The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


Book and Video Recommendations

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

See also:

Subsections on this page:

(Note - This page hasn't been updated recently, so many of the good, newer books aren't mentioned here.  If anyone would like to volunteer to update or revise this page, please contact me .  Thanks.)

More Recent Reviews

Sarah Buckley's fabulous book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, is now available as a digital download.  Thanks, Sarah!  The physical book is out of print now and a rare score, so this digital download is a great option.  It also has some unique chapters not otherwise available.

The Business of Baby

Investigative journalist book release Jennifer Margulis' The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line

Blurb: Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease? The Business of Baby, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism, exposes how our current cultural practices during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby’s life are not based on the best evidence or the most modern science, revealing how American moms and their babies are being undermined by corporate interests. An illuminating combination of meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, health care administrators, and scientists, Margulis’s impassioned and eloquent critique is shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory. The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants.

The reviews give little previews of contents
"This book investigates 10 specific practices surrounding childbirth, showing how health-care profits and big money have corrupted our culture and hoodwinked American parents about what's best for our kids. Several of these things are shocking: hospitals selling foreskins, useless and harmful drugs and treatments being pushed on parents, and the US having the highest rates of moms and babies dying in the industrial world? But this is investigative journalism with a point: like Carson's Silent Spring, the author weaves them into a larger point about how America's for-profit medical establishment, big pharmaceutical companies, and liability aversion lead to parents being offered 'choices' that are not what's best for their babies. As a parent, I was outraged to find that I was duped in so many ways when my kids were born, and recommend this as a wake-up call to new parents and to our society"

Father's Home Birth Handbook by
Leah Hazard - This excellent book starts with a good comparison of the risks and benefits of homebirth, starting with safety and continuing to what it takes to create a happy family.

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Living Well: 'Pushed' cries out for childbirth options - review by BOB CONDOR - "As a former editor at Ms. magazine, Jennifer Block is accustomed to writing about women's issues. Often those issues relate to the female body and health . . . "

Latching On - The Politics of Breastfeeding in America, a DVD

What Your Pediatrician Doesn't Know Can Hurt Your Child: A More Natural Approach to Parenting by Susan Markel and Linda F. Palmer

Dr. Markel has clearly done her research about the complicated issues around newborn treatments and procedures. Her suggestions about the eye ointment and vitamin K will be very helpful to new parents in navigating this area.

As the title implies, this book is meant to be used in conjunction with the standard sort of book that covers breastfeeding, burping and diaper issues.

I love the fact that this book has a full chapter on birth-related issues but then gets to the heart of how parents can easily be their child's best advocate about all sorts of health issues. I especially like her treatment of fever and ear infections.

This may seem silly, but one of the things I like best about this book is the size. Many babycare books are either very thick or oversized in some other way. They're hard to handle, especially with a baby in one hand. This is a book that you can actually read while you're breastfeeding or cuddling baby, which is what this book is all about anyway.

The Functions of the Orgasms: The Highways to Transcendence by Michel Odent - OK, let's be honest.  Who doesn't want to read this book?

Michel Odent's books are always very interesting, chock full of useful information about the normal hormonal processes involved in all aspects of reproduction.  This book will help natural childbirth advocates to understand how drug-free births can also be pain-free births.

Check out this summary of CHAPTER TWO


-         Emergence of new perspectives
-         The fetus ejection reflex
-         Climbing towards the ultimate steps
-         A crucial moment
-         A powerful hormonal flow
-         The real climax

The Baby Bond: The New Science Behind What’s Really Important When Caring for Your Baby, by parenting expert and pediatric nutritionist Dr. Linda Folden Palmer, is a breakthrough guide that reveals the many unknown, exclusive benefits of a responsive, nurturing parenting style that begins with this precious connection.

"The extensively documented Baby Matters... could serve as an attachment parenting primer, covering breastfeeding, bonding, and cosleeping. Palmer also pays a lot of attention to food allergies and immunity protection. " --Mothering magazine

Modern Childbirth: Failure to Progress - this is a great review of 3 books by Sarah Blustain

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
New York: Da Capo Press, 2007, 400 pp., $26.00, hardcover

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006, 305 pp., $24.95, hardcover

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006, 320 pp., $24.00, hardcover

The Sacred Birth Workbook (ebook) by Stephanie Dawn, based on the Sacred Birth Workshop, is the only workbook of its kind designed for women and men wishing to have an empowered, expanded and joyful pregnancy, birth and early parenting experience.

Using spiritual tools, as well as practical steps and insights, Stephanie Dawn shows you the way to the pregnancy, birth and life of your dreams!

Linda Page's book, Healthy Healing, is the most valuable holistic health reference book I've seen for non-professionals.

I recommend The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Lothian and DeVries. It gives practical, sensible advice and strikes the right tone of being realistic without being scary.

Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel [Ed: I'm not sure how she can call a hospital the best of both worlds when you still have to have a strong advocate

Psalm & Zoya - The Unassisted Homebirth of Our Twins - this is a terrific new video.  Wow!  www.earthbirthproductions.com

My clients really like Journey into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth by Sheri L. Menelli

Homebirth Rites...A Homebirth Documentary - The first homebirth film to cite the CPM2000 study published in the British Medical Journal in June 2005, Produced & Directed By Tony McVickers & American Midwives

What Babies Want video - "This documentary is about the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world.  Research is now showing us that our society is a product of how we welcome and raise our children.  With love and connection, babies develop minds that are coherent and flexible, ready in turn to make compassionate and empathic connections with others as they grow.  As we learn how early relationships shape the structure and function of the brain, we are also learning to have a new appreciation of the wisdom of ancient cultures who knew to welcome the infant, even during early pregnancy."

This is a fabulous video - every pregnant couple and new family should see this!

I just showed the What Babies Want movie in class tonight. The response from my couples was mixed. Most thought it went too deep into issues they felt skeptical about. They loved the photography and sound science aspect of it. They felt it ended on a negative note and were left with an unclear  framework. Some said they needed more instruction and less analysis. I love the film. I would, however, break the film into parts and work a lecture and discussion into it. Some parts I'd leave out altogether. The therapy sessions about recalling birth memories where significant but not as scientifically backed as other parts of the film. They tried to make them touching and personal but there was little connection to these characters. There's just not enough of the person's life story to connect to and  so, there's no "Aha!" moment. It is as if a movie could be made on that topic alone. Shown all at once was too much for them to take in. Noah and his wife were sweet and genuine. I loved that! The expert panel was credible and engaging. The music was beautiful.

Hey! Who's Having This Baby Anyway? by Breck Hawk, RN & Midwife - A Guide and Workbook

This is a great book for helping women to understand some of the dynamics involved in maternity care, i.e. the hospital and hospital staff are likely to be more concerned about liability issues and the smooth functioning of their institution than the are concerned about the quality of the birth experience for mother, baby or the rest of the family.

