Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

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Product Description

What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you.

Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:• Reducing the pain of labor without drugs--and the miraculous roles touch and massage play

• What really happens during labor
• Orgasmic birth--making birth pleasurable
• Episiotomy--is it really necessary?
• Common methods of inducing labor--and which to avoid at all costs
• Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
• How to avoid postpartum bleeding--and depression
• The risks of anesthesia and cesareans--what your doctor
doesn’t necessarily tell you
• The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
• How to create a safe, comfortable environment for
birth in any setting, including a hospital
• And much more

Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

Customer Reviews:

  • A must have for expecting mothers
    My doula recommended this book to me and I have since bought it for other dear friends/relatives who are expecting. This book will put any anxiety you may have of childbirth at ease to a great, but real extent. The author gives many case by case birthing stories which allowed me to more tangibly realize that women do this every day and have since the beginning of time. I highly recommend it!...more info
  • the good and the bad
    The first half of this book was inspiring, uplifting, educational, eye-opening. I found it to most helpful in trying to understand our misconceptions about what child birth really entails. However, the second half, though meant to be for awareness of all possibilities during labor and birth, seemed to emphasize the "sensational" aspects of all that could go wrong. This is best left to the doctors and hospitals who want to keep you in the dark so that they can more easily and time-efficiently "process" you through your labor and delivery.
    I HIGHLY recommend reading the first part of this book, especially if you are a grandparent-to-be and your offspring has chosen to give birth naturally....more info
  • Another Great Book!
    Ina May has written another great book that makes childbirth seem so natural and empowering, as opposed to a common misconception that it is painful and women should not have to endure the pain. This book helps you realize how powerful the female body truly is. I have already recommended this book to many friends and family of the childbearing age. Whether or not you choose to go natural, I think the book is useful in shedding light on the unique ability our bodies have to birth a baby!...more info
  • This mom-to-be found this book invaluable
    Ina May Gaskin is amazing. The strategies offered in her book for dealing with labor pains, discomfort, and anxiety surrounding birth are some of my most favorite bits of knowledge picked up in the past 5 months preparing for the birth of my first child. I'm planning on a natural birth at a birth center with a midwife. It is attached to a hospital and there are Ob/GYNs on call at all times. I feel more confident in my ability to complete a natural birth (I'm healthy with no risk factors that would neccessitate medical intervention) with the knowledge that Ina May's book has given me. ...more info
  • A must if considering natural birth!
    As a first time mother it can easier to commit to the idea of a natural birth than to understand what it means, how it will work, what to expect. The birth stories in the first part of this book are invaluable to any woman considering natural birth for the first time. They are varied, empowering and offer a sort of "proof" that if other women can do it--so can I. I also appreciated Ina May's insight about the birth process, ways to possibly accelerate labor, and medical interventions from a midwife's point of view. I am birthing in a hospital, have read several natural birth books, hired a doula and am taking Bradley classes. Ina May's book has most of the same information as the other books, but her book also inspires, comforts, reduces fears and empowered me to strive for natural birth I know I am capable of providing for my child....more info
  • Wish I'd read this book during my first pregnancy!
    Even if giving birth outside a hospital just doesn't seem like you (or me), keep reading this book. Ina May's "Guide" is well written, with interesting history, and aware of today's trends. Every woman and birth is different, and every woman in this book is capable of more than you (or often she) can imagine. The first half of the book is birth stories- and the second half is Ina May's detailed explanation of the birth process and options. Now I know exactly why my own labor "failed to progress" -I was scared! And each of my secret fears were addressed in this book. Learn what a good midwife could do for you and what your body really could be capable of when you believe in yourself. I wish I had read this book during my first pregnancy!! Women centered birth makes so much sense- but change isn't going to come from the midwives- change can only happen when mothers make that choice. We mothers need to become aware that we always have options- knowledge overcomes fear. Ina May is an experienced and well-spoken midwife who reached through the pages to make a difference to me. ...more info
