9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2010
This book is not just a book explaining wonderful natural techniques for giving birth..it gives you freedom from the fear of childbirth. All my life I have feared the whole process of childbirth and was worried that when I became pregnant one day that my fear of the labour and transistion would ruin my experience of the pregnancy. Then my friend bought me this book and it has all changed. Ina May Gaskin is an inspirational midwife that teaches us that the human species has been conditioned to believe that childbirth is full of pain and alarm. There is way too much intervention in today's hospital births and when childbirth is approached with the understanding that it is a completely natural and amazing happening, then a person can realise that the great deal of pain felt is due to being scared, up-tight and not relaxing the body enough to allow the opening to happen. Also, contractions are described as 'rushes' and this seems to make complete sense. You'll see why when you read this book! Its a precious must have to every pregnant woman and you won't regret being introduced to the wonderful Ina May Gaskin :o)
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2001
I read first this book as a student midwife about 2o years ago. It gives a brilliant insight into what women should be able to acheive. The fact that it is at variance to the normal birthing process in the western world is proof that we don't do it right, not proof that it's too old fashioned or hippy-ish. Read this book and trust that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2012
I have read this book through all three of my pregnancies and can credit it with my fear free, drug free, home birth experiences. It takes a while to wrap your head around the hippy references but throw yourself into it and it could fundamentally change the way you consider childbirth and parenthood. Once you realise its something you are doing instead of having done to you and enjoy the journey you can honestly have a positive labour and birth which will leave you feeling like Superwoman. I thoroughly recommend.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2008
once you get past the hippy terminology of the book and into the purpose of the book you will want to read it, remember it and loan it to all of your pregnant friends. This book along with my midwife helped me realise that birth was a natural thing for a woman to do and something that shouldnt be feared. My husband was amazed that his control freak wife was happy to give birth at home without pain relief except water (pool), I am not saying that things didnt hurt because trust me they do but having it in the back of your mind that you are capable and built to give birth helps loads. I am now pregnant with number two and have bought her new book and everything allowing will attempt the home birth again!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2004
This book is one for those who are willing to be open minded and to learn from people who have become expert in regaining natural birth amongst their community. They are NOT taking drugs as is implied by one reviewer they merely call contractions 'rushes'. It is very inspiring. i think that one of the greatest gifts a midwife can give a woman in labour is her faith that every woman is capable of becoming a birth goddess in their own right.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2006
If you can look beyond the very "hippyish" language (a sigh of the times!) this book is a truly fabulous piece of work, and an inspiration to midwives and mothers alike. Yes, its slightly dated, but the actual purpose, to show women as capable of birthing their babies and to make us all consider the effect of medicalisation on childbirth are still very relevant.
I would recommed all those working in, and expecting a baby in countries who have taken over childbirth as a medical event read this and other similar texts to reevaluate which outlook is really the most "advanced".
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2010
A friend told me at 37 weeks pregnant with my first child that giving birth was like being hit in the vagina with a base ball bat. Luckily another friend recommended this book. I couldn't believe that what Ina May wrote back in the day would actually happen during my 'labour' but it changed my way of thinking and I can honestly say giving birth was the best, and most transcendental experience of my life. Thank you Ina May Gaskin.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2010
I first read this fascinating book in 1982, when I was a midwife myself doing an advanced course. I don't think I would have stuck with it when I was a student midwife - it would have come a bit strange to a callow young Brit. With a bit more maturity I found some superb insights.
Ina-May thinks midwives should have had babies themselves. I've never had a child, so that puts a bit of emotional distance between myself and the book. She may well be right - I have no way of telling. She writes for those giving birth, and practicing midwifery, in a commune in Kentucky. I work in an NHS
Trust in the English midlands. I'd love to go to Kentucky, but it isn't going to happen! There is a certain sense of being in another world when reading this book.
Apparently there are no midwives in America (at least, I don't think there were when this book was written), so Ina-May writes to educate lay people as midwives, telling them what she thinks they ought to know. It's interesting to find out what she chooses to include.
First it is supremely noteworthy that she writes a single textbook for both parents and midwives (although she includes further reading suggestions for the latter). If you go into a bookshop in England, you might find highly technical books for the professionals, and much "softer" books for their patients. In this book, both groups are encouraged to use the same language, and language is power! If you use the same language as the patient, you are on the same level; you have no secrets from one another. You don't talk down to them. It is a sign of mutual respect. For example, I think she calls the woman's perineum her "fanny", and encourages the midwife to use that term, because it is "more friendly". I can't imagine any of my midwifery tutors telling me to ignore Maggie Miles and call the perineum the fanny! The word fanny sounds wierd and dated to me, but that's not the point. They're encouraged to use the same language, and that shows a profound insight into human interaction.
I found some of the other things she teaches midwives to be a source of admiration tinged with black humour. In one place she tells them how to give an injection. Injections, dear reader, are not difficult to give, but she's writing for real novices. But then she tells the same novices how to reduce an inverted uterus! This is extremely rare, but a major emergency - while the placenta is being delivered the womb drops through the vagina and turns inside out, and since that means it can't contract, the the placental site is likely to bleed massively and the patient exsanguinate, so you have absolutely no time to mess up this difficult procedure. I think if I was this midwife, I'd die of heart failure - talk about a crash course!!
Another bit that reduced me to tears was her advice about a midwife's priorities. Once she agrees with a family that she will help at the birthing, she has to put the needs of that family absolutely first - ahead of any needs of her own or of her own family. If you tell a mother you'll deliver her baby, that's it! Unless you actually drop dead first, you'll be there. What's more, I get the impression that she really means it, and so do her midwives. It isn't a pious exhortation, it's for real.
As a midwife reading this book I didn't learn how to do any procedures I didn't already know. In many ways I didn't find it all that progressive, even then. I can't say how it would read to a pregnant woman, never having been one myself. But the attitudes it proposes are staggering and humbling. I wish I measured up to them.
on 4 June 2014
In an age where woman are taught to fear birth and distrust their bodies, Ina May is the shining light of empowerment! Yes, you do have to get past some of the hippy lingo but I have thoroughly enjoyed this book (and her birth preparation guide) and think it is a must read for any pregnant woman......especially those who want to avoid over medicalisation.