Although some of the clinical information isn't completely accurate, this is a generally very useful book.  Those interested in homebirth may find that their local situation is very different from what Breck describes about the area where she lives.

Resources for Ordering Books, Videos and Supplies

Helpful Book Recommendations - Non-Commercial Sites

Book Reviews By Natalie Forbes Dash

Books and Videos Available from ALACE

La Leche League International Book Evaluation Committee Books for Group Libraries

APPPAH - Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology & Health has put together an extensive list of relevant books and videos.

Patti's Parenting Bookshelf

General Book Reviews

The NMMA (New Mexico Midwives Association) Guidelines for Practice are finally available in book form.  The Guidelines were written by practicing midwives in our association and serve as a comprehensive policy and procedure manual for homebirth and birth center practitioners.  Copies can be ordered by sending $35 (which includes shipping) to :

P.O. Box 40647
Albuquerque, NM 87196

Books worth your time - Recommended Reading from a Childbirth Educator - updated July, 2004

Pre-pregnancy and Conception

 Parenting Begins Before Conception,  Carista Luminare-Rosen

Women¹s Bodies, Women¹s Wisdom,  Christiane Northrup, MD

The Whole Person Fertility Program,  Niravi B. Payne

Taking Charge of Your Fertility,  Toni Weschler

Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition,  Marilyn Shannon

Pregnancy and Childbirth

 Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth,  Henci Goer

Good Birth, Safe Birth,  Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer

Birthing from Within,  Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Active Birth,  Janet Balaskas

The Birth Partner,  Penny Simkin

Birth Your Way, by Kitzinger

Giving Birth: A Journey into the World of

Mothers and Midwives, by Taylor

Rediscovering Birth, by Kitzinger

Birth Reborn,  Michel Odent, MD

The Natural Pregnancy Book,  Aviva Jill Romm

Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year,  Elizabeth Noble

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn,  Penny Simkin

The Pregnancy Book,  William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN

The Birth Book, William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN

Five Standards for Safe Childbearing,  David Stewart, PhD

Special Women: The Role of the Professional Labor Assistant,  Paulina Perez

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth,  Sheila Kitzinger

The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book,  Jennifer Louden


Birth After Cesarean, Dr. Bruce Flamm

VBAC Companion,  Diana Korte

Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities,  Henci Goer

Natural Birth After Cesarean: A Practical Guide,  Johanne C. Walters , Karis Crawford

Silent Knife,  Nancy Wainer Cohen

Open Season: A Survival Guide for Natural

Birth and VBAC in the 90's,  Nancy Wainer Cohen


The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League

The Breastfeeding Book, William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN

The Nursing Mother¹s Companion, Kathleen Huggins

So That's What They're For: Breastfeeding Basics, Tamaro

The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp

The Baby Book,  Dr. William Sears, and Martha Sears, RN

Your Amazing Newborn by Klaus and Klaus

Nighttime Parenting,  Dr. William Sears

Touchpoints, Dr. Berry Brazelton

Infants and Mothers, Dr. Berry Brazelton

The Incarnating Child,  Joan Salter

Mother's Day is Over, Shirley Rald

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child,  Zand, Walton, and Roundtree

How to Raise a Healthy Child,  Lendon Smith, MD

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor,  Robert Mendelssohn, MD

Your Baby and Child, Penelope Leach

Super immunity for Kids,  Leo Galland, MD

The Family Nutrition Book,  William Sears, MD

The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp

Some Newer Books

Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy by Amy L. Lansky, PhD provides an in-depth and exciting account of the history, philosophy, science, and experience of homeopathic medicine. At the core of Impossible Cure is the amazing story of how the author's son was cured of autism with homeopathy. It also includes dozens of other testimonials of homeopathic cures for a variety of physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Impossible Cure will serve as an invaluable guide to anyone interested in learning more about this intriguing form of health care.

Birthing by Irene Byrne, M.A. - "Choices You Have to Create the Best Birth Experience For You and Your Child". OK, I'm probably not the best person to write a review of this book because I was terribly disappointed in their incredibly brief and sloppy treatment of homebirth.  For a book that holds itself out as a guide to creating "The Best Birth Experience", it gives very short shrift to what those who have tried it almost always consider an essential ingredient of "The Best Birth Experience" - birthing at home.  The book lacks any critical analysis of ACOG's position that homebirth is dangerous, merely parroting ACOG's citation of studies that compare the safety statistics of UNATTENDED homebirths with hospital births.  And in a sterling display of lack of critical thinking, the book fails to explain that giving birth at a birth center is exactly the same as giving birth at home, except that you're going to somebody else's "home".

BABY CATCHER: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife presents both home births and hospital births in a way meant to avoid alienating those on
either side of what too often degenerates into a heated argument about place of birth.

"The Childbirth Manual" by Sandra Roberge

Giving Birth - A Journey into the World of Mothers and Midwives by Catherine Taylor:

Books For Expecting Parents

BABY CATCHER: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife presents both home births and hospital births in a way meant to avoid alienating those on
either side of what too often degenerates into a heated argument about place of birth.

"Birth Without Violence" by Frederick Leboyer (online version).  The book that started the gentle birth movement.

"The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth" Sheila Kitzinger

"The Childbirth Manual" by Sandra Roberge

"The Well Pregnancy Book" - i forgot, but it was just recently revised

"Special Delivery" by Rahima Baldwin

"Your Baby, Your Way" by Sheila Kitzinger

"A Good Birth, A Safe Birth" by Roberta Scaer & Diane Korte


"The Very Important Pregnancy Program" by G. Brewer

"Birth Reborn" by Odent

"Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg & Peter Rosegg

"The Birth Book" and "The Baby Book" by Dr. and Mrs. Sears

"A Wise Birth" by Penny Armstrong

"Active Birth" by Janet Balaskas

"Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn : The Complete Guide" by Penny Simkin

"Herbs, Helps & Pressure Points for Pregnancy & Childbirth" by Katherine Tarr (hard to find, but can be purchased directly from the publisher, Whitman Books, Inc. or from MImidwife's Bookshelf)


"Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts"

"Pregnant Feelings" by Rahima Baldwin

"Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention & Vaginal Birth After Cesarean&qu ot; by Nancy Wainer Cohen & Lois Estner

"Natural Childbirth After Cesarean" by Karis Crawford & Johanne Walters

"Preparing for Birth with Yoga" by Janet Balaskas


"Homebirth" by Sheila Kitzinger

"The Water Birth Handbook" by Roger Lichy & Eileen Herzberg

"Gentle Birth Choices" by Barbara Harper, R.N.