    I read this book 3 times while pregnant......I could go on forever but I'm too busy with the baby. This book is the best book you will ever is inspirational and gives you a positive outlook on pregnancy, delivery and what woman's bodies are capable of (even if you don't do natural) its a VERY VERY important book to read!!! ...more info
  • read this book!
    this is sort of a part two of spiritual midwifery. what is nice about it is that she includes many more recent stories of births on the farm (including the story of an obstetrician couple who wanted a natural birth. interestingly, they were among the most fearful couples that she has ever worked with) and a pretty thorough description of labor and delivery. it is full of useful information and things that to try in labor that have proved successful for women time after time in her practice. invaluable....more info
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
    This is great book for folks who would like to contemplate opting for a birth experience that occurs in a holistic and non-hospital setting. Through the use of many stories -- told in first person by women who were assisted in delivering by Ina Mae or her colleagues -- and a clear discussion of how the body can be aided (or thwarted) during labor, Ina Mae helps demysticize and demedicalize the process and thereby empowers the
    reader to make an informed choice about the way that they want to bring their child(ren) into the world. ...more info
  • Birth with confidence
    A friend lent me a copy of this book when I was pregnant with my first baby. I had a 38 hour labour and was able to endure through it with confidence due to having read this book. I also managed to get through with only having a little gas at the end and even then only needed it for 1/2 hour or so just to give me a breather before pushing. What I read in this book helped me to breath through each stage of labour understanding what was happening to me and knowing that it was normal and that this is something I could do. Although it took a little to understand what was needed to push my bub out she was out in no time at all. Highly recommend this book if you are about to have a baby....more info
  • A Must Read!
    Great information. Ina May retells stories from natural births at the Farm. I had never heard of the orgasmic delivery. Women need this book to remember the power of the human female body and to rebalance the emphasis toward more and more medical intervention in labor and delivery; to rebalance the high level of fear about labor and delivery. Great stories at the beginning and fantastic information at the second half of the book! Be sure to read it all. Also, see Ricki Lake's documentary - 'The Business of Being Born' - showing real home births and the history & progression of labor & delivery from natural to hospital. The greatest thing about the movie is that the last birth did not go smoothly, so it has the perfect balance showing when we are so lucky that medical intervention is available and capable, but reminding us that it is not necessary for every birth! - Surgery is there to save lives, not to placate fear. We are more capable than even we know!...more info
  • One of the best books I've read!!!
    If you want to read a book about birthing that is not going to scare you, but encourage you this is it!!! The book opens with stories of women's home birth experiences, said in their own words. Every woman had a different experience, but everyone was very encouraging.
    The second half of the book, Ina May talks about birth in hospital as oposed to home. I think she rants just a little in this section, but she has great information.
    I had a hospital birth with no medication or IV's and everything went beautifully. The inspiration, encouragement and empowerment I received as a result of reading this book helped me focus on what I wanted and how to achieve that in the birthing process. Good luck to you as you go through this great experience, this book will help!...more info
  • Best Birth Book I've Read
    This is a wonderful book about birth. Easy to read and filled with stories to keep it from being technical or dry. Ina May has such confidence in a woman's ability to birth. It is very inspiring to me and I believe would be for any pregnant woman. I wish I had read this in my first pregnancy, not for the first time in my third pregnancy.

