Spiritual Midwifery
Spiritual Midwifery

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Product Description

"Here is the 4th edition of the classic book on home birth that introduced a whole generation of women to the concept of natural childbirth. Back again are even more amazing birthing tales, including those from women who were babies in earlier editions and stories about Old Order Amish women attended by the Farm midwives. Also new is information about the safety of techniques routinely used in hospitals during and after birth, information on postpartum depression and maternal death, and recent statistics on births managed by The Farm Midwives. From the amazing birthing tales to care of the newborn, Spiritual Midwifery is still one of the best books an expectant mother could own. Includes resources for doulas, childbirth educators, birth centers, and other organizations and alliances dedicated to improving maternity care at home and in hospitals. "

Customer Reviews:

  • Exactly what I was looking for!
    I was hoping to find a variety of birth experiences represented and positive birth stories to accustom myself to the wide range of "normal", and found just that!
    I think this is a great book to prepare for your own birth. It opens your eyes to the fact that labor does not follow a text book pattern and is different for each woman and each labor.
    It doesn't matter your faith or how you define "Spiritual", there is something to be gained for everyone by reading these amazing birth stories!...more info
  • Loving Birth
    This book is an important book for all expecting mothers to read not only because it presents important practical information about natural childbirth options but also because it conveys a different feeling than most books do about pregnancy and birthing.

    The women and their birth stories in this book do not fall into the average pop-culture, schedule-a-c-section type of group. In fact, these stories reflect on birth as a privilege for women. In Spiritual Midwifery, birth becomes a right of passage that enables a woman and her partner (and even other family members) to come face to face with some of their darkest challenges and lightest memories.

    The language used in this book, such as "rushes" and "psychedelic", may turn off a good many of you who consider yourselves more polished than the hippy culture. However, it may also be a great way to stretch your posh imagination a little and gain the flexibility and open mindedness that is necessary to prepare for a wonderful birthing experience.