Preparing for Growing the Family Beyond the First Child

"From One Child to Two" by Judy Dunn

"Siblings Without Rivalry" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

See also: Resources for Children for recommendations for books to prepare older siblings

Grieving and Healing

"Rebounding From Childbirth: Toward Emotional Recovery" by Lynn Madsen

"Ended Beginnings" by Claudia Panuthos

Books For Midwifery

"Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin

"Holistic Midwifery" by Anne Frye

"Polly's Birth Book - Obstetrics for the Home" by Polly Block

Books for Doulas and Birth Attendants

"Mothering the Mother" by Marshall Klaus, John Kennell and Phyllis Klaus

"Easing Labor Pain" by Adrienne Lieberman.

Aromatherapy Recommendations

"Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Margaret Fawcett, RGN RM, LLSA. Publisher: in the USA in 1993 by Element, Inc. 42 Broadway, Rockport, MA

"Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Essential Oils for Radiant Health" by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi. Publisher: English Translation 1990 by Sterling Publishing Company.

"The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils" by Julia Lawless, Element, 1992

"Aromatherapy An A-Z" by Patricia Davis, C.W. Daniel, 1988


"Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy & Childbirth" by Richard Moskowitz, M.D.

"Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants" By Dana Ullman, MPH

Herbal Resources

"The Complete Women's Herbal" by Anne McIntyre

"Herbal for the Childbearing Years" by Susan Weed

Children's Healthcare

To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl - one of my clients loves this book but takes issue with the first chapter.

"Child Health Guide: Holistic Pediatrics for Patients" By Randall Neustaedter, OMD

"Natural Healthcare For Your Child" By Austin & Thrash

"Flu: Alternative Treatments and Prevention" By Randall Neustaedter, OMD

"Beyond Antibiotics: 50 (or so) Ways to Boost Immunity and Avoid Antibiotics by Michael A. Schmidt, Lendon H. Smith & Keith W. Sehnert

"Super Immunity for Kids" by Leo Galland

"The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults" By Randall Neustaedter, OMD

"Healing Childhood Ear Infections: Prevention, Home Care, and Alternative Treatment" By Michael Schmidt

"Food Allergies Made Simple" by Austin & Thrash

"Home Safe Home; Protecting Yourself and Family form Everyday Toxics and Harmful Household Products in the Home" By Debra Lynn Dadd

Womens Health Issues

"Birth as an American Rite of Passage" by Robbie E. Davis-Floyd

"Listening to Your Hormones" by Gillian Ford

"Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis" by Dr. Alan R. Gaby

"Screaming to be Heard" by Elizabeth Lee Vliet

"What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" by John R. Lee

"Reclaiming Our Health" by John Robbins

"Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom" by Christiane Northrup

"Obstetric Myths vs Research Realities: A guide to the medical literature" by Henci Goer

"A Woman In Residence" by Michelle Harrison, M.D.

"and you thought you were safe" by Dr Ken James -  explores microbes, and birth.

Reviews and Opinions of Selected Literature

"Living Joyfully With Children" by Win and Bill Sweet

I think it's a great book to give to new parents.  It is easy to read and written in short bits with plenty of anecdotes to give you an idea of how to apply the principles presented.  It does deal with toddlers and older children primarily, not much on infants.  The best thing it has to offer is to help people be conscious and present in their parenting.  So much of actual parenting seems to be reactive in nature and replaying old scripts from our own childhood experiences.  The other really useful thing is that it gets both parents on the same page.  The Sweets recommend sitting down and forming principles to govern your family by.  This allows you to talk it out between yourselves and determine if your parenting goals are the same.  Then as your children get older they begin to participate in this process.  This allows them to feel a part of making the family work, instead of just being told what to do.  There is also a huge emphasis on letting children have as much unstructured play as possible, even and especially as they approach and enter adolescence.  All around I think it is a very good choice to give to new parents. It's easy to read, broken down in small digestible bits, and very practical.

"Birth Chairs, Midwives and Medicine. University Press of Mississippi"

Once birth was treated as a natural process rather than a medical condition. Women gave birth seated on birth chairs or stools, helped by midwives. Then changes in attitudes toward women and about the practice of medicine made birth a province of a male-dominated medical profession.

In Birth Chairs, Midwives, and Medicine Amanda Carson Banks traces the evolution of birth from natural event to medical crisis.  Using birth artifacts, interviews, early texts, and four centuries of birth chairs, Dr. Banks argues that the catalyst for the radical redefinition in the philosophy of birth was the struggle for control over the act itself.  Such changes in attitude, in turn, altered the very practice of and approach to delivery.


Helen Varney's "Nurse-Midwifery", our study group went through the same frustrations all of you did. We kept disagreeing with the book, and being frustrated by all the "call the doctor" type stuff. However, it is a very comprehensive book, and I've certainly been referring back to it a lot. The skills section in the back is really good, I found the suturing section really helpful. The newborn exam section is good too.


Polly Block's "Polly's Birth Book - Obstetrics for the Home", (563 pages) by Polly Block. Polly is a very experienced Utah midwife and the book is both practical and thorough. Polly can be found via directory assistance, or write her at Hearthspun Publishers, 475 North Third West, American Fork, UT 84003. I don't remember what I paid for the book. It is hefty and may have cost $25 or so, but I remember thinking it an incredible bargain. I am a dad who delivers our children, catches rather, and I have so far found this book invaluable. I haven't spoken to Polly for a few years but I think she is still at the above address.

The WomanSource Catalog & Review

I wanted to pass on a recommendation for a new book called The WomanSource Catalog & Review which is kind of like a Whole Earth Catalog for women. It offers reviews of over 2,000 resources including an excellent chapter on women and spirituality with reviews of books, organizations, catalogs, audios and all kinds of stuff. All the reviews are original and contributed from women around the country. If you haven't seen it, it's a great resource. Highly recommended and available from Ten Speed Press 1-800-841-BOOK

Seasons Of Change: Growing Through Pregnancy And Childbirth

I LOVE Suzanne Arms book "Seasons of Change: Growing through Pregnancy and Childbirth. It's great for first time mothers because it helps to get them connected as they read this mothers' diary. The reader also watches the writer struggle with issues, and make choices. It's a beautiful book with all of Suzanne's photos. An easy read...not terribly technical...but connecting.

"The Birth Book" and "The Baby Book"

Dr & Mrs. Sears' books are good - "The Birth Book" and "The Baby Book" - very LLLeague oriented - plus "attachment parenting" thrown in for good measure... I LOVE birth stories so another favorite is Penny Armstrong's "A Midwife's Story." Those Amish women really know how to birth.

For Childbirth Images

A wonderful little known book is: Winter's Child (Der Trier Morch) by Dea Trier Mørch, originally in Danish, and published in English translation by University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln, 1988. It has wonderful author-done woodcuts of women in labor, nursing, at the moment of birth. A non- romanticized multi-class focus too. I hope this is of use. We used the woodcuts for multicultural birth pamphlets (with permission).

