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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2013
Quite outdated references and I suspect therefore not current information. Latest reference was 2001 that I could find. A lot of the book really doesn't relate to British women's experience of birth within the NHS, which is predominantly midwife driven. A lot of the information regarding interventions seems just there to at best make you feel bad for not doing without them and at worst terrifying you with every possible (regardless of how unlikely) complication associated with them. This book does not give a realistic view of childbirth as things can and do get messy and complicated, no matter how well you breath and visualise your 'yoni' opening! Yes, you will come across that ridiculous language. I read the second half first, which seemed to have the 'technical' stuff in it and then went back to the birth stories. I couldn't finish the birth stories after reading one where a 2 week post-partum woman got into bed, naked, with a naked labouring woman to help her... At that point I felt I'd read enough and shut it. Permanently. A much better, up to date, British written book would be Nicole Croft, Good Birth Guide.
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on 21 January 2013
With all the respect and gratitude I feel towards Ina-May, it has to be said that this is not a guide. Apart from the stories in the first part, it's more like a rant at the American medical system. Even though I agree with what Ina-May says about this and about the alternative methods she is practising, I am disappointed as I bought the book thinking that it was a guide. Luckily I previously read another book that was a real guide The Good Birth Companion: A Practical Guide to Having the Best Labour and Birth which I recommend to anyone who is facing the same issue.
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on 31 October 2015
Really good for the positive birth stories it contains - all too often the stories you hear are very negative and scary. Positive stories can help restore your confidence in yourself to be able to give birth. A fear of pain in labour will lead to tensing, making it worse, so this can only help to dispel the fear (it did for me anyway)
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on 5 January 2015
This is a good resource for those expecting.... just don't expect your husband to read it. It makes good logical sense and has many good pointers. The quality of writing is great. But it was just a bit hippy for my tastes personally. I don't expect labour to be pain free, ecstatic and orgasmic as suggested by the book! Guess I am more of a practical person. The first half of the book is dedicated to stories - these are helpful for a first time expectant parent. Ina May is clearly an authority but if you are boxed in by NHS choices, the book isn't too terribly helpful because there of course aren't choices such as the Farm here...
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on 20 July 2015
The BEST BIRTH BOOK! I bought "what to expect when you're expecting" when I found out I was pregnant and it's awful, full of medical stuff and I found it terribly condescending. Ina May's book is truly uplifting and informative about birth. I recommend it to everyone I know. My husband even read it while I was pregnant and was such an amazing birth partner.
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on 25 January 2007
I don't do reviews but I need to advise you all to read this book. You simply can't put it down. Anyone using the NHS to give birth should empower themselves by knowing the options they have available to them and not just have these decisions dictated to them (however well intentioned this may be) I'm not saying I will now have the perfect birthing scenario but I reckon by reading this book I have less chance of being bullied or blinded by procedure in the hospital into a decision i later regret. all in all a fantastic read.
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on 15 December 2010
I bought this book, hoping 2 learn more about the anatomy of childbirth as well as practical ways 2 cope with natural childbirth. On reading this book, I felt that it was like a cult!! The authors continuously made any other way of giving birth sound like a failure! They only really talked about birth on 'the farm' and for me there was no practical advice that I could take from this. On the plus side, some of the birth stories were quite interesting but ALL were pretty much worshiping these midwives as all had given birth on the farm. It wouldve been nice 2 hear frm women who had had hospital or home births. Most of this book made me feel uncomfortable (one of the 'helpers' got in to bed naked with a labouring woman who was also naked)and a whole chapter on orgasm during childbirth, didn't really float my boat, infact I stopped readin at this point!

If you are lookin 4 alternative ways to view childbirth then this book may well be for you. As someone who just wanted a practical guide to childbirth and NOT a recruitment manual to 'the farm' it was no use what so ever!!
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on 16 June 2014
I completely agree, every pregnant women or women trying to conceive should read this book.

Honestly, when I began reading this book, i wasn't to sure, some of the birth stories were lovely, but some I felt were very 'hippy' like, especially some which were from the 60's and 70's - But persist, many of the stories were invigorating and eye opening, even the ones I skimmed as I didn't think were from me. However the second part of this book is fabulous, so true and so much of what Ina May highlights and researches can be used in every day life not just in child birth. It is all about the NATURAL POWER of the human body…. Ladies we were made to give birth, our bodies can do it!!!

I really wanted to have a natural birth in a birthing centre, but was nervous of the 'what might happen if?' scenario, especially with so many people always happy to tell you their personal horror stories - I can honestly say that this booked has made that fear completely go away, in fact I am more concerned about having to go to hospital. Friends and in laws think my desire to do things naturally is selfish, but i feel I am being selfless and putting my baby first, I know I won't be in danger, the midwives would never let that happen.

There were times however when I felt the enthuses on natural births, made all other options 'The wrong choice', do understand that is how I read it, more than the way it is written. Ina may does highlight this book is to ensure were are informed with the information to allow us to make our own decisions, not to scare! It certainly does open your eyes to the reality of things.

My husband also read several chapters of this book and found it well written and his words 'interesting and it all makes sense'

Again, highly recommended and I wish I could meet this lady herself, true inspiration.
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on 3 April 2007
I live in England now, but I grew up about 10 miles from The Farm, where Ina May practices. It was quite strange to read about my rural Tennessee home in the birth stories and to see labour pictures of someone who was a guest at my wedding!

That aside - I found this an incredible empowering book and I feel so much more calm and confident about my impending labour.

Yes, the folks on the Farm are hippies - and yes, that philosophy does come through, but it's not done in an annoying way - and just because they're a bit touchy feely doesn't mean that her findings aren't based on empirical research. This book is a very easy read , too - clearly written, not patronising and not too complex or jargonistic..

I highly recommend this book.
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on 29 July 2014
Loved this book even though my birth outcome was incredibly different to the one I had dreamed of after reading!

Even my husband read it and found it fascinating, it gave us both some good tips for labour which we tried to put into practice.

A must for anyone studying midwifery too - I think a touch of Ina May would go a long way!

Some of the birth stories were fascinating and did help prepare me for labour, I almost looked forward to it after reading the stories and Ina May's theory.
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