April 5, 2012
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is on many must-read lists for most pregnant women. This book is a comprehensive guide to both natural childbirth, and also the interventions to expect during a hospital style childbirth. This book is based on the female centric midwife style of care, and seeks to use history to educate the reader about the history of natural childbirth, and how this model can be healthy and useful for women today.
The first section of the book is filled with birth stories. They go on for pages, and pages demonstrating the uniqueness of each woman’s experience bringing her baby into the world. As an expecting parent I enjoyed reading this batch of positive birth stories. I was inspired by the emotions, and informed by the details which added to my knowledge base about birthing naturally.
The pain in childbirth is not denied, but it is portrayed as a productive pain along with the techniques that have been used throughout history and in the modern age to cope with the pain, and produce a positive end result. By taking the fear out of childbirth it becomes possible for women to give birth naturally without unnecessary medical interventions.
The book does not only focus on natural childbirth techniques. It also has a detailed chapter on what kinds of interventions to expect in a hospital. The descriptions are thorough, and brought up some side effects that I was not yet aware of even though I have been researching natural childbirth for some time now. For me it is important to know a slice of everything involved in both the natural and hospital realm so I can be prepared for any unexpected events that may ensue.
The book provides information for achieving a natural childbirth in a home, birth center or hospital setting. The description of what really happens during labor, and tips for maximizing chances of a natural child birth were of particualar interest to me. Other topics include orgasmic birth, episiotomy, methods of inducing labor (the safe, and not so safe!), postpartum care, and how to work with your doctor to achieve the birth experience you desire.
A practical book, but also an enjoyable read, I agree that this book should be a must-read for expecting parents.