Unassisted Childbirth

Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Kaplan Shanley  - Most people gasp when they hear the phrase, "Unassisted Childbirth". I know I sure did.  I thought the idea was totally preposterous. To start with, I didn't think it was possible for a woman to give birth completely unattended.  (Well, I also used to think a woman couldn't give birth outside the hospital.  My, how we can change!) And it certainly didn't seem like a good idea.

Anyway, I wanted to say that I have started to read this book and  am so impressed with it.  It's amazing in the way it conveys an  absolute trust in birth and the birth process.  It's fantastic.  It is *so* inspiring and so beautiful.  It starts with a discussion  of birthing traditions in different cultures which I found really  interesting.  And it includes some nice personal birth stories  from the author.  It's also very easy and enjoyable to read.

I'm recommending it to my clients to help develop their trust in  the process, even if they do still choose to have a midwife at the birth.  :-)

This book may also be the answer for all those people whose relatives are vocally resistant to the idea of homebirth.  Leave a copy of  "Unassisted Childbirth" around the house, and suddenly the idea of  a homebirth attended by a midwife will start to seem mainstream.  :-)

One of the reasons I'm posting this is because it looks as if the book may soon be out of print.  I'm going to buy a few extra copies  while they're still available.

If you want to order this book, the best way is by ordering  directly from the author.  The $18 price includes shipping.  Laura Kaplan Shanley, 760 36th St., Boulder CO 80303

Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way

I have a book on the Bradley Method by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg that was good if a little condescending .

"A Wise Birth"

A Wise Birth by S. Feldman and P. Armstrong. This is written more from a sociological point of view rather than being a "practical manual" but I found it helpful in overcoming some of my preconceived notions about childbirth.

"A Wise Birth" by Penny Armstrong. My alltime favorite, bar none.

The Social Transformation Of American Medicine

THE SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN MEDICINE, the rise of a sovereign profession and the making of a vast industry. (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction) by Paul Starr, Basic books, Inc., publishers........In sisterhood, Victoria

"A Good Birth, A Safe Birth"

"A Good Birth, A Safe Birth" is a good gentle introduction to a consumeristic approach to childbirth..by Roberta Scaer & Diane Kort

Home Court Advantage

Mayer Eisenstein's book Home Court Advantage claims that we have shorter labors because we are at home in familiar surroundings.

Dr. Mayer Eisenstein delivers babies at home in the Chicago area. His group Home First is a big corporation I understand. He spoke at the 1990 NAPSAC conference in St. Louis.

The book is available direct, or at least it used to be. Phone (312)973-2297.

6652 N. Western
Chicago, IL 60645

Used to cost $10.95, including shipping.

"Your Body Believes Every Word You Say"

Your Body Believes Every Word You Say by Barbara Hoberman Levine ($12/ Aslan Pub).

It talks about "Seedthoughts", and has a whole chapter of phrases folks use which have a negative impact on their subconscious, which then of course affects their life. It is a wonderful book, with a focus towards self-healing.

Allopathic History

For all you midwives with inquiring minds......if you want to read a great, challenging, mind opening book about how allopathic medicine came to be what it is today and what happened to midwifery and other types of healers -- have I got a book for you! Discussion groups work well with this book as it is chock full of mind boggling information you'll want to talk over and ponder with others. Once you read this book you will be able to see not only where we are and why we are, but you may have some greater power available in choosing what's next for midwifery and enrolling others in your vision.

"Mothering The Mother"

Mothering the Mother: How a doula can help you have a shorter, easier, and healthier birth by Marshall Klaus John Kennell, and Phyllis Klaus

"Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide"

I would recommend any book by Penny Simkin and I am now reading "Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn : The Complete Guide" It is very well written and easily understandable. This is a MUST read for any mother to be !

I loved "Easing Labor Pain" by Adrienne Lieberman.

Excited, Exhausted, Expecting" by Arlene Modica Matthews @ pregnancy

What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know by Gail Sforza Brewer and Tom Brewer (really excellent nutrition guide--out of print--hunt around)

Obstetric Myths vs Research Realities: A guide to the medical literature by Henci Goer (really great book if you want the facts to answer you doc's ideas)

Used Books

I deal in used medical and allied health field books. All books are at least 25% off list on current editions. The older the book the greater the discount. All books are in good to excellent condition with a 30 day return policy. If I do not have a title I can do searches for them. If you have books that you are interested in selling let me know(nothing over 5 years please).
For more info please e-mail me at nortnexu@lightlink.com

For Childbirth Images

A wonderful little known book is: Winter's Child (Der Trier Morch), originally in Danish, and published in English translation by University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln, 1988. I don't have author's name handy but this ought to be enough to find it. It has wonderful author-done woodcuts of women in labor, nursing, at the moment of birth. A non- romanticized multi-class focus too. I hope this is of use. We used the woodcuts for multicultural birth pamphlets (with permission).

A wide assortment of excellent childbirth books (including Obstetric Myths vs. Research realities) and parenting books are available from The Birth Source at (213) 667-2366. A free catalog is also available. Mention ICAN and 25% of the profits are donated to ICAN.


Dance of the Womb - The Ancient Art of Bellydance as a Tool for Conscious Childbirth by Maha Al Musa - For the first time an Arab woman has revealed to the world how  bellydance can be used as a powerful tool.

Video Reviews

See also: Videos from Cascade, and their section on Videos: Midwifery & Obstetrics

Birth video sources

Waterbirth International - lots of great waterbirth videos, plus some others

Cascade - lots of videos

HomeBirthVideos.com - both VHS and DVD

Birth International - Australia - they have more DVDs listed in their paper catalog than online (as of 3/05) (formerly Ace Graphics?)

Perinatal Education Assoc. Inc - USA - www.birthsource.com
98 East Franklin St, Ste. B. Centreville, OH 45459
Phone 1-866-88 BIRTH toll free Email infor@birthsource.com

Baby Talk Consulting - South Africa  - www.babytalk.co.za [No longer selling videos?]
PO Box 15047 Lambton 1414 Phone 27 11827 4810
Email babytalk@mweb.co.za

NEW DVD release “BIRTH WITH GLORIA LEMAY” - (2011) This is my new favorite DVD!  There are quite a few births, all beautiful and gentle and safe.  It's lovely to see physiological birth unfold with occasional gentle guidance from the midwife.  Gloria gives us a special treat in that there is an optional track with commentary so that students can learn from listening to her comments as they watch the video through a second time.  And the EXTRAs have lots of information about the function of the foreskin; I learned a lot from watching this.

Everyone loves Ricki Lake's new birth movie: The Business of Being Born!  California midwives might say that the births are a bit frenetic for their tastes, but they say that women birth the way they live; it's not surprising that Manhattan moms birth differently from northern California moms.  :-)

An Interview with Cara Muhlhahn, Midwife Featured in The Business of Being Born

Natural Born Babies: A Modern Birth Story - The film has already received rave reviews from Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, as well as Dr. Sarah Buckley.  The film was a finalist in the 2009 Birth Matters Film Contest and was awarded AABC's (American Association of Birth Centers) 2009 Media Award.

