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Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond
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Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  471 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
With Mindful Birthing, Nancy Bardacke, nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher, lays out her innovative program for pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, mindfulness meditation, and mind/body medicine, Bardacke offers practices that will help you find calm and ease during this life-changing time, providing lifelong skills for ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by HarperOne
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Jul 03, 2013 Cristie rated it really liked it
I very much appreciated what this book aims to do, which is bringing mindfulness to the birthing process, but also in a way that it continues to extend throughout one's life. While I did not do all of the exercises, even just reading about them all reminded me of how to stay present and mindful in my experiences, including while pregnant! (I haven't had the baby yet)

The one main issue I had with this book was the style of writing when she would quote group meetings. I understand that she was tr
Julie O'Neal
Sep 20, 2012 Julie O'Neal rated it really liked it
This is a good book if you are worried about the pain of childbirth. It helps distinguish the difference between pain and fear and also how they feed on one another. The meditation lessons help you learn to control the fear and pain by focusing on the present moment and not worrying and thinking about the past or the future. This book and its methods aren't even specifically for birthing; it's for men and women in everyday life.

Sep 14, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book helped me get through the pain of labour and childbirth. I highly recommend it.
Kirsten Eisele
Aug 11, 2014 Kirsten Eisele rated it liked it
I didn't love how this book was written, but I did get a lot of good information from it and many ideas on how to incorporate meditation and acceptance into the birth process to have a more peaceful and serene childbirth.

Quotes I liked:

You are the ultimate authority on your experience, and learning how to trust your inner wisdom is the path to what is best for you in birthing, parenting, and the general conduct of your life. Mindfulness practice offers a different kind of trust -- a trust in yo
Jan 22, 2013 Tara rated it really liked it
A great book for someone preparing for birth, especially if you have concerns about labor, or are interested in mental coping strategies for dealing with pain. This book not only deals with birthing though, it also examines how to be more mindful in every day life, which can ease daily anxiety and improve relationships with spouse and children. I want to read more books on becoming mindful because I truly believe that a full undestanding of this topic coupled with a spiritual faith in God can he ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Demi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pregnancy
This is definitely a must-read for any Buddhist Mother keen on incorporating practice into birthing & post-birth care. I practice Tibetan Buddhism but I found these mindfulness practices complimentary to my existing practice and Nancy's midwivery background tied in beautifully with the information I was already being provided by my midwife. What's even better is the Mindfulness Birthing app that you can download for your iphone / ipad. The audio guided meditations were a great support to the ...more
Katie Myhre
Dec 13, 2013 Katie Myhre rated it liked it
Great underlying premise, but the execution seemed a little heavy-handed and preachy at times
Nicole Bloch
Jan 18, 2017 Nicole Bloch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read for parents

This is great for expectant and current parents alike. I started it during my last month of pregnancy and now, seven months later was actually able to finish it. I was able to use a lot of the practice during childbirth and I made it through 26.5 hours of labor naturally and even with a few complications during transition. My midwives said I was the calmest mother they had ever encountered, particularly given some of my challenges. Regardless of one's birth experience, the
Dec 28, 2016 Zibby rated it really liked it
This book came highly recommended to me by Mommas who have had (natural birth center) births they've been empowered by. I will use several excerpts from this story in my childbirth classes. While there's no such thing as a perfect birth, I believe being prepared makes birth more meaningful and that Mommas and their partners can fully experience this essential life change. I will definitely seek out more opportunities to pursue mindfulness in my own life, and I thoroughly enjoyed the real-life lo ...more
Nov 01, 2016 Megh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the narrative style of this was difficult for me in places. I would have rather had the exercises called out separate from the story telling. that being said it was a good intro to mindfulness targeted to birth. I think that if I had been less familiar with mindfulness overall it would have been more helpful/flowed better.
Oct 16, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it
Seems like good prep- though I am not a meditator so not sure if it really helped me...
Feb 17, 2016 Alessandra rated it it was amazing
Bardacke (CNM) applies the mindfulness practice made famous by Jon Kabat-Zinn (U Mass. Medical School, Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness) to pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenting. Throughout Mindful Birthing, Bardacke explores an array of meditation techniques intended to help pregnant women and their partners navigate the endless cascade of novel, exciting, and challenging experiences associated with pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and caring for an infant. Her work ...more
May 14, 2015 Erica rated it really liked it
Fantastic book and larger introduction to Zen Buddhist meditation in general. Numerous activities/practices to calm yourself when especially stressed or anxious about future possibilities and past worries/guilt. I read this in my first trimester, but I'll be sure to read it again before the birth because so many practices are designed to help through labor.

