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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth Paperback – 7 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091924154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091924157
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


"Ina May Gaskin is a...treasure. In this invaluable guide her deep experience and profound insights are updated for a new generation and a new set of technologies. Indispensable!" (Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and Misconceptions)

"As a reproductive scientist as well as a medical practitioner, I can assure readers that everything Ina May presents in this book is based on the best scientific evidence. This book should be read by every woman...and by every midwife, nurse, doula, childbirth educator and doctor" (Dr Marsden Wagner, former Director of Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization)

"all we need to reconnect to the empowering beauty of childbirth that is woman's amazing gift for people-ing the earth. Few books have the potential to improve the life of everyone born on the planet. This one does" (Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple)

"intuitive and informative" (Yoga Magazine)

Book Description

Everything you need to know about the best birth experience for you, from America's leading midwife

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 26 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was only when reading this book that I reflected back to my daughter's birth 12 years ago, prior to which Ina May Gaskin's book Spiritual Midwifery had been my constant companion. Ms Gaskin reflects that so often for women in the civilized world, stories of births from friends and relatives are usually filled with intervention and problems. In my friends only one had a trouble free and easy birth - she went into hospital at 4am, gave birth at 6am and left the hospital at 9am. Other women had 28 -40 hour labours, caesarian's, inductions, forceps. I realised how true it was that we are surrounded by more stories of negative birth experiences, than positive ones. Reading Ina May's books you are immersed in stories of women who had positive birth experiences where they were surrounded by people who loved them, people who had been through the birth experiences successfully themselves and who, even in cases of previous ceasarians, twins births, breech births -which would normally require hospital intervention, gave birth normally and naturally without drugs or surgical intervention. A quick flick through hospital statistics shows that large hospitals have a much lower rate of normal births - about 40-60%(ie without drugs or intervention) than do smaller maternity units and community hospitals (with 90-100% natural births). Many commentators suggest that hospitals intervene too quickly when labour doesn't proceed quickly enough, - even to my dismay noting that some hospitals will now insist on drug induction when a woman passes her due date - when it used to be that the woman was allowed to proceed to 2 weeks post due date before induction. I cannot stress how highly Ms Gaskin's books moved me and how much I feel they have helped me in my own labour experiences. If you read only one book during your pregnancy - read either one of these two books.
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107 of 114 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
One of the very few stipulations my wife made after we learned we were going to have a child is that I read this book by the doyenne of natural childbirth in the U.S. While the tone of the book is much too touchy-feely/hippyish for me, I have to admit that it is well worth reading regardless of whether you're planning a natural childbirth or a fully tech'ed out hospital one. That said, it would be very easy to read it as gospel and get swept up in its giddy repudiation of modern medicine, so one should approach it with, if not a skeptical eye, at least with one's critical faculties fully engaged. There is also the potential that readers who are fully committed to a hospital birth may come away from this book feeling scolded, or as if their decision is somehow "wrong".

The author is a superstar in the field of natural childbirth, largely as a result of her 35+ years work at "The Farm", a kind of birthing commune in Tennessee. The first half of the book is a compilation of natural childbirth stories written by mothers who've either done it at The Farm, or somehow in conjunction with the author. While these are certainly useful as illustrative examples of how it all goes down, they tend to get rather repetitive and could certainly stand to be scaled back a bit. And for those who know little about the birthing process, some of the terminology can be unclear. Finally, for those who might want to read this book on the subway (like me), be forewarned that there are some pretty graphic photos of childbirthing in this section.

The second half of the book walks the reader through the entire process, mostly with the aim of explaining why modern medical childbirthing procedures are not based on the mother's health and needs, but are designed for convenience of the medical establishment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 10 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Even if I didn't agree with everything in this book, I found it greatly encouraging and feel a lot more confident and less fearful about giving birth. That said, I can see how some people can find aspects of this book more scary than helpful. I feel very fortunate that I live in the UK, where the midwifery model is practised, and where a lot of the things that Ina May advocates (active birth, eating and drinking while in labour, skin-to-skin contact, a home-like environment, etc) are standard practice, even in hospitals. Providing that you're having a low-risk pregnancy, you have a choice of giving birth in a hospital, at home or in a birthing centre--even if you're a first-time mum--and you'll be attended by NHS midwives in each situation. Even in hospitals, water births and aromatherapy are available for use, and gas and air (the one form of medical pain relief that Ina May seemed to approve of) is available at all births. Basically, I was already well on the way to having an Ina May-style birth long before I even picked up this book.

That said, some of the birthing stories in this book were a little too hippyish, even for me. Even if there were some stories that made me shake my head and think, "Even if I'm desperate, I'm not sure if I could try that", it was encouraging to read so many stories from women who wanted to share their birthing experiences. Since most of these stories took place in homes or birthing centres, I found it encouraging to be continually reminded of the importance of a comfortable, relaxed environment, and being surrounded by people who share your hopes for that type of birthing experience. The main reason my husband and I are hoping to have a home birth is because it seems like the most relaxed, stress-free option for us.
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