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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

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  38 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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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
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.

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
Kirsten Eisele
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
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
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
Katie Myhre
Great underlying premise, but the execution seemed a little heavy-handed and preachy at times
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
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
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
Jenn Raley
Sep 08, 2014 Jenn Raley rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Great resource on how to use mindful meditation during and before childbirth. My main critique is that it's too long and could easily be condensed. The middle chapters are the most helpful.
I read this because I teach prenatal yoga and child birth education. So much great information on different ways of dealing with labor pain and practicing mindfulness in general!
Summer Kartchner Olsen
This book has lots of great ideas that I will continue to use even though I'm not pregnant any more.
Jenn Greer
Great info & easy to practice

Many great ways to manage negative thoughts that can help during labor & in your personal relationships. I enjoyed the stories about how mindfulness helped many couples
I skimmed a lot. I think the info could have been condensed a bit. Good companion to a childbirth class and/or yoga class focused on breathing/natural birth. Not sure I liked the format (kind of a storybook format with the author including dialogue from her classes).
Faythe Swanson
Mar 24, 2014 Faythe Swanson rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
Great book with tons of great tips for childbirth and beyond.
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.
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.
I wish I had read this much earlier in my pregnancy. It's a must for anyone with a mindfulness practice, and I highly recommend it for you even if you don't. Perhaps you'll be inspired to take it up. This book is so full of wisdom and practical advice, it is fantastic.
Dec 12, 2013 Diana rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
I'm bailing on this one -- it's just not working for me.
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.

I'm so glad there is another book in the world for expectant parents to stumble upon that teaches mindfulness and non-judgement in birth and in life. The tone of this book is comforting and supportive, and the mindfulness practices are well-explained.
This is the first time I've read a book on mindfulness, and I thought the author explained it well. An interesting and different perspective on birth. The book was a little dry and hard to get through at times.
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“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.” 0 likes
“They feel whatever we’re feeling! If we’re stressed out, they’re stressed out! If we calm down, they calm down!” 0 likes
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