A few annoyances: The chapter on grief is spectacularly lacking in human feeling for people who have actually just been through real traumati
Aug 25, 2014 Nikki rated it it was amazing
For me, this has been the definitive birthing book. I've been working through it slowly for a while. It really resonates for me. In some ways, it's so much more than a birthing book. The insight into the practice of mindfulness applies to all of the changes and circumstances we experience in life. As with most mindfulness books, this one focuses on acting with empathy, compassion, and kindness, to yourself and others, and now, particularly, your baby. It helps you focus on your breathing and on ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Biblioblond rated it liked it
It took me an extremely long time to get through this book as I kept falling asleep mid-read (good thing I was able to renew if from the library). I joked to my husband that the only thing more boring than meditating was reading about meditation. I did keep with it because despite my heavy eye lids, I inherently knew that the information in the book was important and would help me stay more calm and focused during the labour process. I could have gone however without all the personal stories of ...more
May 06, 2013 Jaimee rated it it was amazing
I saw a couple of reviews where people seemed confused that this book was about meditation. That is where the term "mindful" comes from. It would help if the reader had more background in meditation before reading this book (I recommend any of Jon Kabat-Zinn's work on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or taking a MBSR course), however it is not absolutely necessary. The author did a good job of going through pretty much all the basics of meditation, so you could get away with learning ab ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Karyn rated it really liked it
I actually received a copy of this book years ago as a Goodreads, first read. It didn't make sense to read it until I was expecting-- but I've finally been able to finish reading it.

Great read to prepare for labor-- but really it's more about living. I have found that the lessons in this book have helped keep so much in perspective during my pregnancy-- despite the aches and discomforts and dealing with outside stressors, I've had friends and colleagues point out that I just seem so much happier
Sep 10, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Admittedly, the first few chapters were a little slow, and I dragged myself through them. But I got used to the writing style and when chapter 6 came around on distinguishing between pain and fear, I was intrigued. That chapter echoed very well my own experience with my first labor and delivery, and is the message I would want to get out to everyone--there is a difference between pain and fear. Great chapter, for sure, that every pregnant woman and their partner shoul ...more
Dec 30, 2013 gina marked it as couldnt-finish
This book has been on my bedside table for far too long (sorry library). I finally gave up and checked it back in today. I flipped through it... I intended to read it... I wanted to read it. But something just stood in the way. I've read some of the positive reviews of this book so it definitely works for some people, though it is a bit weird that so many of the people who gave it good reviews state up front they aren't pregnant and aren't trying, but won it through good reads or just wanted to ...more
Jenn Raley
Sep 08, 2014 Jenn Raley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: soon-to-be parents
Shelves: family
I took the class, and didn't get a chance to read the book until afterward. Since the book mostly describes what happens in the class, I basically just skimmed the book. There were a few things that go a little more in-depth, and definitely a few sections that were good references / reminders of things that had been reviewed in class. I very much recommend this book to anyone who would like to take the class, but can't. However, it's not just to read - it really only "works" if used as a practic ...more
May 16, 2016 Mairead rated it it was amazing
Didn't write an immediate post-reading review for this, but it's one of the better pregnancy/labor prep books I have read. I enjoyed the format and tone, as well as the suggested exercises. It matched a lot of the yoga and mindfulness work I've tried to practice over the last year. Especially appreciated the chapter and exercise on breaking down the types of pain experienced in labor and how it's far fewer categories than initially expected.
Aug 05, 2012 Kendra rated it really liked it
Got this for FREE!!! Thanks goodreads!!! I'm not pregnant, just thought this would be something interesting I could discuss with my buddy that is a midwife. I actually really liked this book. It was almost more about meditating and living in the now (instead of the past or the future). I actually use some of these techniques and I didn't know it! Great read, especially for those that are stressed or having a hard time with anything. Read this book, slow down and focuson the breath.
Faythe Swanson
Mar 24, 2014 Faythe Swanson rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 1st time moms-to-be
Although childbirth still scares me, this book has relieved some of my fears, told me what to expect, & different ways of dealing w/what's ahead of me. I picked up this book shortly after finding out I was pregnant, hoping that it would help w/some of the stress I feel, & it's helped some! It's about taking a calm approach towards childbirth by practicing mindfulness, how to deal w/pain, communication skills, & much more.
Dec 12, 2013 Diana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baby
The real test will come in a few weeks, but even in the waiting, this book has been helpful.