    Ina May does practice as a home birth midwife, but she also gives good advice and consideration to the woman who has chosen to birth in the hospital. She does not try to drive home a point about where a woman should birth, but does give a lot of useful advice about how to most effectively cope with the physical and emotional demands of labor and birth. She explains in detail the connection between mind and body, how positive thoughts and continuous, loving support can help a woman's body achieve labor and birth in the way her body is designed. Her stories and the collection of birth stories of many women balance all the "fear stories" about birth in our culture. The "fear stories" that tell women over and over that expert medical personnel and advanced medical equipment are necessary for a safe birth, are quietly and confidently dispelled by all the positive, peaceful stories that Ina May shares....more info
  • This book can help you avoid the slippery slope to a c-section
    I loved, loved, loved this book. I read it to prepare for the natural birth of my second child (vaginal breech), and then again to prepare for the natural birth of my third. I chose to have all three in the hospital, and wanted to avoid the slippery slope to a c-section. At Virginia Hospital Center (Arlington) and Inova Fairfax Hospital, where my children were born, the c-section rates are 40%. How is this acceptable?? C-sections are major surgery.

    Inductions start the slippery slope. Few women can or choose to cope with pitocin-induced contractions, so an induction almost always means an epidural, which means no early laboring in the comfort of your home, no moving around, and the inability to get into positions that help the baby descend. Pitocin can also affect the unborn baby's heart rate, which causes great concern to all, OB included. So the baby either does not arrive quickly enough or goes into crisis, and the result is a c-section.

    Epidurals and c-sections both negatively affect the chance of baby breastfeeding well early on, which means baby is given formula in the hospital and early days post-birth - another slippery slope, this time to early weaning. With strong evidence that breastfed babies have higher IQs, fewer allergies, get sick less often and less severely, have decreased rates of SIDS, etc., this is no small matter. "The AAP Section on Breastfeeding, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, and many other health organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.";115/2/496 Also see for lots of great breastfeeding advice and info.

    This book will give you the information you need to trust your body to give birth naturally. The birth stories at the beginning will help you to see that there are a wide range of "normal" births, both in terms of duration of labor and pain. Many coping strategies are discussed, along with the overarching theme that birth is a natural process. The pain of natural birth is not like the pain of an injury or something gone wrong. It has a purpose, and this book will help you learn to surrender to the purpose, rather than fight against it.

    PS You probably can't hire Ina May, but you should hire a doula or at least find a friend who has given birth naturally to help coach you and support you through your labor.
    ...more info
  • Excellent!
    My midwife handed me this book at my 38 week appointment and said, "This is a new book. Check it out". The birth stories initially got me interested in reading it and from there I was hooked- I couldn't put it down! This is my second natural birth at a birthing center, and even though I "know" what to expect, I loved reading this book and looked to it as a sort of refresher/reminder of what I want for this birth. It is chock full of excellent information for those wanting to take control of their birth experiences, and not be subjected to unnecessary and unnatural interventions that so many hospitals use these days. If you already have the mindset that birth is normal and natural and usually doesn't need a lot of interventions, the book will just reiterate your belief. If you're new to the realm of natural birth and midwifery this book will open your eyes!...more info
  • A Must Read for mom's and dad's to-be!
    I can't believe that it took me so long to read this book. This is truly one of the best "childbirth" books that I have ever read. My husband read the book right after I finished it! He loved it. I have been encouraging all of my pregnant friends to read this book, even if they don't want to have a "natural childbirth". I also just finished reading Spiritual Midwifery. Buy that book next!...more info
  • birth book
    Great reading material for info on natural birth stories and this book really promotes midwifery as the way to go for giving birth....more info
  • Must have for anyone that is pregnant
    Absolutely a must have. Very informative and down to earth!
    I wish I would have bought the book early on in my pregnancy! Will forward this book on to a fellow co-worker at work!...more info
  • Bible of all birth books
    Even if I was never to have children, this would be in my all time top 10 books to read. Not only did this book set the tone for my pregnancy by keeping me positive about what's around the corner (not scared to death of the impending labor pain), it also gave my husband a wonderful introduction of what to expect for our first. I plan to re-read it in my 8th month too. I have purchased many other books but this one is still by far the best!...more info
  • Powerful!!
    I have read countless books on pregnancy & childbirth but have never enjoyed one quite as much as this one. It was extremely informational, encouraging and empowering to any woman who has been previously convinced by society and the US medical system that her body is somehow broken and incapable of NORMAL birth. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Excellent!!...more info
  • Not the best book for someone having a hospital birth
    Positives -For the very few who are going to have a home birth this book is ideal. The book is beautiful in the sense that it puts us back in touch with the fact that nature built us to have babies and emphasizes the sheer beauty of childbirth.
    Negatives - On the other hand, a significant part of the book is dedicated to home births therefore, it left me quite disinterested after numerous home birth stories and techniques knowing that this will not be my experience. Many of the mothers who shared their birth stories were quite antagonistic at times when mentioning their experience with hospitals and doctors. This, I feel, is not a healthy mind set for the average first time mom giving birth in the average hospital these days.

