Bri's Reviews > Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
by Ina May Gaskin
by Ina May Gaskin
Aug 14, 10
Well, I am pregnant! About 3 months along and this was the first (and probably one of the very few) books I picked up that goes through the whole experience. Ina May Gaskin is one of the women who put midwifery back on the map in America--in large part because of the statistics she was able to generate at her midwife practice located on The Farm, a commune she runs with her husband. I liked this book a lot. The first half of the book is birth stories, all different types of experiences are covered. The second half of the book is where Ina May gets down to business. She writes with a bias against hospitals, but she is aware of it and she has her reasons. Licensed Practicing Midwives (LPM's) tend to feel that in America due to mainly insurance and liability reasons we have outsourced our ability to give natural birth. The strongest piece of evidence cited to support this argument is the ever increasing c-section rate. C-sections are performed at some hospitals close to half the time a woman goes in--that is too high. In Ina May's opinion what often leads up to an uneccessary c-section is all of the intervention that goes on before-hand. Women get to the hospital too early in labor (especially first timers), then they are induced with Pitocin, the synthetic version of oxytocin as a matter of course. That simple decision increases one's chances of having a c-section 20%-30%. Plus pitocin is a much harsher form of oxytocin which means that contractions come on harder and stronger than they would otherwise, this in turn leads to an epidural. So what is wrong with a c-section? Well, sometimes there is not a thing wrong with it and thank goodness we have the technology to perform them! But, it is major surgery and like all major surgery it carries substantial risks. Moreoever, there are many benefits to birthing naturally that we already know about and probably a few that (shock, shock) we have yet to discover. What I appreciated about the author's perspective is that she advocates for informed choices for every pregnant woman. Contrary to what we are often told (and reinforced by the way our docs may act) we do have choices when it comes to prenatal care. We have options when it comes to our birth--how we deliver, where we deliver, how much intervention is or is not used. Ina May's biggest point to my mind is to know your choices and to make an informed decision after looking at all of your options. That's my plan and reading her book certainly helped lay all of the possibilities out before me.
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