Posted 20 hours ago

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: Updated With New Material

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It took a lot of the mystery away and clarified that labor was more than "hours of the worst pain in your life and very scary" like everyone tells you.

Positive stories shared by women who have had wonderful childbirth experiences are an irreplaceable way to transmit knowledge of a woman's true capacities in pregnancy and birth. After half a dozen birth stories I found myself stressed, slightly horrified and definitely not (as the author says she intends) empowered.A nurse who practiced as an underground midwife suggested a doctor from a nearby town who would provide more considerate care. One of the pregnant women, who became my friend after the birth of my son, used an original copy of Spiritual Midwifery as her bible, and even tore out pictures and pages and pasted them on her wall.

She loudly praises their every benefit and greatly downplays or completely ignores any of their shortcomings or risks. And if one more person tells me how great the Moosewood Cookbook is, I will heave a bag of whole grain flour at her. I think she makes traditional clinical medicine and those that work in that field unnecessarily sterile and frightening while painting midwives and homebirth with rose colored glasses.

As the occurrence of vaginal breech births has declined over the last 25 years, the knowledge and skill required for such births have come close to extinction. As for birth stories, listen to the podcast “the birth hour” because they birth stories are better AND you’ll learn most of what the rest of the book discusses without the clear bias against hospitals.

I am surprised that such naturally minded people can't see the sheer miracle of birth - God (not an evolutionary process!

However, I think it's a bit out of date, especially in terms of what the hospital will and won't allow (but we'll see). She quells a lot of anxieties women may have about how they are going to birth a baby out of such a small space (not an uncommon concern)… Even if you don’t read the book, it’s at least worth looking into her idea of Sphincter Law and how this affects the laboring process.

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