Her goal in creating the film was to specifically illuminate out of hospital midwifery and women's choices in health care.  The cast of out-of-hospital birth clients touch on all the typical questions and concerns that families have such as safety, the role of a midwife, pain and pain management, water birth, active involvement of families members, control and the snowball effect of interventions typically found in a hospital setting.

What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?

In answering that question, Orgasmic Birth poses the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths.

Filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro reveals a revolutionary approach to birth that is statistically safer and healthier for both mother and child than the birthing and delivery methods that are standard in many parts of the world today.

HomebirthDads.com -  The Dad's Perspective on Homebirthing on DVD - This excellent DVD has some wonderfully honest discussions of homebirth from the dad's point of view. This would be a great addition to any midwife's library, and curious families would get more of the information they need to know whether homebirth is right for them or not.

Le Premier Cri (The First Cry) follows pregnant women all around the world, as they live, work, and give birth.

I screened the movie and imo   it is horrible...   an apology of interventionism using the "anthropology" aspect of birth around the world.
The french  grass roots  are denunciating the same problems and the movie was a flop  thank god..

Home Delivery - The Adventure of Giving Birth at Home

Safely Into Water - An Appreciation of Waterbirths - This is a great DVD about waterbirth. I really appreciate that it starts with a discussion of waterbirth safety and then offers birth videos and interviews with parents.  I especially appreciated that they had lots of time with dads speaking about their experience!

Amazing Talents of the Newborn is available from The Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute.  It's based on the book, Your Amazing Newborn, by Klaus and Klaus.  The video is very affordable ($10), an excellent presentation, and parents are thoroughly enthralled when they watch it.

Spiritual Midwifery is available on DVD now - it's invaluable for the history of The Farm Midwives and the resurgence of homebirth.  There are lots of videos of the actual emergence of the baby so it begins to seem more and more normal.  As someone who attends mostly waterbirths, I find the focus on the semi-reclining position to be a little old-fashioned, but the natural environment was pioneering in its time!

Under her own steam - A delightful homebirth of a first baby in The Netherlands. The English commentary describes an active birth, with the mother using upright positions and the bath for comfort. She delivers in a supported squatting position . . . from ACE graphics - Australia.  [The Dutch on the video cover is "op eigen kracht - een thuisbevalling", and it references this Dutch site, although I wasn't able to find the video there.]

A Swedish film about homebirth

I Watched My Brother Being Born! , (© 2005 Anne Vondruska. Running time: 21 min.) -  narrated by seven year old Katarina Vondruska.

There is also a book of the same title written by the mother daughter team of Anne and Katarina Vondruska.

"Welcome To The World"

Recommendation for birth video

"Welcome to the World". The women in this video are both vocal (one is exceptionally so) and seem much more realistic...they don't mention any "method", but give birth in a way most of my students find in line with their belief of what birth should or could be like for them.

Unfortunately, this video is expensive ($190.00) but maybe a group of teachers could buy it together. INJOY lets teachers preview it for $10.00, so it doesn't have to be bought "sight unseen"....

A catalog of 60 great birth and parenting videos is available from
InJoy Videos
3970 Broadway, Ste. B4
Boulder, CO 80304

I just saw the movie “What Babies Want” myself.  It is Fabulous.  Noah Wyle‘s narration will hopefully let this get into some “big” hands.  The filmmaker’s next film is going to be about midwives and how almost all complications can be dealt with at the bedside next to the parents which prevents the trauma of separation.  It is a really good film and I will be showing it in my travels.  If you are interested in one you can contact me too.

I went to the premiere of "What Babies Want" tonight and I cannot say enough about this film.  I purchased two copies and considering making it a requirement that my clients view it during pregnancy.  It really examines the awareness during pregnancy and birth.  For example, it followed twins from 20 weeks on with ultrasound it showed interaction, then when they were around maybe 2 years old, they put up sheer curtains in a room and the twins on their own went between a curtain and made the same movements as they did in utero towards one another.  This was just one small part of the movie.  There were alot of biggies at this premiere including Noah Wyle from ER who contributes alot to this film personally with his wife and son and narrates it.  Jay Gordon was also their, and Mary Jackson.  The theater was full.  You can purchase this video or DVD.


This is a video, rather than a reproducible article, but references are given in the movie..........(also on the cassette sleeve: The Lancet(1990, Vol. 336, pgs. 1105 - 1107), by Lennart Righard................)

The video is Delivery Self-Attachment, by Righard and Kittie Frantz, 1992. It's 6 minutes long and very affordable.

From the sleeve: "Righard's study.....looked at two groups of newborn babies. In the first group, the infant was placed on the mother's abdomen and within 50 minutes most infants had self-attached to the breast and were suckling correctly. In the second group the newborn babies were removed from the mother's abdomen, bathed, measured and replaced on the abdomen. The infants in this group from an unmedicated birth self-attached but half of them had a faulty suckling pattern. Most of the infants from a medicated birth were too drowsy to be able to suckle at all." Opinion: This is a simple movie, with all visuals, no narration except for some written notes before each scene. Profoundly affecting and delightful to watch.

Comfort Measures for Childbirth (Penny Simkin - 1995 - 40 minutes)

[ Official commercial review - This long-awaited film is the next best thing to being in Penny's childbirth education class.  Students ask questions, Simkin provides food for thought and we see couples practicing what they learn.  As always, the reassurance that childbirth is a normal, natural process is evident in Simkin's work.]

Midwife' review - I found this video so disturbing I've removed it from my collection.  It's hard to imagine the circumstances under which it might be valuable; perhaps a mom having a truly necessary induction might find this an appropriate video. Otherwise, it's full of really unhelpful mental images of birth: Most of the women have IVs in; many women are lying on their back, even in very early labor.  And the footage seems to be all hospital births, even though many women planning hospital births will sensibly labor at home for as long as possible, at least in early labor.  What's the deal here? I get the distinct sense that Penny has sold out here, essentially pandering to the hospital industry instead of getting her message across about non-pharmaceutical pain relief.  Truly, I would expect most women laboring under the conditions shown in this video to need an epidural pretty quickly, given the lack of upright positions and the notorious discomfort of laboring on your back.  The joke, of course, is that she does describe the basics of an "unsupportive environment" - stark surroundings, bright lights, loud noises, lack of familiar objects - but neglects to mention that these could all be very easily avoided by laboring at home.  As you can tell, I thought this video was horrible.  I wouldn't show it to my labor coach clients except as noted above - if they're facing a medically necessary induction - and then we presumably wouldn't have time to watch the video.  I suppose I could toss it in my labor support bag and we could watch it while the mom's lying flat on her back with pitocin and an epidural.  I thought this video should be entitled, "How to Cope with Unnecessary Pain caused by an Unsupportive Environment and Lying On Your Back". And, no, I'm not done yet.  It is very difficult to watch a video that offers suggestions for how to cope with the horrible pain of back labor without mentioning that you should fire your birth attendant if they didn't notice a posterior presentation early in labor?  What are you paying them for, anyway? To stand by and blame you for the posterior position as you're being wheeled down the hall for your Cesarean?  It's a good thing she mentions so many ways of coping with back labor, because all those moms lying on their backs will end up with posterior babies, whether or not they were posterior to begin with. This video is "obscene" in its pretense that this video has anything to do with normal birth.

