By Ina May Gaskin
A friend lent me this book as well as the following two books. Before I ever conceived of the idea of becoming pregnant, my views on pregnancy was pretty typical of many modern woman of my generation who’s never given birth before: that giving birth would be extremely painful and that the best way to deal with it was to be medicated. Ina May and Marie Mongan helped open my mind to the idea that it is possible to have an unmedicated birth and transcend the pain of childbirth. They helped me to view the female body in a positive light and the incredible physiological changes our bodies go through in order to bring about new life.
In Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, May draws from her experiences as America's leading midwife and provides many anecdotes about the many labouring women she has helped at The Farm over the decades. Some of stories she shares involve women who faced psychological, emotional and physical challenges during labour and managed to overcome them. I found her theory about the mind/body connection and Sphincter Law very helpful and fascinating. May also provides evidence that her techniques help women achieve better rates of success compared to general population figures found at hospitals, such as decreased average length of labour, lower episiotomy and cesarean section rates, and better emotional satisfaction from mothers who have given birth.
My doula is also a big fan of Ina May and I was looking forward to practicing some of the techniques and exercises described by May during my labour. Unfortunately, my birth did not exactly go as planned, which wasn’t a bad thing, but I’m still glad I was able to read this very fascinating book.