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Gentle Birth Choices.

Gentle Birth Choices

Book by Barbara Harper, RN; Photography by Suzanne Arms $16.95, Healing Arts Press

In this well-written book, Barbara Harper portrays birth as a normal, natural occurrence that a woman's body is designed to do efficiently, without interruption. Several parts of the book are quite impressive, including a list of questions to ask both a physician and midwife, procedures and protocols for hydrotherapy for labor and birth, and a maternity care health index with very impressive statistics on health insurance, infant mortality, and birth customs around the world.

Harper is a firm believer in the mind/body/spirit concept. She stresses the importance of women listening to their bodies and taking time each day for an "inner dialogue" rather than relying on an outside "expert" to interpret what is going on during pregnancy. Harper also advocates consumerism to bring about change and even includes a sample letter to send to area hospitals when one is interested in a certain birth alternative that is not offered.

Of special interest is the section on episiotomy. She explains that when left to their own devices with no rules on pushing, women will almost always choose a position that is less likely to cause damage to the perineal floor, and will instinctively reach down and support the infant's head and the perineum, creating a slow, controlled birth and giving the perineum time to stretch. They will also use a method of pushing devoid of breath-holding and straining.

One chapter, "Dispelling the Medical Myths," deserves special attention. The information is concise, up-to-date, and written in simple, understandable language. However, it was a bit disappointing that labor assistants were not given more mention, especially for hospital births.

This book is highly recommended for anyone contemplating pregnancy and interested in freedom of choice.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Sada, Crystal R
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Book Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 1998
Previous Article:Review: 292 Labor Support Tips, Techniques, and Ideas.
Next Article:The Dynamics of Trauma in Childbirth.

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