One Midwife's Collection of Reviews of Birth Videotapes and Audiotapes - some copied directly from advertisements, so be forewarned!

Gentle Birth Choices (Barbara Harper - 1994 - 47 minutes)
This video is universally loved and is my favorite one for showing actual births.
[This book and video set provides a new model of maternity care that relies less on high-tech intervention and more on preparation and good health for mother and child. This video blends interviews with midwives and physicians of six actual births, showing the options of water birth, squatting, home birth, and vaginal birth after prior cesarean.  The video clearly and forcefully demonstrates the power of women during childbirth and the choices available for a healthy and happy birth experience.]

Special Delivery (Rahima Baldwin - 1989 - 43 minutes)
[Follows several couples before, during and after birth.  Some choose a doctor, others a midwife.  The labor and birth scenes demonstrate a variety of positions, breathing and relaxation techniques, and sounds of normal labor and birth are included.]
WARNING - The soundtrack has some static on it; it may be mildly annoying. This is a dated video, but the births are great. Some notes about and in response to the video:
At 2 minutes into the video, the birth attendant announces the baby's sex. I don't do this unless you ask me to.
4 minutes - About the benefits of hospital birth, i.e. the woman "enjoyed being in the hospital and being waited on."  I can recommend some good postpartum doulas who will come to your house and wait on you.
6 minutes - "The labor progressed slowly through the day".  If a woman hasn't kicked into active labor by late morning, it's unlikely to happen until evening.
9 minutes - I'm happy to support dads in catching the baby.
Birth #1 - homebirth - I don't wrestle the head out like that. Notice how white the baby's body is from the compression in the birth canal compared to the darker color of the head.  It's quite common for a baby's body to be really white like that immediately at birth.  Typically, they pink up right away. Then there are some really nice descriptions of coping with the intensity of labor pain and great descriptions of birthing energy.
Birth #2 - hospital birth - This is her first baby, and she's having a really long early labor; taking prenatal herbs can shorten early labor dramatically. Laboring on your back is just asking the baby to turn posterior, which may have been a big problem with this labor. I don't encourage pushing flat on your back if at all possible. I don't splash betadine all over the mom's bottom and the baby's head. Notice how much the head is molded - birth and baby's are amazing. [The molding of the head confirms that the baby was likely stuck in a posterior position, which is why labor progressed so slowly and was so painful for this woman.  We'll be working hard to prevent a posterior position.] I don't routinely suction vigorous babies!
Birth #3 - birth center birth - This dad is rubbing the mom's back in the typical way that a nervous dad does.  I'm sure the mom is basking in his loving attention, but she might appreciate it even more if the rubbing were a little slower and less frantic. It also seems to help to massage mostly in a downward direction - something about helping to focus on moving the energy down and opening the cervix rather than holding things up. Any baby who's biting the doctor's finger doesn't need suctioning! Notice that they're holding the baby right side up so the fluids will pool in the back of the throat so they can suction them out.  I prefer to hold the baby face down for a few seconds to let the fluids drain naturally. The mom said she would have liked it to be slower.  If things seem to be moving too quickly for you, a hands-and-knees position or even a knee-chest can slow things down and help you regroup.

Giving Birth (Suzanne Arms - 200?)
This is a remake of the great Giving Birth: Challenges and Choices.
Suzanne Arms is possibly the most articulate person on the subject of natural birth.
I wholeheartedly recommend this for everyone.  In particular, the bonus materials do a great job of documenting what the first hour postpartum if often like at a homebirth.  See "Molly's Story".

Giving Birth: Challenges and Choices (Suzanne Arms - 1998, 35 minutes)
[A model for normal childbirth, addressing popular misconceptions and hospital routines, focussing on issues of pain, fear, midwifery, doulas, babies; featuring Dr. Christine Northrup, OB.]
This is very nicely produced and is an excellent film for sharing with family who are dubious about your homebirth choices.  There is a single homebirth shown.

Birth in the Squatting Position (Suzanne Arms - 1998, 10 minutes)
Notice that the women are RESTING in the squatting position; they're not using energy holding this position. In our culture, women often need help getting in and out of this position, but the goal is to be completely relaxed once you're in the squat.  Notice also how well the tissues stretch around the baby's head and how gently the moms are pushing right at the end when they birth the head.  It's also interesting to me that in almost all of these births, both the mother and baby seem to need a short period of isolated integration before they reconnect with each other.  Please let me know if you'd like to set the pace with this, rather than have me "hand the baby" to you as soon as baby's born.

Birth Day (Naoli Vinaver Lopez and family- 1998, 10:40 minutes)
This is a short video and very engaging - a wonderful video to watch together as expectant parents; it shows how much the laboring woman depends on her partner to be her anchor. This is also a good video for children to see because it is very gentle and shows the kinds of noises women make while birthing.

Birth Into Being - The Russian Waterbirth Experience (Global Maternal/Child Health Association - 1998, 28 minutes)
[Video footage from the Soviet Union - three Moscow home waterbirths, and a birth in the Black Sea.  WARNING - This video has some mild religious references, linking waterbirth to baptism, which may be offensive to some.]
This video is beautiful and inspiring.  I especially enjoy watching the midwife catch her own baby, doing expert perineal support from behind and flexion of the baby's head from in front.
I was particularly interested in seeing that the babies left under water for a few seconds don't seem to be taking a breath.  It's only after they're brought to the surface that they display a startle reflex, flinging their arms wide and expanding their lungs to take their first breath.  They do really seem to be waiting until after they're brought to the surface.
If you're interested in lotus birth, let me know and we can talk about details and logistics.

