Friday, October 7, 2011

Book review: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

This is my first book review for the blog. Honestly, it might be my only book review. But it might not. I have no idea. I just knew that I had to share about this book because I think more people should read it. So I don't know that this is really a book review... it's more of a "go read this book if you're pregnant" post.

As I was reading, I kept thinking "I need to buy this for every pregnant woman I know". Not because I think everyone would have an intervention-free birth if they read the book, but because I think more people need to be exposed to intervention-free births. American media inundates us with scary images of labor. Women's water breaks, she screams the whole way to the hospital, then gets the amazing epidural that fixes all her problems and healthy baby is born. 

We, as a culture, have no idea what a natural birth looks like. The only people we've seen give birth in any position except on their back are on the National Geographic channel, if we've even seen that.

The first 126 pages are birth stories. All about women who gave birth with no pain medication and no induction. Some of these women were in a hospital, but the vast majority were either at home or at The Farm, which is where Ina May and her fellow midwifes practice. These stories show the power of a woman's body when she works with it and isn't scared of what's happening. Some of these stories are 40 years old and some are 4 years old. They share what could be a new normal for childbirth.

The next section of the book talks about pregnancy and labor. She talks about how most women that give birth naturally wouldn't describe their birth as painful whereas most that use drugs do. She talks about the risks of the drugs on both mama and baby. She talks about how much different positions can help the progression of labor. She has an entire chapter on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and why they're completely safe given the right circumstances. 

A lot of this information used to be passed from mother to child. But in our culture, those things are (often) no longer passed down because so few have that kind of positive experience. Most people just think that labor is something to be feared and this book can help alleviate some of those fears.

I did not read this when I was pregnant with Jade, but I took an amazing birth class that shared much of the same information. Not every pregnant woman has access to a class like that. But everyone has access to this book and I seriously think it should be in every one's library just so that she will see the other side of the coin. I also think that husband's should read it because they're support will be crucial when the time comes.

Anyone else read this book? Anyone else want to now?

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