    In hindsight, after having given birth without using the epidural, I realize that this book does give you many techniques on achieving the proper mindset for a natural childbirth. However, I recommend skimming the first half of the book (the birth stories) and getting right to the the second half which is authored by Ina May. She is not as anti-hospital birth as some of those who share their birth stories seem to be. If I had to rate just her half of the book I would give it 4 stars or maybe even 5 just for the originality of some of the information she highlights (the chapter, weirdly enough, on sphincters is fascinating stuff!). ...more info
  • The "it" book for natural childbirth
    Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is really the best book I have bought in preparing me mentally for childbirth. It can be graphic with the images and the emotional pain (remembering and overcoming old wounds) that women go through during childbirth. But the tone of the book is very positive and celebratory. Even the words she uses to describe labor pains is empowering. I found it very helpful for getting me over my fears of labor and knowing that my body is strong and very capable of this natural process. ...more info
  • A must read for any pregnant woman.
    As a first time mom preparing for natural childbirth (that's drug free, not just vaginal) I found this book to be very inspiring and it helped me to have confidence in my body. These days women are taught that they aren't capable of having a baby without all of the latest medical interventions and drugs available. I have always felt that childbirth is a natural process but doctors treat pregnant women like they are sick and childbirth is treated as a dangerous event in which the mother and child need to be rescued from one another. The first half of this book has great natural childbirth stories written by mothers and it has given me invaluable information to use for my own impending birth. I am reading it a second time now and hi-lighting passages that I want to remember. The second half of the book is about the medical procedures that are commonly used in the United States and how much more dangerous they are than what we are led to believe. How can The United States of America have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world? While all of these birth stories happen outside of a hospital there is still a great deal of information and confidence to be had if you are going to be giving birth in a hospital with a doctor. Take control of your birth experience because it is a miracle whether it is treated as such in the hospital or not....more info
  • This book was a real eye-opener to me
    I was not aware of much contained in this book prior to reading it. I had only ever experienced a highly medicalized birth (a cesarean) and I read this book during my second pregnancy.

    I only wish I had read this earlier in my pregnancy - it might have ended up much less emotionally and mentally traumatic for me.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who might consider having a child (or another) at any point. If nothing else, it stands as a good education to what could possibly be. ...more info
  • a little hippie, a lot of great information
    Solid, great book on what birthing should be. There is a little bit of the hippie in here - be warned. The first section talks about some wonderful child birthing experiences. These really set the tone for the book and help explain the idea of being calm, not scared and finding what's the right way to put the mom at ease.

    The second section is the practical, what to do, look for, ask for and expect for your birth. Its no nonsense and to the point.

    Overall its very little and the book is filled with information you want to know before you go in for childbirth. In fact it will help you pick the right people and place for your birth ...more info
  • Encouraging book but not that practical
    The first half of this book is just short birthing stories--which becomes very tedious to read straight through. The stories are interesting but completely anecdotal. The second half of the book gives very generalized information on natural birth. Despite being a physician myself at a university based practice, I thoroughly believe in the power of natural childbirth. This book is encouraging but honestly not really adequate in terms of the practical information. I give it 5 stars in terms of illustrating and reassuring that natural childbirth can be accomplished safely...but again only 3 stars if you are looking for a true guide to giving birth naturally....more info
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
    This is an excellent book for anyone keen to have a drug free birth. The first half of the book is full of positive stories of childbirth, people who have given birth with the help of Ina May and her associates. It makes a nice change from the horror stories we are confronted with every day. The second half of the book will help you understand your body during the final stage of pregnancy and childbirth. There are lots of tips to help you achieve a drug free birth. This is not alternative mumbo-jumbo, this is good, common sense....more info
  • The simplicity of what we complicate
    I was beginning to doubt whether I would be able to give birth to my first baby without pain medications when I started to read this book. I found the birthing stories to be reassuring and empowering; they helped me reconnect with my body and its ability to do what it is designed to do.