Water Baby: Experiences of Water Birth (Karil Daniels - 1986 - 58 minutes)
[A unique documentary that provides in-depth information on the use of water for labor, birth and early childhood development.  Includes: four water births in home, hospital and birth center settings; demonstrations of water training exercises for pregnancy, water birth, and for infants, to enhance their early childhood development.]
Wow!  This video is really terrific . . . very inspiring.  It shows the normalcy of birth, yet with a very appropriate reverence for the process and the newborn's experience.
Some things to note - During Michel Odent's conversation with the Lighthouse couple from California, they're showing a waterbirth.  Note the ridge of skin that forms along the midline of the baby's skull as the bones overlap to pass through the tightest spot in the pelvis; once the head reaches full crowns, this disappears as the head re-expands.
Throughout this tape, the breastfeeding techniques aren't great.  They're kind of jamming the nipple in the baby's mouth without waiting for the newborn to gape the mouth nice and wide.
I liked the flowers floating in the water - feel free to get these for your waterbirth.
The baby born in the San Francisco Victorian is taken to the hospital for a checkup immediately after the birth.  This is completely unnecessary, as I will do a thorough checkup of the baby about an hour after the birth and will refer you to your pediatrician if anything looks unusual.  Actually, given the rise in hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria at hospitals in this area, taking a healthy newborn to the hospital is a really dangerous thing to do.
Regarding what to wear for a waterbirth . . . my assistants and I are comfortable with any level of family nudity, so please feel free to do whatever you're comfortable with.  We see lots of naked people in our work, both newborns and adults.
Notice that they're holding the baby right side up so the fluids will pool in the back of the throat so they can suction them out.  I prefer to hold the baby face down for a few seconds to let the fluids drain naturally.
NOTE 1 - There's a long segment at the end of this video about the work of Igor Charkovsky and the use of water for prenatal preparation, birth, and infant work. Some people may find the focus on performance mildly disturbing and this whole segment somewhat extreme.
NOTE 2 - There's an erroneous statement on the video: "Placental separation could cause lack of oxygen right away."  This is completely false.  The placenta and the umbilical cord contain oxygenated blood that can continue to supply oxygen to the baby for 5-10 minutes after the placenta is separated.

Midwives . . . Lullabies . . . and Mother Earth (Michel Odent, Bullfrog Films - 1993 - 53 minutes) NOT YET IN COLLECTION!
Dr. Michel Odent, a pioneer of the natural birth movement, believes life-long health is influenced by the mother during pregnancy and birth.
[from Compleat Mother ad -
- A visionary seeks small solutions to large problems.
-  In Holland, two-thirds of the births are attended by midwives.  Women are seen by doctors when medical care or supervision is needed.  The cesarean section rate is around seven percent.
- Nearly all societies develop rituals to separate mother and newborn.
- Most medical procedures in birth are, in fact, absolutely irrational.
- If we transform birth we can transform the world.
- Dr. Odent's 98-year-old mother shares her own enlightened view of birth.
- Social drug abuse in western countries started one generation after the widespread use of drugs during labor and birth began.
- When we understand human nature at birth, we will change the way babies are born.

Water Babies: The AquaNatal Experience in Ostend (Michel Odent, Bullfrog Films - 19?? - 37 minutes)
"This video explores the water birth experience at a state hospital in Belgium where over 20000 women have given birth in water.  We see women attending prenatal water workouts and learning to relax with their partners in water.  A number of births are shown in a clear Plexiglas tank including an amazing breech birth and the birth of twins.  Recommended to stretch the boundaries of normal birth just a bit further."
This video was ground-breaking in its time, but when I look at it now, the births just seem like they traded a birthing tub for the birthing table with stirrups.  The mom is still lying in a semi-reclining position, and the OB is still "delivering" the baby.
They also leave the baby underwater for quite a while - up to a minute or so?  Maybe more? The standard of care in our area is to bring the baby to the surface almost as one continuous gentle movement, so I prefer that my clients not get these images in their minds.
I also object to their rant about how waterbirth should "obviously" be in a clinic.  There is no reason they couldn't take all their safety equipment to the woman's home, but it's a lot more convenient to have the women come to their clinic.  I call this way of thinking "The Mystique of the Building."  It's mystification and nothing more, and I don' t like to propagate it.
There is also some poppycock about a woman who had a c-section because her pelvis was "too small".
And, [pet peeve alert], the birth attendants are not wearing gloves.
The real plus of this video is great footage of a breech waterbirth.
Bottom line - there are much better birth videos available now!

Delivery Self-Attachment (Lennart Righard - 1996 - 6 minutes)
This is a really fun video that I love to watch over and over.
[Dr. Righard's study, published in The Lancet (1990, Vol. 336), 1105-07), looked at two groups of newborn babies.  In the first group, the infant was placed on the mother's abdomen and within 50 minutes most infants had self attached to the breast and were suckling correctly.  in the second group the newborn babies were removed from the mother's abdomen, bathed measured and replaced on the abdomen.  The infants in this group from an unmedicated birth self attached but half of them had a faulty suckling pattern.  Most of the infants from a medicated birth were too drowsy to be able to suckle at all.]

The Elk and the Epidural - How to Have an Epidural in Awareness - A Video from Birthing From Within (Pam England and Suzanne Denmark - 2001 - 15 minutes)
This video has the flavor of being an ad for the midwife and large families. There is some value in that there are very brief shots of about six homebirths, which can help to give birthing couples a mental image of what homebirth looks like. There were some things I particularly didn't like about this video - there were some images of women lying down in labor; the midwife pulls on the head much more than I'm comfortable with in all the birth scenes. There's a waterbirth included on here, but the footage is very brief. There's a moderately religious flavor to the video.

First Breath - This is a slide show of natural birth.  There are beautiful still photos of a number of different couples organized by stages of labor.  These are mostly black and white.  This is an excellent "starter video" for those who are squeamish.  You can just watch the end if you want to see photos of just-born babies.

Sweet Bunches - Birth Choices with a Licensed Midwife (Nancy Spencer - 1998 - 40 minutes)
This video has the flavor of being an ad for the midwife and large families. There is some value in that there are very brief shots of about six homebirths, which can help to give birthing couples a mental image of what homebirth looks like. There were some things I particularly didn't like about this video - there were some images of women lying down in labor; the midwife pulls on the head much more than I'm comfortable with in all the birth scenes. There's a waterbirth included on here, but the footage is very brief. There's a moderately religious flavor to the video.

Home Sweet Homebirth (Yvonne Lapp Cryns - 1998 - ?? minutes)
The history, philosophy and legalities of homebirth. There are no births on this tape.

Whose Body, Whose Rights?  (1995, 56 minutes) - A great discussion of the history of circumcision as well as medical and ethical issues.  Some graphic footage.

Breech Videos

Water Babies: The AquaNatal Experience in Ostend

My Footling Breech Birth DVD - This is a home delivery of a posterior footling breech. The parents were informed of the risks of breech birth, and wishing to avoid a cesarean, chose to deliver at home with trained and experienced midwives .

Psalm & Zoya - The Unassisted Homebirth of Our Twins

Teaching Videos

Okay, I need to get a video or 2 for teaching...what are your favorites?  I'm pretty attached to Stages of Labor, as a beginning overview to get everybody on the same page with the basics, but am open to hearing about others that might introduce the stages of labor and what is happening.

