One woman's path through doula training, childrearing, and a computer science Ph. D. program

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book report: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Gaskin, Ina May, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, 2003

My score


Amazon link

My report

The book starts with some awesome birth stories - very inspiring and inspirational. The births are mostly set on The Farm, a birthing community deep in Tennessee, supporting natural midwife-driven childbirth. The following chapters aim to persuade the reader that "the body is not a lemon;" that in the vast majority of cases, natural childbirth is possible, and, moreover, preferable to childbirth with interventions. Ina May cites both The Farm and other natural birthing communities as well as European nations that have a high home-birth rate, low intervention rate, and maternal mortality rates drastically lower than that of the USA. In particular, she calls for greater accountability among medical professionals for maternal mortality rates - in the UK, for example, there is a complicated process of investigation into maternal deaths which results in a book called Why Women Die, which anyone can buy from the book store.

Ina May argues that labor need not be painful: that with relaxation techniques the "rushes" are felt more like intense pressure rather than pain. The Sphincter Law is that it's impossible to relax a sphincter under pressure.

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