It was suggested to me by my prenatal yoga instructor, and has been a wonderful resource. MB covers both basic biology and basic meditation, with an eye towards teaching us to stay grounded, regardless of what's going on. She is not dogmatic on the subject of unmedicated childbirth, but does offer suggestions intended to make it more accessible.
May 21, 2016 Erin rated it liked it
There are some great gems in here hiding within a plethora of fluff and non-essential explaining. WAY TOO LONG. I didn't love the "class" aspect of the book, I didn't really care about her students and what they were feeling. I read this book to learn how to become more mindful and that's all I wanted. Lots of beating around the bush but in the end I do feel like I have some basic tools and understanding to apply to childbirth and beyond. It all begins with the breath. Just breath!
Frances Thompson
This book is best used as a text book whereby you work through the exercises periodically during your pregnancy. I didn't read or use it like that so felt a bit like I wasn't benefitting from its full impact. Either way, it has definitely helped me to see labour and childbirth in a different, more positive, and yes, mindful light.
Nov 19, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: pregnancy
Very helpful for preparing for birth (whether it be c-section or natural, etc.) and enjoyed the iPhone app that accompanies it. Some of it I skimmed because it went over the general concepts of mindfulness that I am familiar with already. But the exercises targeted for pregnant women preparing for childbirth were helpful.
Nov 01, 2016 Birdhound rated it it was amazing
An excellent help in preparing for my first child - it was a hard delivery but all the lessons learned through this book helped me immensely and I couldn't have done it without the breathing techniques and the full body scan technique. My partner read it too and that helped him coach me through it. Highly recommended!!
Jun 09, 2014 Linnea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pregnancy
Loved this book. Renewed it the max number of times at the library, so I just ordered my own copy. Very helpful if you're looking to start a mindfulness & meditation practice you can carry with you always.
I learned a lot as I read this book but don't feel I can give it a legitimate rating until I've practiced the mindfulness exercises regularly as she recommends. Or until I've seen how it affects the birthing process for me personally. But I do think it will be helpful and I'm glad I read it.
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“As best you can, you say yes to the sensations, yes to this change. You remind yourself that this is normal, transformational pain. All is well.” 1 likes
“In mindfulness practice there is nothing to achieve, nothing to get, and nowhere to go. Instead, you are cultivating another way of being, learning how to be fully aware of exactly where and how you are in this very moment, even if the moment is painful or you don’t like it, because in this moment, this is your reality. A non-striving attitude can be especially valuable during childbirth. As you will see, allowing things to be exactly as they are during labor actually creates the optimal mind-body condition for your body to open, change, and give birth.” 1 likes
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