From Publishers Weekly
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 method's 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 author's clients. Gaskin decries what she sees as Western medicine's 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 Gaskin's 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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist ( /gp/feature.html/?docId=1000027801 )
Using history as her guide, nationally recognized midwife Gaskin explores what she hopes will be a
renaissance in natural childbirth, something that she's been advocating since the mid-1970s. By focusing on how women of
ancient civilizations and other modern peoples give birth, Gaskin puts our own hypersensitivities in perspective,
uncovering a beautiful, sometimes orgasmic experience rather than a dreadful, painful one. Sure, pain is part of
childbirth, but preparing for the pain in a realistic rather than sentimental way--whether giving birth at home or in a
hospital--can be the key to a woman's ability to deal with it naturally. Within the pages of personal anecdotes, some
touching, some startling, from Gaskin's patients and colleagues, every woman is sure to find something to relate to,
whether or not she chooses to have a medicine-free labor. The helpful back matter features a glossary, a detailed
resource list including advocacy groups and Web sites, and a bibliography that includes periodicals, rounding out an
extremely comprehensive and up-to-date guide on the topic. Mary Frances Wilkens
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