Guide to Childbirth

From the most famous midwife in this country comes an essential book on pregnancy and birth!

Ina May Gaskin was one of the founders of The Farm, a major accomplishment of our back-to-the-lander forefolks that remains an epicenter of simple living and birth education. She helped found The Farm settlement near Summertown, Tennessee alongside Stephen Gaskin, author of Hey Beatnik!, and many other super righteous counter-culture hippies, mostly from the Bay Area, who decided to get going on an experimental intentional community based on self-reliance, a vegetarian diet, gracious use of natural resources, and trust in their own bodies and wisdoms.

In 1971, they caravaned a bunch of school buses cross-country in search of land. Being young and healthy, they began having babies along the way and, as part of their faith in their own powers, they put their trust in their inherent ability to grow and birth babies without seeking a doctor or hospital. Without any formal training, they began catching babies on their own.

Without any former training, Ina May became immersed in the wisdom and practice of midwifery care, combining historical accounts, practical suggestions, and her own observed experience. With intuition and this knowledge, she and the other midwives on The Farm developed a tremendously successful means of care.

In 1977, Ina May published the famous Spiritual Midwifery, which has turned countless women and a number of men into midwives. Spiritual Midwifery exists now as its own entity of awesome, ushering families through positive stories of birth and useful information. Now, in the new century, Ina May has once again come correct with a book for the modern pregnant family.

Like Spiritual Midwifery before, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is divided into a section on birth stories and a section on the essentials of birth. The birth stories she shares are a welcomed change from the typical horror stories thrown about willy-nilly in our everyday lives. The ones offered here engender the feeling that birth can be mystical and fun and beautiful, no matter how strange. The second section takes the pregnant family step by step through the most important points to be considered in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The information in this section is accurate, evidenced-based, and presented in a digestible and easily understood manner.

Though this book is designed and written for all audiences, Ina May does not fail to address many specific aspects of birth, such as one under the heading “Sphincters do not obey orders”, and other spiritual and physical topics that are often ignored in mainstream texts about birth. The hope for this book is for the reader to be able to make fully-informed choices about their birth and to come away feeling empowered and positive.

As a midwife myself, I have read many of the birth books out there and never have I felt so stoked on a collection of information. All of us Ladies of Gravel & Gold whole-heartedly endorse this work of love and information. Thank you, Ina May!


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