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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth


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Everything you need to know to have the best birth experience for you, from the world's leading midwife

About the Author

Ina May Gaskin is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. She has lectured all over the world at midwifery conferences and at medical schools, both to students and to faculty. The Farm is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality. Recently selected as a Visiting Fellow at Morse College of Yale University, Ina May also teaches midwifery, writes books and articles for medical journals and edits her quarterly journal, The Birth Gazette.


Gaskin is widely considered to be a founder of modern midwifery in the United States. For over two decades her book, Spiritual Midwifery, has inspired women to become midwives and influenced families to choose home- and midwife-attended birth. For mothers-to-be anxious about the birth process, Gaskin demonstrates convincingly that the female body is well equipped for normal birth. She provides an entire chapter of joyful birth stories that are guaranteed to delight and inspire and gives extensive advice and information on techniques for overcoming the physical challenges commonly encountered during labor. Many of these techniques arise from her own experience and may not be found elsewhere in the popular birth literature. Gaskin also opens common obstetrical assumptions to consumer scrutiny. This is ostensibly a practical guide for pregnancy and labor but deserves a wider audience, particularly among those interested in medical history and sociology or appropriate technology issues.-Noemie Maxwell Vassilakis, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Founding member and former president of the Midwives Alliance of North America and author of Spiritual Midwivery, Gaskin offers encouragement and practical advice in her upbeat and informative book on natural childbirth. Since the mid-1970s, Gaskin and the midwives in her practice on a Summertown, Tenn., commune known as The Farm, have attended over 2,200 natural births. Gaskin, who learned the rudiments of her gentle birthing technique from the Mayans in Guatemala, has helped bring attention to the methods remarkably low rate of morbidity and medical intervention. Couples considering natural childbirth will get inspirational coaxing from more than a dozen first-person narratives shared by the authors clients. Gaskin decries what she sees as Western medicines focus on pain during birth, arguing that natural birthing can not only be euphoric and blissful but also orgasmic (a survey of 150 natural birthing women found thirty-two who reported experiencing at least one orgasmic birth). The second half of Gaskins book deals with the practical side of natural birthing, including how to avoid standard medical interventions such as epidurals, episiotomies and even prenatal amniocentesis that may be unnecessary, even dangerous, to mother or child. While this may not be the definitive guide to natural childbirth, it is a comfortable and supportive read for women who want to trust their bodies to do what comes naturally. (Mar. 3) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Ina May Gaskin is a...treasure. In this invaluable guide her deep experience and profound insights are updated for a new generation and a new set of technologies. Indispensable! * Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and Misconceptions *
As a reproductive scientist as well as a medical practitioner, I can assure readers that everything Ina May presents in this book is based on the best scientific evidence. This book should be read by every woman...and by every midwife, nurse, doula, childbirth educator and doctor * Dr Marsden Wagner, former Director of Women's and Children's Health, World Health Organization *
Few books have the potential to improve the life of everyone born on the planet. This one does * Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple *
intuitive and informative * Yoga Magazine *

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