    Being pregnant and giving birth can be more than just a life detour or a pain in the rear; it can be a powerful journey and a life lesson learned. ...more info
  • Love Ina May!!
    This was a great, great read. Ina May is one of my favorite authors now, I wish she'd written more than 2 or 3 books! This and the Guide to Childbirth cover so much, though, I guess there really isn't any need. Very useful book for anyone who's pregnant, especially those planning a home birth, and super-fun to read, as well. Covers birth stories, what the midwives do if/when problems arise, the stages/physiology of pregnancy and birth, and much more. Definitely one of the best books I've read on pregnancy/birth....more info
  • The Best Childbirth Book Ever
    I loved the personal stories in this. I couldn't put this book down once I picked it up and I had already had my twins three months earlier. It made me want to have more babies just to feel childbirth the way it was written. True stuff, an amazing book, revolutionary....more info
  • Absolute Pinnacle!
    This is right up there in birth literature. Being an Active Birth Centre librarian, I've read a few. Some of the stories get a bit "trippy" which might put a few off but it's full of heart and practical advice. Dads with a sense of humour will love it. I have referred to it many many times for myself and other women. A must have classic. ...more info
  • Wonderful Reading!
    This is without a doubt a must read book before, and during pregnancy! I have found such great knowledge in this book it is amazing! Women that think that they are prepared and know what they need to before and during pregnancy NEED to read this book! I know that I myself have learned much more about the finer points to child bearing that no one ever tells you. In my opinion, you will find that if you choose to read this book that you will take on a new understanding for child birth and might just think twice about how you want to handle your birthing experience......more info
  • trippy birth stories
    I've read a lot of birth stories books and so it was a surprise to read this book full of people tripping out on the experience. I liked the second half about midwifery details too. I've been toying with the idea of becoming a midwife and this has certainly given me much more info to think about. I highly recommend this book before anyone's birth since people should know that the hospital experience, while being the cultural norm, is the aberration in how birth should be!...more info
  • Buddhism
    Hi. I bought this book to give to a midwife in Guatemala who is a Christian Missionary of AMISH descent. Reading the product description, it almost sounds perfect! But, this book is not about CHRISTIAN spirituality as I thought but the spiritual part of it is...Buddhism...or eastern. In case any of you are like me and looking for a Christian spiritual midwifery book...you might find this additional information helpful. :) That's all! (And, being a Christian, I can't really in good conscience "endorse" this book with more than 1 star. Sorry.)...more info
  • Joyful Birth Stories
    I read this book before I even met my husband. By the time we had our first child seven years later, my copy had become well worn. Although my home birth became a transport-for-emergency c-section, I'm still grateful to Ina May for sharing these stories. I'm even more grateful to my midwife who knew mid-labor that my birth needed surgical intervention and to the hospital staff who brought my daughter safely into our lives....more info
  • Spiritual Midwifery
    Easy reading. It is a history of midwifery from the 60's about women wanting a birth different from the standard hospital birth. A must for those interested in midwifery, or birth with other options....more info
  • This book is incredible!
    Thank goodness for this book...I have read it since the day I got it and it keeps me on track for rethinking my ideas of the birthing process....I want a calm and natural birth and for the hundreds of women who shared their stories of childbirth, this gives me hope that you can indeed survive childbirth with your attitude intact. It also gave me even more belief that my midwife is a better option for me and that I can count on her for the support I will need to deliver my baby without medical intervention unless it is necessary....more info
  • A Must Read for Natural Childbirth
    This book was the first book I read on natural childbirth. It altered the way I looked at giving birth and ultimately being a woman. I was not pregnant or even thinking about being pregnant at the time I read this book, but it did open my eyes. Parts of it may seem dated to some, but actually giving birth in the U.S. has regressed. What was once a natural and beautiful experience, has now become akin to having a disease and that is just a shame. A must read for anyone who is thinking about natural childbirth....more info
  • Dated style but timeless content
    To get the real, and very great, value of this book, you have to be able to tolerate its hippie style. Women don't have "pains" or "contractions," they have "rushes," etc. And lots of psychedelic decorative illustrations! But it's worth looking past those superficial things, because Ina May Gaskin and the women (and a few men) who contributed to her book have a tremendous amount of profound wisdom about birth. I read this book between the second and third of my three births -- all unmedicated, all in hospitals -- and I attribute mainly to its influence the much greater level of joy that accompanied every part of my third childbirth -- the easy parts and the hard parts, the work parts and even the scary parts. A great book to read in your second trimester as you try to integrate what is coming your way -- and an indispensable book to have read if you work with or support women in or approaching childbirth....more info
  • Dynomite!
    Words simply cannot describe how much I love this book. I will buy it for every single pregnant person I know from now on. ...more info
  • I want to share this book with all Women!
    A good friend told me I should read this book, even though I wasn't pregnant ... I put it off. Now that I am pregnant, I read it, and now understand why you should read it. Woman who can become pregnant, should be educated on what to expect - this book starts out with awesome accounts written by woman who gave childbirth (hospital and natural); it empowered me. I am no longer scared of the unknown, I bought two copies of my own to share with pregnant friends and family, and recommend this as a gift to any woman who wants kids "someday", or who is expecting. Knowledge is power! I also recommend, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (more suggestions and information regarding hospital options - I feel like it speaks to a larger audience). After reading this book, I would like to tell you that I do not have an ailment, I am pregnant; hospitals are for sick and injured people.
    ...more info
  • Good news: vibes are real
    I think I'm the first _man_ to review this book. In a way that's kind of sad, but hey, I don't mind going first, fellas. Besides, I've reviewed just about everything of Stephen Gaskin's I could find, and it's about time I reviewed Ina May's book.

    And here in Ohio we've got a Mennonite midwife named Freida Miller who's doing time in prison. Why? Because she saved the life of a birthing mother by giving her prescription medication without a license. Worse, she's not even in prison for dispensing the meds; she's in prison because she refuses to reveal the name of the doctor who _gave_ her the meds in the first place. This displeases me and causes me to question the legal and pharmaceutical establishments even more than I already did, which is a lot. So consider this review my little blow for the revolution.

    Ina May Gaskin wrote the book on midwifery -- four times, in fact, as the fourth edition of the book was published in 2002 and it gets longer every time. The new edition is updated with the usual stuff, including yet more stories from the parents and midwives at the Farm (including some stories from the babies, now all grown up, who were the subjects of the _original_ stories) and a new preface by Ina May. And if you're reading this page, you don't need me to tell you that it's the bible of practical midwifery.

    What you may _not_ already know is what a spiritual book it is. Of course the title is _Spiritual Midwifery_, but some readers may be inclined to write that off as hippie jargon. As other reviewers have noted, there is some hippie jargon in the book, but I don't think you should read "around" it or "past" it. You should read _through_ it; it's part of the point. The medium really is sometimes the message, and this is the appropriate language for the concepts Ina May wants to lay on you.

    What Ina May wants you to know, what she and the midwives at the Farm have successfully shown for thirty years and counting, is that birthing really is (or can be) a sacrament and that _how we be_ has a profound effect on _how we birth_. As Stephen remarks somewhere, the Farm midwives have successfully demonstrated that _vibes are real_. This is good news and it's important to more than birthing mothers -- even to more than women.