    As a society, I think we have a tendency to stay in our heads and analyse every situation whether it's appropriate or not. When it comes to something as natural as having a baby, I would rather analyse less and trust my body's innate ability more. The two sections of this book were a perfect combination for me to learn to trust my body again....more info
  • natural or not- this is a must read
    i absolutely adore this book. any time a friend tells me she's pregnant i get this book for her. this book not only took away any fears i had of labor and birth, it made me truly excited about giving birth. i read every pregnancy, labor and birthing book under the sun- not a single one compares. although ina may gaskin is so pro-natural birth, even a woman who is considering using pain medication should read it. you will have such a profound respect for your body afterwards. highly, highly recommended. ...more info
  • positive information
    don't read the crap that OB's and doctors are handing out telling women that if their labor doesn't fit nicely into their schedule and goes according to a generic time limit they'll have to have a c-section. giving birth is an empowering experience that can be ENJOYED and NOT FEARED. ina may helps inform you of the possibilities in childbirth so you can explore your options and also know what to expect. fast, easy reading....more info
  • Worth More than 5 Stars!!
    I cannot even begin to say how amazing this book is! After reading it, I felt as though I could do anything -- most of all, birth my child without the necessity of drugs or other interventions. The birth stories are empowering and the description of how the female body works to birth her baby is so vivid that no pictures are needed.

    I recommend this book to EVERY woman I meet that is pregnant and will continue to do so....more info
  • Not what I expected
    I bought this book based on all the glowing reviews. Since I plan to give birth naturally, I was looking for a book that would help me manage the labor and childbirth process in whatever environment I plan to give birth in. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in this book. I'll just do the review section by section to make this easier to follow.

    Part 1: Birth Stories- Most of the birth stories are from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. There were about 4 or 5 from this decade. I think childbirth has changed a lot since the 70s and would have preferred to read more up to date stories. All the stories are from people who have given birth on "The Farm". This gives the book a myopic view and makes many of the stories hard to relate to. I am sure they're intended to be empowering but firstly, giving birth on "The Farm" is not an option for me and many other women. In Georgia, midwives can only deliver babies in hospitals and I am not comfortable with the idea of an unassisted home birth. So, a hospital birth with a midwife is essentially my best option.

    Secondly, I am not the type of person that needs external validation or empowerment. I really felt that dedicating so much of the book (pages 3 through 125) to birth stories- especially birth stories that only reflected one type of birth experience- was a waste of space. A few varied birth stories would have been a lot more helpful and relevant.

    Part 2: The Essentials of Birth- This was probably the most disappointing part of the book. Ina May starts the chapter by trying to make the birth stories relevant to any birth situation without ever really saying HOW you can do that. She falls back on the experiences of women who give birth at the "Farm" as her proof that the same birth experience is possible in every environment. She also compares the "Farm's" birth statistics to those of the medical community at large. Again, if you're not giving birth at the "Farm", how is this relevant?

    There is a too short chapter on labor where the only advice she really gives on managing the pain of labor is the "mind/body" connection and how certain mental blocks can keep labor from progressing. While this may be true, this is not practical advice on how to cope with labor especially for a first time mother who has never been through labor before. She dedicates a full 7 pages to "What Happens in Labor". This is the whole reason why I bought the book and all I get is 7 pages of things that I already know. Not to mention the inordinate amount of space spent explaining the functions of the related body parts and what they do. If you didn't know what the uterus or the cervix was before reading this chapter, you'll get an overly-detailed description.

    The chapter called "The Pain/Pleasure Riddle" is essentially a lecture on how society has trained us to view the pain of childbirth. No practical advice...just quoting studies and comparing the birth experience of American women to those from other countries. We also learn in this chapter that women perceive pain differently (gasp!). Then she went on to discuss painless birth and orgasmic birth..all of which is apparently controlled by our minds. So, essentially, it hurts because we think it hurts. She then goes on to contradict herself by saying in the very next chapter that "the women from the Farm know that birth usually hurts--at least the first time you do it..." She follows with the most useful advice in the book by saying that despite the pain, the best thing to do is to relax into the pain rather than resist it. Finally, something I can use while I'm giving birth. The chapter on relaxing the sphincter muscles was also somewhat helpful.

    There is a chapter that attempts to explain the different screenings a pregnant woman may encounter during her prenatal care. I really think this kind of information is too little too late in a book that is supposed to be about the actual childbirth. The chapter entitled "Going into Labor" (19 pages) is essentially a comparison of how the midwives at the "Farm" handle labor and how hospitals handle labor. It tells you what procedures to refuse at the hospital (pubic shave, enema, routine IVs, etc...) Other than how necessary it is to eat and drink during labor to keep your energy up, there is no practical advice in this chapter either. The next few chapters briefly discuss pain medications traditionally given in hospitals during labor and some alternatives to those medications as well as episiotomies. The next chapters are basically more lectures, quoted studies, a 10 page section on VBACs, and very little practical advice.

