Book Review: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

From goodreads:
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
• 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.

My thoughts:
This book was Heavy with a capital H. The first 125 pages are just birth stories told by other women. Most of them delivered their child or children naturally at "The Farm" which is where the author, Ina May, works as a midwife. I read about half of these stories before I was ready to go onto the next section. They were beautiful stories, but there were just too many. I skimmed some of the parts in the next section, but I read the majority of the book and even copied a few pages out of it for reference later. Sections like "What questions you should ask your doctor, midwife, doula, etc." and "epidural statistics and side effects." It was chock full of statistics, and very good information. At times, I felt like I was reading a textbook BUT, I think this is a really important book. I did learn a great deal about natural childbirth vs. childbirth with medical intervention. I wouldn't say that it made me totally change my mind about having a natural childbirth, but it at least opened my eyes to what my options are in the hospital on the day that I deliver. For that alone, I'm grateful I read this book. While Ina May certainly advocates for natural childbirth, I didn't feel like she delivered her opinion in a way that was judgmental or "my way or the highway."  She simply presents the facts that she's learned over time in order to help you make the best decision that's right for you. For that reason alone, I think this is a worthwhile book to read during pregnancy.


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