    I don't mean to minimize the importance of the practical midwifing aspects of the book, either; it's just that I didn't read the book for that reason myself. (I was present at the births of both of my children, but they were born in the hospital as my wife preferred.)

    The thing is, Ina May and Stephen are good people. In fact they manage to be both kind _and_ competent -- a difficult trick and one that I certainly haven't mastered myself. And there are lots of other good people represented in this book, in the stories and in the pictures. (The folks in the photos look like folks you'd want to meet. If you look at them right, you can actually see their souls.)

    So this review is partly to help spread the word about midwifery and partly to help spread the word about these good people. Vibes _are_ real, it _does_ matter how we be, and don't let anybody tell you any different....more info

  • Inspriational from a kind nurturing woman
    I had the honor of meeting Ina May a couple of years ago at a festival and she had such a warm, kind, and caring presence. This shos through in this book along with all the other writers articles in this compilation as well. It is inspiring to know how few complecations there can be when really understanding how other cultures give birth and how natural birth is nothing to fear, but to embrace. ...more info
  • Good book but her other Guide to Childbirth is SO MUCH BETTER!
    This book was ok. Her Guide to Childbirth is so much better! This book was more geared toward midwifes and not so much toward pregnant women....more info
  • an invaluable classic
    this classic is a must-read for pregnant women- especially those who, like me and most pregnant women, hear lots of birth horror stories and find themselves in need of positive accounts. ina may gaskin in known throughout the world for her impressive midwifery skills and for her superb outcomes over the years in helping women give birth on her commmune in tennessee....more info
  • You Can Do This! Beautful and Informative Accounts of Birth
    I was immensely lucky that this was the first book I read when I discovered that I was pregnant. It shaped my attitude throughout my pregnancy as well as during my birth itself, and continues to be a resource for me as a new and first time parent.
    This beautiful and thoughtful book is mostly comprised of the birth stories of many different women residing at The Farm.
    It is empowering of pregnant women, reinforcing the concepts of innate knowledge, intuition, exercise, healthy living, and trust.
    The sheer quantity of stories illustrates the many ways that birth can begin, transpire and end.
    It is not exclusive of outcomes, telling several tales of women who had to move to a local hospital when home-birth was not a viable option.
    It teaches women that they are strong enough to labor, wise enough to know how and that their bodies are usually well equipped to deal with birth without any of the traditional interventions.
    The pictures are amazing and beautiful. They are an intimate portrait of birth and family. It contains interesting and thorough instructions for midwives as well.
    I have referenced this book countless times (especially as I was waiting for labor to get going), and have purchased three additional copies as gifts for pregnant friends.
    You will not regret owning this book!
    ...more info
  • This is a MUST READ
    This book changed my life. It honestly got me through my pregnancy and labor. The information is so useful and comforting. So many books make childbirth out to sound scary and painful when it isn't at all. ...more info
  • Spiritual Midwifery changed my life
    Spiritual Midwifery changed my life in two ways. First, this book showed me birth scenes that were loving and powerful; it made me want to share in that experience. Secondly, it inspired me to write a book of my own, GIVING BIRTH: A JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF MOTHERS AND MIDWIVES (2002), in order to give women an updated view of midwives today. I interviewed and observed dozens of midwives and mothers, and many, many of them raved about Ina May Gaskin's book and her work. I even interviewed a pair of obstetricians who had gone to The Farm to have their baby with Ina May! I love the window into the lives of birthing women, their partners, their babies, and the midwives who helped them that Spiritual Midwifery offers. It is fantastic....more info
  • Ina May made all the difference
    Twenty three years ago, while expecting my first child, I came across Ina May Gaskin's book. I read it cover to cover and was fascinating. When I'd asked my mother what labour was like she said "If it was that bad, would I have had six?" Ummm ... not very enlightening. This book gave me a good, clear eyed look at what to expect in labour, what it feels like and how to approach what would be an unfamiliar and potentially frightening experience.

    I realize that good genes probably helped, but I credit this book for allowing me to relax enough to have two virtually painless labours.

    I unexpectedly find myself pregnant again, and while, as a diabetic grandmother I doubt I'm a good candidate for home birth this time, I intend to carry the lessons into the higher tech environment more appropriate to my age and health.

