Natural Hospital Birth
Cynthia Gabriel
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Natural Hospital Birth

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  391 ratings  ·  82 reviews
A complete and reassuring guide to natural childbirth in a hospital setting.
ebook, 272 pages
Published March 17th 2011 by Harvard Common Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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This book is a fantastic resource for women wanting a natural experience, but also the peace of mind of birthing in a hospital with all the technology available in the small chance that anything would go wrong. It is empowering, accessible and smart. Gabriel's passion for birth is evident and she knows her stuff - it is a great resource for first time birthing mothers because she references so many of the natural birth schools of thought. It is also one of the first birthing books I've read that...more
I read this book almost against my will; the first chapter or so wasn't to my taste at all, full of visualizations and general gooeyness that left me cold. But then it surprised me; a book that actually addressed different cultural experiences surrounding birth, and discussed useful tips on how to handle a staff that is bent on making a decision for you - particularly for folks who, by virtue of rural location, might only have one doctor or staff available to them who might still believe in epis...more
Must-have handbook for women wanting to achieve the most natural birth possible in a hospital setting. Gabriel covers the importance of writing out your birth plan (which doesn't have to be over-bearing or off-putting to hospital staff)...think something like "I'd like to give my child the most natural, drug-free birth possible. Thank you for helping me on this amazing journey!" Gabriel asserts that most medical professionals will try to help you realize that simple goal if they know you are com...more
The idea that a natural birth is possible in a hospital setting is exciting, but what this book demonstrates despite its optimistic title is that it is nearly impossible. Rather than a "natural" childbirth, this book shows you how to demand, bargain, fight, and plead every step of the way for the least invasive and medically managed childbirth possible under 21st century hospital policies. Unless you are giving birth in a hospital rated Baby-Friendly by UNICEF and the World Health Organization,...more
Krystal Williams
How do you achieve a birth free of medical interventions in a place where medical interventions are routine? Author Cynthia Gabriel is a doula and medical anthropologist who gives a comprehensive overview of what to expect if you plan to give birth naturally in a hospital.

Gabriel gives advice on how to communicate with your caregiver and the hospital staff to enlist their support and cooperation with your birth experience. She also outlines how to write out a birth plan, including two real-life...more
My first birth ended in a c-section, which was quite traumatic for me and left me in pain for many months. When I found out a few months ago that I am pregnant with twins, I figured I would have to throw my plans for a normal delivery out the window. Reading this book gave me back the confidence I needed to find a care provider who would support an attempt at a natural, VBAC twin delivery. I appreciate the special attention the book gives to birthing multiples and dealing with a VBAC. I used Gab...more
I should start with a note that I am not opposed to using interventions such as pitocin or epidurals. I read this book while expecting my fifth child and had the previous four with epidurals. 3 of the 4 worked out great, the last did not so I started doing research on pain coping techniques should the same ever happen again.

This book is written toward first time mothers who want a completely natural birth but are delivering in the hospital for whatever reason. I like the open mindedness of this...more
Antara Basu-Zych
what a great resource! I'll have to report back based on how the tips worked in practice in a few months, but I definitely saw great, helpful discussion about situations that happened in my first birth. I can see that if I had read this book back then, and put some of the advice to work, I might have felt more satisfied and in control of the experience. This time I expect I am better prepared. I liked that there was a good balance of stories and real-life experiences with scientific research and...more
This book is written both for the American and Canadian audience, though it feels a bit more American. It is up-to-date (2011) and has so many helpful tips for those looking to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. It also does a great job explaining when an intervention is truly unnecessary and when it would be life-saving. I like that the author's background is so varied: she's got a doctorate in medical anthropology and she's a doula, for example. Her advice feels well-rounded and scientif...more
The more I think about this book (now 10 months out of delivering my daughter), the more I appreciate this book. It's a really practical, non-judgmental/non-fanatical guide to having a natural birth while in a hospital. I think it's geared more for people who are using a more traditional practice of obgyns, so since I used a midwife group I didn't find I needed to "fight" for many of the things she talks about. But, I found all the suggestions for things to do at home while in early labor and wh...more
Cassie Brown
Wonderful combination of natural childbirth ideals, with what to expect with doing that in a hospital setting. It gives me a more realistic idea of what to expect, and how to incorporate our childbirth goals with our setting.
I loved this book. I initially wanted a home birth but it just wasn't an option where I live. Particularly helpful sections included how to differentiate between what the nurses/hospital "wants" you to do for their comfort and convenience and what is actually medically necessary. I feel like I am well informed for the things I will have to say "no" to and have appropriate phrases (like, "can we wait an hour before doing xyz?") to help achieve the type of birth I want. Highly readable with loads...more
I got so much from this book. It's not a big book; it's pretty quick to get through, which is a great bonus.

