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Cynthia Gabriel
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Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  593 ratings  ·  117 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,021)
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Melissa
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
Sharon
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
Heather
This is the most valuable book I've read on labor and delivery yet. Although the target audience is for those seeking to have an unmedicated birth at a hospital, I think *all* expecting parents should read it, regardless of whether they are pursuing that route, home birth, or birth with medical intervention at the hospital. This book goes into explicit detail about the different phases of labor and delivery, pain management methods (natural and medical), techniques on how to effectively communic ...more
Stephanie
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
Meredith
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
Tracy
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
Tiffany
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
Amy
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
Tara
Good read for those considering having a baby without pain reducing drugs. The part that stands out most in my mind was when the author described the various stages of labor and the pain that one feels during those stages and how you might be feeling emotionally. Basically, you might think you're doing to die! It's good to be realistic about the pain. After all, there's no point in thinking, yeah, maybe I'll do this as long as it doesn't hurt too much because it is going to hurt- there is no get ...more
Katie
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
Natalie
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
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.
Michelle
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
Sara
In my search for information on natural birth, I had a lot of books recommended to me. Unfortunately, most of them really just felt useless and full of anti-obstetrician fear mongering. I started getting frustrated with the attitude in these books that women who wanted to give birth naturally needed to do it at home or with a mid-wife. I don't have a non-hospital birthing center nearby, I have no interest in traveling to some hippi commune somewhere hours away to give birth, and I'm really not c ...more
Robin
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.
Kate
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.
Ashley
I would actually probably give it 3.5 stars, if I could.

I think this book is a useful tool for planning a natural hospital birth. I like the fact that the author tries to frame things in a positive, non-combative light. I like her suggestions for getting through labor plateaus, and for avoiding interventions by saying, "We'd like to wait an hour before trying that." My doctor actually suggested virtually the same tactic if we encounter resistance to our wishes (which she is supportive of - I rea
...more
Lindsay
Even though I don't think I'll be giving birth in a hospital, I still found this book extremely informative. It's more frank and realistic than some of the other natural birth books I've read. It has in-depth explanations of every stage of labor, a myriad of coping mechanisms for each one, and many different birthing stories that illustrate the personal approaches different women have taken to help them through difficult decisions/situations. The writer seems very knowledgeable.

Another thing I l
...more
Felicia
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.
Terri
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.
Jacquelyn
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.
Maera
This book is divided into 3 parts, and part 2 was the truly useful part for me. It provided all kinds of useful information about what to expect during the different parts of labor and how to prepare along with tips for the support team to help during labor. Obviously, since I haven't actually given birth yet, it remains to be seen how well this actually is helping me prepare, but the author definitely got me thinking about what I want from this experience and what I don't really care about.

She
...more
Angie
So good! I wish his would have been available when I had my 1st. Very practical, real information and advice. Not clinical or scary like What to Expect. I will probably buy my own copy so I can highlight and have it ready for this baby's arrival.
Christine
This is the only book on pregnancy, labor, and delivery that I actually finished. It prepared me to ask the right questions and write out a birth plan that seemed best for my family. I even got to meet Cynthia Gabriel and she signed my book!
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.
Emily
Outstanding! I wish I would have read this before having my first child. I am confident that I could have avoided a c-section if I had known some of this information beforehand. It's very applicable and even has phrases you can say to avoid certain interventions if you feel they are unnecessary. There's a section about how to tell if something really is a crisis so you can feel confident standing your ground without worrying that you're going to harm your baby. More than anything, it helped me u ...more
Catherine
fantastic! So much helpful and applicable information put forth in a supportive way. i liked that it wasn't teaching you to go to battle, just to really get "the best of both worlds."
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