    Birth is a physical manifestation of spiritual practice. Ina May knows that and communicates it vividly!...more info

  • *The* starting booking for aspiring midwives!
    About a decade ago, I found an original copy of Spiritual Midwifery on the display table of a bookstore in Montreal. Little did I know when I bought that book for it's funky cover that it would change my entire life and career! This book is the book for anyone aspiring to become a midwife, or is simply interested in midwifery. Written by a self-taught midwife (who learned her skills out of need), Ina May Gaskin brings together both the beauty of childbirth with the basic skills a midwife needs. While the pictures and writing style transport the readrer back a few decades, the actual content of the book remains pretty modern... after all, babies still get born the same way. As a starting block for anyone interested in midwifery, this book is fantastic. This is the book that will open your eyes to a whole new way of giving birth....more info
  • I read this in 1975 and bought it for my daughter...
    Excellent overview of the reality or birth... the pain and the joy. what to do. How to ebrace the experience and to better repare your self or those you love. Timeless womens bonding....more info
  • Fantastic Book!
    In a world of technology driven childbirth, this book brings us as women back to the ultimate knowledge: that we have always known exactly how to give birth. Trust your body, trust your baby; trust birthing. Women helping women give birth affirms this basic truth. Get this book!...more info
  • Empowering Book! Tired of labor horror stories? Read this!
    Like it says in my title, this is a great book filled with empowering stories of beautiful, natural childbirth. This book has a lot of stories in it that shows that childbirth does not have to be a medical procedure and can infact be a wonderful experience. If you have doubts about your capacities in labor, read this well before! Heck, if you want to just read some great stories, read this! You will have a great time reading it!...more info
  • For anyone considering homebirth, this book is a must!
    Whether having your baby at home or in a hospital, this book is of tremendous value. Ina May is the woman! She wrote this book in the 70's on a hippie commune so the language reflects that time and place. I laughed at her reference to contractions as rushes during my first pregnancy until I started actually having contractions. Feeling them as "rushes" instead of contractions helped me to manage the energy and pain. I realized the psychology behind her terminology. In reading this book, I felt empowered to have my babies without drugs - knowing my body would know what to do. I am endlessly grateful to Ina May for this classic book!!...more info
  • Ina May is a pioneer
    Ina May is a pioneer for women who wanted to take their birth back from the medical world. I am an RN but when I was in college finishing my nursing degree I saw birth as it was back then and wanted nothing to do with it.('74) I decided to have my babies "naturally". My 84 year old grandfather was the only one in the family to agree with me. He was a retired physician. He said,"Thank goodness, back to common sense childbirth." I laughed. I thought he'd think I was crazy. My father did think I was nuts. He is also a physican, he thought natural childbirth was a fad. I invited him to my 6th birth with a midwife and he was amazed. Bless his heart, he was trained in the 50's when they drugged 'em up, gave 'em a spinal when it was almost over, cut'em up, and dragged their babies out with forceps. No wonder he was terrified of childbirth. I finally became a labor and delivery nurse in '80 and 28 years later I am beginning my CPM training. Spiritual Midwifery is not my favorite Ina May Gaskin book. I prefer her 2003 version called Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Much better. Spiritual Midwifery is too full of "hippy talk" such as "it was heavy, it was psychadelic, I was stoned." They are not very descriptive and sound uneducated. I especially didn't approve of the words they used for the body. It is offensive to me. However, I like looking for truth. I would say not to own this, just check it out of the library and buy her newer book. ...more info
  • Really Wonderful
    I picked this book up at my birth center's lending library. At first I was pretty taken aback by some of the language and the 'hippyness' of it, but I kept reading because I was hooked on the birth stories. It's amazing to see how wonderful these women's births were without pain and without medical intervention. The farm's record speaks for itself, I think they had less than 1 percent cesarean rate - definitely makes you realize the 35% rate in america is really a problem. Gave me another way to look at birth, not as a painful event to get through but as something joyful to experience....more info
  • The most beautiful midwifery book ever -- a classic
    This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the truly spiritual experience of childbirth. Ina May's book is a classic among midwives, and she is a well known and important influence in the natural childbirth and midwifery movements. The birthing stories are the keystone of this book, and I never grow tired of reading them over and over. The technical portions of this book are written from a lay-midwifery and low tech point of view, but it is important for readers and reviewers to know that Ina May and the Farm have the experience and birth statistics to back up what she has written.