    I honestly wanted to like this book but realized by the time I got to the end that it just was not written for the typical woman who is about to give birth. Ina May touts the virtues of giving birth on the "Farm" so much that by the end, I honestly felt that was the only way to have the birth experience she describes. I think one chapter dedicated to discussing the "Farm" would have been much more appropriate than mentioning it in just about every chapter. I also think the book would be better as a reference for midwives than as a book offering advice to mothers-to-be. There just is not a lot of practical advice for the person that actual has to go through the laboring process. I don't necessarily disagree with much of what Ina May wrote and I appreciate her efforts to back up her positions with factual information but it is pure overkill. She digresses way too much and comes off as though she has an ax to grind....more info
  • Best Natural Birth Book
    My wife and I loved Ina's book. We read a couple other books on natural child birth, and this one was the best. She had the most experience, and the stories she shares at the beginning of the book helped with our confidence levels. I recommend this book....more info
  • Great Resource for Positive Birth Stories!
    My midwife recommended this book to me when I switched from an OB (who wanted to induce me a week before my due date despite my insistance on a natural birth)to a midwife. I didn't realize that all the birth experiences I had heard from my friends were mostly traumatic, and I was more scared about labor than I wanted to admit. Ina May's book felt like it was written just for me to help me cope with my fears. The first part of the book is devoted to positive experiences. The women are all different and each experience is unique. There are big babies, little babies, complications, easy births, etc. Something to assuage every fear you have. I'm actually looking forward to labor now, and even if you're not 100% convinced that the all-natural way is for you, this is still a great resource to replace your fears with positive feelings that you can do this....more info
  • The best book to read while you are pregnant!
    This was the most inspirational book I have ever read on childbirth. I highly recommend that any expecting parent should read this book. It brings a new meaning to childbirth. It's meant to inspire a woman not make her fear the happiest day of her life!...more info
  • This book empowered me to have a homebirth with my first baby!
    Ina May is such a treasure to all women who want to give birth the way God intended, naturally! She lets you know that you can do it and it's not something to fear. There is a lot of great information about how conventional doctors deal with drugs and how dangerous they are.
    I attended a lecture where Ina spoke and she is just a wonderful informed human being.
    When you read her statistics about how The Farm has such a high natural birth rate, you know that you too can have a natural childbirth experience without drugs or at a sterile hospital.
    This is must read for all women who are pregnant or want to get pregnant and you have a low risk pregnancy....more info
  • Feel Your Power
    Ina May is in awe of the ability for women's bodies to give birth naturally. Reading this book will surely help inspire you to feel more confident with your body, and provide wisdom for the birth process. The energy of the book is steeped with care, gentleness and safety. Yes, we can give birth fearlessly. The book may also be titled, "many reasons to give birth at home with a midwife." It is clear by the statistics of birth at the Farm, that with care and intelligence, we can bring a majority of babies into the world naturally, without intervention. Almost half of the book is a careful selection of birth stories.

    I definitely recommend reading this book. The stories and wisdom will definitely help you prepare your self for birth.

    Review is by Ramiel Nagel author of Healing Our Children: Because Your New Baby Matters! Sacred Wisdom for Preconception, Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting (ages 0-6)...more info
  • Great Gift for Expecting Moms!
    I'm done having my children, but when my brother and her wife were expecting, I asked a doula friend to recommend a good book for them as they were being inundated with bad advice and birth stories. Not only did Ina May's book fit the bill, but it helped my sister-in-law have the confidence not only to have a safe, natural delivery, but also a WATER birth!! She read the book through twice before delivery she told me. I will definitely order this book again when gifting expecting parents. ...more info
  • Great BOOK!
    Has alot of great stuff in it. Two of our midwives were raised on the farm so it's nice to read about it....more info
  • Empowering with a balanced perspective
    I've heard it said that "pregnancy is like a disaster waiting to happen". Finally a book that brings peace of mind to us mothers-to-be; sweeping away our fears with positive birthing stories and putting medical facts into perspective. I am now empowered to know what questions to ask of my care provider, and what I will and will not tolerate during the birth of my unborn child - and why....more info
  • Thank you Ina May for the best birth book ever!
    I obviously don't need to write an extensive review with the amount already presented here. This is simply the best birth book available~ the only one you need to read. A lot of the stories brought forth so much emotion, in a good way. I also enjoyed Wise Woman Herbal for the Child Bearing Year, however, that book focuses mainly on nutritional herbs for pregnancy....more info
  • Empowering!
    I absolutely love this book. I find the birth stories to be empowering and the information provided to be relevant, true (I used to work in a hospital--I know what it is like!) and helpful. I definitely feel good about giving birth after reading this book because I now really believe that just like (other) animals, women, too, "know" how to give birth and can do so safely at home or in a birthing center.