I would also like a video that shows some active labor coping....positions, breathing...as a visual reference and to show the reality, /and/ that it is doable and how to be active even in a hospital room...etc.  Has anyone seen / had feelings about
Miracle of Birth - 5 Birth Stories
Miracle of Birth 2
Tried and True
or anything else good for teaching and demonstration??

My favorite is "

For the most part, I steer away from videos because it is a passive way of learning that isn't necessarily useful.  Also, one of the biggest problems with videos is that it is impossible to impress upon couples the variety of ways in which labor/birth can unfold.  Not only that but it is possible to contribute to setting up specific expectations.  Videos also fail to give a realistic sense of time, as well as, not possibly conveying what the mother/parents experience during the process.

With all that in mind "giving birth and being born" has a rather rambling montage of several labors/births that take place in an out-of-hospital birth center.  I've had parents tell me that it was at first boring but as it went on they realized that 'oh, that's what labor can be like'.

After the montage there is a very well done presentation on the physiology of labor with some excellent graphics.  It does NOT break labor down into Cartesian coordinates like other descriptions might . . . so, in an attempt to be culturally appropriate, I provide the information they'll need for understanding the "stages" of labor.

For couples planning hospital births you'll preface the film with 'this is normal physiology'.  'If you don't relate to the setting start thinking about how you can create an atmosphere for yourselves that will enhance your physiology in the hospital.  Including creating ways of using the furniture and equipment in the LDR suite.'

Other Cultures

Duka's Dilemma - An anthropological study of life in Hamar, Southern Ethiopia.

Birth Day - Mexico

Sacred Birth - an unassisted outdoor birth in Peru.  Available from their new website (2007). Also available from homebirthvideos.com

homebirthvideos.com has a section on World Birth

Duka's Dilemma - An anthropological study of life in Hamar, Southern Ethiopia, including a brief birth sequence.

We Know How To Do These Things: Birth in a Newar Village - home birth in Nepal

Birth Into Being - Russia

Born in Water - Central America

Channel for a New Life - There are no Dopplers used in this last one, even though the dad is an MD, the famed Leo Sorger.

Water Babies: The AquaNatal Experience in Ostend  - a different birth culture, although "Western".

The classic, "Birth in the Squatting Position" is about Brazilian women, I think.

Resources for Children

Highly recomended books for preparing the sibling ages 2yrs-6yrs:
   Baby On The Way  by William and Martha Sears
   When You Were A Baby  by Katharine Ross
   The New Baby  by Fred Rogers
   I'm A Big Sister/ Brother  by Maxie Chambliss
Some OK books
   The New Baby  by Mercer Mayer
   The Night Before The New Baby  by Natasha Wing

We're Having a Homebirth by Kelly Mochel - a colorful, contemporary book!

Home Birth Coloring Book - A pdf coloring book free for download...

Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend, Julie Vivas

[From Publishers Weekly] - Jack and his family welcome a baby boy in this tranquil description of a seamless home birth, from an Australian team. "Mum's got pains in her tummy and that means her baby is ready to be born," announces the boy narrator. Overend makes the baby's arrival a family affair and carefully describes the events from a child's perspective. When Mum takes a walk outdoors alone in the whistling wind to "help the baby along," for instance, Jack thinks, "If I was a baby listening to that wind, I'd want to stay inside Mum, floating in the warm water." The woman's walk and subsequent indoor pacing works, however, and she finally gives birth in a standing position, fully undressed, supported by her husband as her children and sister look on, and a midwife guides the infant out. In a placid concluding tableau, the older siblings curl up in sleeping bags before the fire, alongside their parents and the newborn. Vivas's (Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge) softly focused pencil illustrations capture the serenity of the delivery, as well as Jack's aweAand slight apprehensionAat the arrival of his new brother. Though the natural childbirth scenario may not be typical of most youngsters' experience, those awaiting the birth of a new sibling may well take comfort in the book's smooth introduction of the stages leading up to labor as well as its soothing tone and images. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

[From School Library Journal] Kindergarten-Grade 6-A refreshing book that dares to show and tell it like it is. "Mum's got pains in her tummy and that means her baby is ready to be born." So Jack, his two older sisters, Dad, Anna the midwife, and Mum's sister get ready. The baby's clothes are laid out, the "special microphone" and an oxygen tank are unpacked, and a giant bed is set up by the fire. Readers are then presented with the routines and realities of a home birth. This book is bold and sensitive, tasteful and sweet. There is no shielding from reality. Mum yells and screams and leans on Dad. Jack, from whose point of view the story is told, is anxious and unsure of what to expect. When the baby is born, there are several startling and yet beautiful images: the baby's head emerging from between Mum's standing legs, the baby boy dangling upside down on the page with his umbilical cord reaching up, and finally the mother, naked and on her knees cradling the baby in her arms. There is an inner glow to these colored-pencil illustrations, a softness and purity that allows for total acceptance of this unadorned experience. There is a feeling of intimacy, as if readers are more than bystanders to this most incredible and natural occurrence. The howling wind is used as a literary element, wild as Mum progresses through her labor, dying down at night, and calm, as it is inside. This is a book to be shared, discussed, and simply enjoyed. It is steeped in love.
Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Runa's Birth is a wonderful story book about four year old Lisa's experience with her sister's homebirth. The story sensitively takes young and old to Lisa's home and explains her day as her mother's labour progresses. The book describes birth as it is: A thrilling natural process. You see Lisa's mother using lots of different strategies to deal with her contractions and explains how the midwife provides support.

Video - Children At Birth (Jay Hathaway - 19??)
[The joy of birth is shown in four natural, unmedicated births at home, in a birth center and at the hospital.  Children are present at all the births.]
In general, these are nice births.  This video shows some things that I wouldn't particularly recommend, in particular, having a laboring woman lying almost flat on her back.
Birth #1 (with Dr. Gregory White) - The noise level at the birth seems quite high for a sensitive newborn who's hearing unmuffled noises for the first time.  I encourage a much lower noise level.  Also, I try to make a point of not engaging in lots of conversation at and immediately after the birth, because my chatting distracts the baby and parents from greeting each other. I try to respect that this is the family's special time.  I encourage family members not living in this household to allow the immediate family quiet time to get to know their baby according to their own instincts.  They'll let us know when it's time for the rest of us to meet the baby.
Birth #2 - The OB's technique is much more aggressive than I like to see. Also, you won't be required to wear caps or masks.  [grin]
Birth #3 - Note the crumpling of the scalp just before the head pops back out at the full crown.  Also note that the placenta is still attached to the baby when it's birthed.  You don't often see this in a video.
Birth #4 - This appears to be an unassisted birth; I liked the way the mother astutely notices that the baby is gurgling from fluids in the throat and suggests that the dad hold the baby with the head slightly lower for a bit. Notice how well this clears the baby's airway.  (I generally encourage this for 5-10 seconds immediately after the birth, typically on the mom's belly.)


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