    This book, I think, is also important material for non-midwives involved in childbirth: physicians, nurses, doulas, and expectant families. The birthing stories provide a touching and humanitarian voice to the life-altering experience of birth. Not all the stories are warm and fuzzy tales of the perfect birth, and this provides a reminder of how closely linked birth and death truly are as passages through life. For those of us involved in birthing on a regular basis, this book is a reminder of how privelleged we are to be witneses to such a sacred experience time and again....more info

  • Ina May is inspirational
    This book reminds me why I became a midwife to begin with. To be with women through this journey of pregnancy, childbitrh and parenthood is a priviledge to often overlooked and I love this book for that reminder!...more info
  • Interesting info but very debatable conclusions
    I read this book to kearn more about childbirth and to find about about what natural birth has to offer. While the book had a lot of useful information about various stages of labor enhanced by personal experiences, it failed to convince me that natural childbirth is the best method of giving birth. First, to suport her point of view, Ina May Guskin (IMG) supplies us with personal accounts of women who gave birth in her care. To consider this accounts seriously the should have been authenticated by outisde authority. Also, it does not help that all accounts seem virtually identical and not a single one expresses concerns or dislike about the process. It just does not seem statistcally possible that not a single woman had a negative exprience or wanted to express some concerns.

    What was more alarming is IMG airly discussion of several birth practices that for decades were deemed unacceptable by medicine. For example, she advocated drinking vodka on a daily basis to stop early contractions. I wonder what damage this constant drinking made to the child and whether the contractions could have been stopped by more harmless methods. (Otherwise, it seems that medical research pointing at high risk of harm to babies of mothers who drink during pregnancy should go out of the window). There are quite a few little conroversial tidbits like that in the book which IMG does not chose to address and, which potentially could hurt a baby, whose mother takes her advice to heart.

    All in all, interesting book, which takes some fo the trepidation out of childbirth process, but, at least for me, not convincing that natural childbirth is what would be best for my child....more info

  • Must-read pregnancy book....
    This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to ANY woman. It will open your eyes and heart...more info
  • An old friend
    i bought my original copy of this book in the 70's. It served me through both of my pregancies, inspired me to want to be involved with catching babies. My route was through med school. The book was loaned out many times. Its great strength is in the many good birthing stories. Our cultures view of birthing is full of horror stories that terrify mothers. A terrified woman does not have a good birthing experience. We are also inundated with technology. This book is a marvellous antidote, and has been important in making birth a normal and positive experience for the women who delivered with me. It is delightful to have the new edition, and to read through it again....more info
  • Essential Book for Anyone Involved in Childbirth
    This book is a refreshing, sane alternative to the craziness of modern obstetrics and birthing practices. Ina May speaks with the wisdom that comes through experience... she knows her stuff; she's seen it first hand, and she lives it. She believes in women's instincts, their intelligence, and their right to a healthy pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. She affirms what women have known for centuries, up until recently: we are capable of birthing without drugs, without IV's, without monitors, and yes, without doctors. Our bodies are made for it. This book is a powerful testament to the power of women and birth....more info
  • A Must Read for indipendant pregnant women
    I attribute the success of my second and third pregnancies to this book. I first read this book while pregnant with my second son, and was so empowered I decided to have a home birth. Ina May Gaskin and the other women who share thier stories in this book poitray childbirth as a natural event, that our bodies are trained for.
    After learning midwifery in the 1970's by hands on experience, with a little guidance from local doctors, they have established a teaching center for midwives arround the country to study at. The approch Ina May uses, is to allow the natural course of events proceede.
    I reccomend this book to every expecting woman I meet. I have loaned my copy out to five different women, who all said that the information was far more helpful than complicated medical journals, or the "laymens" pregnancy books which contain little usefull information.

    If you want to BE in control of your body, baby and birth, instead of swept up in doctors' busy scheduals-
    Read this book, and find a midwife!...more info

  • Spiritual Midwifery review
    This is a wonderful book for anyone who's planning a natural homebirth, with or without a midwife in my opinion. Beautiful birth stories in it....more info
  • A shift in perception--an absolute must read
    This is the first book I ever read on midwifery when I decided to have a homebirth. This book changed my life. In my mind it brought birth back to where it should be. Not only in the hands of women, but in the hands of the mother herself. It is an honor to be in a laboring woman's presence and this book is packed with beautiful birth stories of women trying to bring their precious children into the world in the gentlest most loving way possible. Wouldn't we all like to start out this way? Every woman should read this book and remember the inner strength that is already within them. This book inspires all of that and more....more info
  • A midwife's handbook
    This book is a good introduction to midwifery. It is also a great book of inspiring stories for mothers considering home birth or unmediated birthing. The language in the book is easy to understand and places birthing and its phases into easily understood wording. She refers to the vaginal area as the Puss. Not my reference but interesting and non-clinical none the less, she explains that she uses terms that are comfortable to her and that are easily understood by mothers and that midwives should do the same for her their practices....more info


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