabetes. Be informed about the birth process and rehearse it mentally before the birth, then you will be calm and prepared and able to control your fear and anxiety. Learn self-hypnosis to help you relax and prepare your body for birth. Take various supplements and exercise to tone up your uterus. There's non-essential stuff around alternative therapies too.

I put a lot of this into practice, didn't gain too much weight and had a baby who was the right size for my physique at home with no pain relief in a fairly quick birth - I dilated fast and consistently. It still bloody hurt but the midwife was impressed with my calm and focus and I ascribe this to being extremely well prepared from listening to Gowri's self hypnosis CD most nights and not getting fat. At no point did I feel scared or over-whelmed.

I also drank the herbal tea and had some reflexology (though only in the third trimester) and who knows whether this had any effect - it made me feel like I was doing something positive so probably helped.

One thing I am dubious about is her recommendation that you cut wheat and dairy out of your diet, particularly after talking to a paediatrician friend who told me that some allergies in children can be traced to mothers cutting out wheat/dairy while pregnant and breastfeeding. In moderation seems more sensible.

I would recommend this book - it certainly helped me - I had the least stressful birth of all the mums from my antenatal group. As with all these 'experts' just take from it the elements you find useful and don't feel that you have to follow it slavishly -but you don't have to fork out a fortune to eat sensibly and do a bit of exercise and the birth rehearsal CD is worth the money.
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on 6 September 2005
After reading other reviews, I bought this book with an open mind. There is a lot of useful information, but if you decide to follow it 100%, it is very time consuming and expensive. A must for alternative medicine followers, although there is no index so it is difficult to find a specific subject quickly. My book if full of turned corners and highlighted paragraphs.
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on 5 September 2006
This is my pregnancy bible. I only came across it halfway through pregnancy, and it's still helped me immeasurably. By 20 weeks I'd put on 20lbs and felt stiff, achy, huge and miserable, dreading how much worse I was going to get. I took the advice in Gowri's book and now at 32 weeks, I'm exactly the same weight I was at 20 weeks, but toned, supple and healthy, and people are always raving about how well and in what good shape I look. All thanks to Gowri!

I cut out wheat/gluten and sugar, milk, etc. I haven't found I need a personal chef to cater for a gluten-free diet, as one reviewer complained: I just stopped buying bread, crumpets, wheat pasta, etc. I eat muesli with rice milk, corn crispbreads, avocados, quinoa, vegetables, prunes, figs, chicken, fish. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I haven't needed a fancy specialist food shop and I haven't forked out for fancy practitioners. Sainsbury's and Holland & Barrett have stocked the food I've needed. I get up early and do an hour of yoga every day (in the living room, to Shiva Rea's Pre-natal DVD), I walk briskly whenever I have to walk anywhere and I meditate last thing before bed to prepare my mind to relax for childbirth. I haven't had any creative healing, reflexology or homeopathy, but I don't feel I need to - the diet and yoga are enough to make me feel fabulous. I've gone from creaking and huffing and puffing to running up escalators and taking stairs two at a time again. My baby's fit and healthy, a good weight, moving a lot and my pregnancy is complication-free, and I can't ask for any more than that. I can't recommend this book enough.
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on 15 January 2009
I read this book with my first child and it was difficult to follow the diet, I spent most of the time feeling guilty for not having the will of iron to go against every craving my body had. I did however try my best to stick to the diet most of the time and I had reflexology and healing and did the hypnosis pretty much everyday in the third trimester. I suppose, I really did think that by doing all of the above I would have a labour that was without pain. In a way, it was a form of denial, so that when the first real contractions hit I had the shock of my life. My labour was much longer than I had expected and it wasn't gentle, it ended in a ventuse delivery. Like one other reviewer, I felt I had done something wrong, I felt I had let myself and my baby down, when I hadn't had the gentle birth I had been so focused on. The book certainly has it's good points by all means buy it, but don't get too hung up on following someones rules, at the expense of tuning in to your body and listening to your intuition. I am pregnant again and this time, I will approach the whole thing more realistically, it may be gentle, it may hurt like hell but the great thing is I'll soon forget it all when I am holding my baby in my arms.
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on 4 July 2011
I bought this book on the recommendation of one of my clients. When I scanned through it seemed to have a lot of very useful information - and it does. Where it falls short is that there is not index to take you direct to a specific topic. For instance if you particularly wanted to know about the recommended tissue salts then you have to either know where it is in the book or scoure the book - you cannot go to an index and quickly find that specific topic. Basically you have to read to book from cover to cover and put tabs on the pages that are of particular interest or use so not that user friendly. More importantly there is a huge error in the book which is quite serious - she refers to the tissue salts in the dose of 6c - it should read 6x. These doses are significantly different - 6c is much higher than 6x!!! I think the book needs to be seriously reviewed.
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on 5 January 2012
I bought this book years ago, my Mother had seen an article in the paper about Dr Gowri Motha, I had kept it in the hope that I would one day need some guidance. I followed the book during my first pregnancy ... although not entirely to the letter, I watched my food intake eating moderately and looked after myself. I remember reading the words, 'you wouldn't run a marathon without preparing for it', it made perfect sense. How could our bodies go through hours and hours of labour stressfree without preparation?
I was sent for extra scans because I had a small bump, but our baby arrived at the perfect size for me 7lbs and I was straight back in to my pre-pregnancy clothes. The labour was wonderful, I wasn't at all apprehensive and our daughter was born at home as we planned.
I followed it again through my second pregnancy and again I had a small bump, a perfect size son born at home and I was straight back in to my own clothes.
My children are extremely healthy and happy, I attribute much to the wonderful start they had to life.
I have raved about this book for years, recommending it to everybody. Now I'm preparing for my third pregnancy and I will have the book by my side once again.
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on 8 September 2013
While pregnant I've really only read two books specifically about preparation for birth. One was written by Ina May and was very good, and the second is this one. In short, this book was not for me. It reads like a daily to-do (and to-not-do) list that I think I would be driving myself mad with had I decided to try and follow it. If you're a little neurotic and like to be told what to do, this book is for you. If you're not, I wouldn't bother with it.

