Synopses & Reviews
Barbara Harper outlines the elements of gentle birthing: support from loved ones, a reassuring and quiet environment with soft lighting, and minimal medical intervention. She shows you how to plan a meaningful, family-centered birth experience and discusses the many alternatives available, providing a new model of maternity care that reduces the need for high-tech crisis intervention and focuses instead on preparation and good health for mother and child."
With Cesarean section rates in some hospitals at more than 50%, women are acknowledging that childbirth reform is an essential aspect of reclaiming responsibility for our bodies and our lives."
Includes information on:
•Giving birth in a freestanding birthing center, at home, or in a hospital birthing room.
•Finding a primary care-giver who shares your philosophy of birth, whether midwife, doctor, or both.
•Deciding how to best use current technologies."
•Practical advice for couples wishing to explore the option of waterbirth, a choice" that maximizes the attributes of water as a natural, pain-relieving relaxant and an alternative to drugs and their unwanted side effects."
"Harper is among the most active, enthusiastic, and effective writers and advocates in the field of childbirth education today."
"One of the top ten recommended books for pregnant women and their families."
"Exactly the sort of guide that pregnant women have needed to help them sort through the myriadnumber of choices and options."
In Gentle Birth Choices, Barbara Harper, a mid-wife, nurse, and mother, outlines the elements of gentle birthing and provides a new model of maternity care that reduces the need for high-tech crisis intervention, and focuses instead on preparation and good health for mother and child. More than 50 black-and-white photographs by Suzanne Arms capture the joy and intensity of birth.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-262) and index.
About the Author
Barbara Harper's passion for natural birth led to the founding in 1988 of Global Maternal/Child Health Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research about natural childbirth including the use of water to ease labor and delivery."She lectures worldwide on maternity care reform and water birth." She lives outside of Portland, Oregon.
For more information on alternative birthing techniques, check out <>Barbara Harper's website.
Table of Contents
Forewordby Robbie E. Davis-Floyd, Ph.D.
1. Gentle Beginnings
Ingredients for a Gentle Birth2. The Medicalization of Childbirth
Our Legacy of Birth
From Midwife to Physician
The Promise of Science
Pain Relief: The Era of "Twilight Sleep"
Hospital Births for Everyone
Unraveling Diagnostic Procedures
The Results of Medical Intervention3. Dispelling the Medical Myths
Myth: The Hospital Is the Safest Place to Have a Baby
Myth: Maternity Care Should Be Managed Only by a Physician
Myth: The Electronic Fetal Monitor Will Save Babies
Myth: Once a Cesarean, Always a Cesarean
Myth: Birth Needs to be Sterile
Myth: Drugs for Pain Relief Won't Hurt the Baby
Myth: An Episiotomy Heals Better Than a Tear
Myth: It's Better Not to Eat or Drink During Labor
Myth: Family and Friends Interfere During Birth
Myth: If You Are Over Thirty-Five, Your Birth Will Be More Difficult
Myth: Boys Need to be Circumcised4. A Gentle Revolution
Birth without Fear
Birth without Pain
Birth without Violence
Birth without Rules
Voice of Protest--Consumers Seek Change5. Midwifery in America--An Emerging Tradition
The Midwife Model of Maternity Care
Midwifery Education--Education versus Experience
Midwives Confront the System
Midwifery in the Future6. Water Births
Why Water Birth?
Water Birth History
Beyond the Leboyer Bath
Labor Pools in France
Water Birth Comes to America
Making Waves in California
Water Birth Around the World
Questions Everyone Asks About Water Births
Water Works 7. The Mind-Body Connection
Listening to the Body
Listening to the Baby
Visualization for a Gentle Birth
The Power of Prayer
The Sexuality of Childbirth
Redesigning Prenatal Preparation
Mind, Body, Spirit in Unity 8. Creating Gentle Birth Choices
Planning Your Birth
Consumers Create Choices
Health Care for All Women and Children by the year 2000Appendix A:Questions to Ask a Doctor
Appendix B:Questions to Ask a Midwife
Appendix C:Sample Birth Plan for a Hospital Birth
Appendix D:Procedures and Protocols for Hydrotherapy for Labor and Birth
Appendix E: Sample Letter to Hospital
Appendix G:Maternity Health Index