Some background: I would, indeed, like to give birth without drugs or other medical interventions. I'm pregnant with my first. I had actually pictured myself giving birth at home, but my husband was uncomfortable with that idea, and understandably so. We are in uncharted water here. I've been told that I shouldn't get attached to a birth plan or even the idea of a drug-free birth because i...more
This book is awesome! It is full of very practical practical strategies for how to have a natural delivery in the hospital. Much of the advice focuses on staying home as long as possible and what to do during different phases of labor. There are practical tips for the birth partner from offering comfort measures to dealing with hospital staff pressures. A great, up-to-date perspective on current hospital practices will help expectant parents to prepare for the hospital and work with staff.
I loved this book because it was so positive and reassuring. It respected the experience of hospital staff and the desire to have medical interventions at hand if needed, while encouraging expectant mothers to stand up for their desires to have a natural birth. I feel that many of the natural birth resources I look at take a very defensive stand against hospitals, doctors and nurses, and this book offers the best way to work WITH them.
Kami Chaudhery
My doula recommended this book to me and I am so grateful that she did. I relied on it heavily in preparing for my VBAC - and believe the book contributed to my success. It contains a lengthy discussion of things you can do to improve your hospital birth experience, including very practical and effective methods for dealing with hospital staff. I suggest it to all my pregnant friends, even if they want an epidural, as it’s so informative.
Of all the books I read in preparation for the birth of my second baby, this was probably my favorite. It's advice was practical, straight forward, and very useful. I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering a natural birth, and even to those who aren't but want to be better informed before entering the hospital.
I really liked this one and will refer back to it often. A great balance between the information you need to achieve a natural birth and the information you need to give birth in a hospital setting. Brought up several things I hadn't thought of, and I liked its tone of confidence and cooperation instead of combativeness.
My favorite birthing book yet. Doesn't set you up with a combative stance towards nurses and doctors, but is realistic about what to expect and how to stand strong in creating a natural birth experience in the hospital environment, while getting the nurses and doctors on your side.
Kerry Wendt
I read this in under 24 hours, and I don't have that kind of time. I wish I had this book the last time I was expecting; I'm very very glad to have it this time. It's well-rounded, thorough, and practical.
Just the book I needed to read right now. Recommended for anyone attempting a VBAC who has never had a vaginal delivery, or anyone preparing for a natural hospital birth (duh!).
This is probably the best book I have read to prepare for childbirth (and I've read a lot), especially if you are considering natural birth.
Even though I'm hoping to live in a place that has midwives and doulas that love home birth and to be a low risk in that sense as well, this book is fantastic. Much more than just dealing with getting your ideal birth in a hospital, this is the first book I've actually read that directly confronts "What does giving birth feel like?" This is a question that I feel haunts many women. Reading birth stories, even, don't give a good description of this, because the mother's recollections are colored,...more
Excellent book with thoughtful points to consider and great information to support a natural birth in a medical setting!
This book is for those hoping for a natural birth and who are planning to deliver in a hospital. Both applied to me.

I found much of the information useful. Parts are a little new-agey for my tastes, but I was able to ignore those parts and use the rest. Overall, I found the information helpful and it really helped me solidify my plan to attempt natural birth. One thing though, it does assume that you really have to fight at the hospital to not be medicated and that many of the doctors, nurses,...more
For those attempting a natural birth in a hospital, this is definitely a "must read." There were new ideas in this book that I had not already encountered, and I appreciated that. There was also repetition of ideas I had already read, but that is also appreciated, because it reinforces them, helps me remember them, and gives them more weight.

The author lays everything out in a very accessible way, going step by step through it all. Her sources are also cited in the back, which I greatly apprecia...more
I read this book after two medically managed births in a hospital and before my third labor and delivery (which will hopefully be natural!) and I just found myself wishing I had read this book prior to my first child because it would have been so much more useful to me then. I thought this book gave some very practical and straight-forward information, particularly for first time moms. It's hard to know exactly what kind of birth experience you'll have in a particular hospital if you have not ha...more
If you REALLY want a natural birth and your only option it to deliver in a hospital this is a really helpful book. I do feel like this book can get a woman's hopes up. There are policies and protocols in hospitals that are in place and unfortunately, they are immovable. Cynthia implies that mere persistence can change these policies. This is simply not true. Doctors and nurses could lose their jobs if some these policies aren't followed. It is important to be realistic about your expectations an...more
My doula loaned this book to me and I found it so useful that I asked my husband to read a few of the chapters. Of course, a bit of it seems like common sense or you may have heard it before if you've studied birth at all or already had a baby in the hospital. Still, most was articulated well in a way I found motivating and helpful. I'm planning to go back and review a few sections if I have time before my baby comes!

Update: By the grace of God, I was successful in having a completely drug free...more
Very informative. I was looking for comprehensive, yet simple advice for achieving a natural birth at the hospital. This book was excellent. I am much more confident about creating my birth plan and birthing our son without medication.
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