    Even if you know that you are "high risk" and have to have a baby in the hospital (or if you choose to do so), the birthing stories would be very helpful to you. My favorite message from the book? The baby WILL come out. Never has a baby not come out. I haven't given birth yet, but I guess a lot of women reach a point in the birthing process (or pregnancy itself!) when they worry that they will be pregnant/in labor for ever. It seems like a silly, no-duh thought, but I think it would be helpful to be reminded of these things when it really counts!...more info
  • Wonderful!
    Ina May combines emotional support and education in this book. There is a section of birth stories from various women that will inspire you...that yes, natural childbirth is a beautiful, normal process our bodies are made to go through. She also covers all the facts you need to know in order to educate yourself about the various screening tests, procedures and equipment you might see in a hospital setting. My favorite part is how she discusses the mind/body connection during labor and the stories she tells of women who have either regressed or progressed based on this connection. I will be giving birth in a hospital and feel better prepared, yet this books makes me wish I could give birth with a midwife at home-- unfortunately it is not legal here in AL. ...more info
  • The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to read this book
    This is a very well writen book, that will help you understand what the doctors don't tell you and don't even know. A book that tells you about your bodys true and simple wisdom and abilities....more info
  • A "must read" for all pregnant woman!
    Great book for any woman to read, whether or not they plan to have a natural birth. The book eases fears surrounding childbirth through the series of birthing stories included in the first half of the book and through the author's writing. She reminds the reader that the female body is designed to have children and is not inadequate as we're sometimes led to believe. The book gave me some helpful techniques to use during my (unmedicated) labor and a better understanding of some of the medical procedures and medication often used. My sister was unable to get an epidural and I feel she would have benefited from the coping techniques provided in the book....more info
  • is it real??
    I think this is a much needed book for moms all around. It reminds us that bad news travels easily and we need to hear more good news about what the body is capable of and what women are built to do. ...more info
  • Best book for last few weeks of pregnancy
    I really do believe that this book is the 1 thing that helped me suck it up & make it through the last weeks of my pregnancy and gave me the mental strength to birth my 9.5 lb baby naturally. The stories in this book can inspire anyone to enjoy the natural experience that is birthing. ...more info
  • I echo the praise...
    ...for this straightforward, informative, and beautiful book. It is proving to be a wonderful touchstone as my husband and I experience our first pregnancy. I first bought this book to show my fearful partner numerous examples of healthy, normal births. It has turned out to be a brilliant resource for me, as well. Ina May touches on topics that I, a women's health nurse, had never considered, such as my anxieties and their place in my childbirth experience. We have begun to explore that (and other issues) with each other and our midwife. We are also learning to reframe our predisposed notions of pain. More than anything, this book is preparing us to be truly present for whatever experience we may have. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to any future parent, no matter what kind of birth the are planning....more info
  • Every mother to be must read this book
    I read this book during my first pregnancy and it was the best of all the many books I read. I had always known that hositals often do many unneccessary interventions. But after reading this book and experiencing the beauty, peace and joy of a miracle birth at home I have become a zealous supporter of home birth and midwives. I only wish more woman would read this book and see that their bodies are capable of giving birth and breastfeeding. If you're a mother-to-be, please read this book and reconsider planned c-sections, epidurals, drugs and episiotomies. ...more info
  • Love this book
    I read this after reading Spiritual Midwifery and they both have changed my life. Please read this book!...more info


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