There are very few books that are absolutely essential for the pregnant woman. There are many that are excellent, but few that you absolutely must read. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is one of those that you should not just read, but you should own. And when you hear that one of your friends is pregnant, be sure to let her borrow it.
There are many that are excellent, but few that you absolutely must read. You won't be able to put down Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.
The first half of the book is a collection of amazing and inspiring birth stories. You will really love reading these. I read through them over and over again while I was pregnant. My favorites are dog-eared and I read those when I most needed inspiration. In fact, I still find the birth stories an inspiration to be positive and strong.
The second part of the book is a well-written treasure trove of information. If you like extensive references Ina May does not disappoint. Everything that she advises is backed by evidence and all her evidence is documented.
I could carry on and on about how wonderful the book is, so I will try to give you a concise review. Ina May spends a good deal of time exploring the powerful mind-body connections in the birthing woman. If nobody has ever talked to you about this you need to read the words in this book.
Through Ina May's Guide to Childbirth you will learn how your mind has a powerful influence on your body. The examples that Ina May gives of this are both amazing and amusing.
There is basic coverage of what happens during labor. This is written in an empowering way. Ina May's Guide also moves into the widely unexplored territory of pleasure during childbirth. This chapter is one of the most fascinating I have ever read. It opens options for you that you never even realized you had.
Yet another chapter on powerful associations covers what Ina May calls the “sphincter law.” I loved this chapter because I could immediately see the truth in it. Ina May has gained a lot of wisdom as a midwife and this is one of the most important truths. If you want to learn just how important your mouth is in childbirth make sure you cover this chapter 😉
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth has several chapters that deal with practical aspects of pregnancy and birth such as prenatal testing, going into labor, episiotomy, and the third stage of labor. These chapters are all excellent and well-researched.
One of my favorite chapters is the chapter on moving during birth. The chapter is illustrated with clear line drawings and well thought out. It gives you key insights into which positions are best for birthing in. It also covers medication during labor and helping labor progress if it gets “stuck.”
Ina May's Guide includes even more information than I have said in this review. As I've noted, all of the information is well-researched. This book is not a general pregnancy guide. It is a guide to understand, respecting, and knowing your birthing body. You must get this book.