Saying that, there were some good takeaways:
- Walk for 20 mins every day.
- Practice prenatal yoga.
- Cut out (or down on) wheat. (I've tried to be more conscious of the wheat products I eat and have found it beneficial for my struggling digestive system. Though I lasted just one day trying to cut them out.)

Actually, the most useful information in the book is available for free on the author's website, so unless you really want a step by step, week by week itinerary to guide you through your entire pregnancy, I'd just get the (mostly common sense) diet and exercise info from the website and skip the book.
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on 25 January 2014
I purchased this book in my second month of pregnancy, and overall, I think it is a superb book for a mum to be. I felt very strongly about researching as much as I could about giving birth and what my options would be. I wanted to retain as much control as possible so that I didn't fall into blind panic, and this book really helped me prepare.

The diet is fairly easy to follow in my opinion. Cut out a lot of unnecessary carbs, such as bread and white, beige food (already known to be bad for you). It gives a list of food to avoid such as preserved meats, red meat, and certain fruits that are high in sugar like mangoes. Good foods include brown rice, steamed veg, chicken, pears, fish etc. i tried to stick to the guidelines as much as possible, although I struggled to cut out sugar completely as I developed one helluva sweet tooth during pregnancy.

I tried to incorporate yoga as the book suggested. Although I like the idea of yoga in theory, in practice I find it very boring, and so I wasn't the best student. I stayed as active as I could though - brisk walks, always walked up escalators, took the stairs instead of the lift.

A lot of the recommendations could be expensive. Who has time and money for reflexology every week? Plus hypnobirthing classes or Jeyerani practices? I didn't incorporate hardly any of these practices (one reflexology appt at 40 weeks), neither did I do many of the visualisation techniques.

The book recommends massaging the perinueum, which I did from 35 weeks onwards with a little oilve oil after a bath each night.

The book recommends a few homeopathic herbs to take. I splurged a little and bought them direct from the Gentle Birth Method website - the salt programme, the Dhanwantaram pills, digestive enzymes, the Baladi Choornam drink, the herbal tea (false unicorn root, squaw vine leaves, cramp cut bark, raspberry leaf). From 30 weeks onwards, I also chose to take one raspberry leaf tablet, one evening primrose tablet, and two cups of raspberry leaf tea a day. This was not something specifically recommended from the book, rather a recommendation from my mum who took raspberry leaf with her pregnancies and had very fast labours.

So did it work?

In a nutshell, I think it definitely helped. Throughout my pregnancy I had a lot of energy and kept very flexible - I was scrubbing floors at full term, and could easily bend down to pick something up (which amazed my friends). I had to be induced as I went to 42 weeks, but my contractions started five minutes after having the pessary (very rare apparently), and my son was born exactly five hours later. I went from 4cm to 10cm in half hour, and the pushing stage took just twenty minutes. I think it was a combination of the homeopathic remedies, doing regular exercise, trying to eat a balanced diet without the bad stuff, and the raspberry leaf which helped me have a good labour with only gas and air for pain relief, and only a tiny tear.

I really think that researching as much as you can about the birth will help your frame of mind, and I think this book is well worth getting.
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on 15 November 2009
I bought this book at the start of my pregnancy as I wanted a home birth and knew I would have to be totally prepared in every way. This book did not let me down. I could not have wished for a more positive experience. From my waters breaking it was only three hours til I was cuddling my baby. I didn't need any pain relief so my baby latched on with ease. This book gave me the confidence and preparation to look forward to the birth rather than dread it which is I'm sure why I had it easy.
I didn't follow the book's advice to the letter as all the therapies are not available this far north and would've been too expensive for me. I did have reflexology at my home every week instead which controlled fluid retension and gave the baby more room. I followed the exercise examples in the book (even the embarrassing ones which stop you tearing), avoided wheat (wich bloats you making less room for baby to travel down birth canal) and refined sugar for the last two months which kept my weight healthy (was back in my jeans two weeks after birth). I listened to the complimenting c.d a few times and although it was relaxing the visualisions didn't do it for me. In the event I didn't have time to visualise anything!
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on 4 February 2009
I did not fully appreciate this book until i went to my gp, got assigned a midwife and had my first conversation about expecting! The info i received was SO basic and old school i neally fell off my chair. No real explanations to food, and althernative remedies that can actually lead to an easier delivery, healthy size baby and real preperation for the birth. Any one serious about a natural labour and a healthly 9 months should read this book. Gowri is a genius and the NHS could learn alot from her.
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