• Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

  • By: Ina May Gaskin
  • Narrated by: Randye Kaye
  • Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (393 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Drawing upon her 40-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation's leading midwife, shows the benefits and joys of physiological childbirth by showing women how to trust the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience.

Based upon the midwifery model of care that recognizes that spontaneous labor in healthy women cannot be improved upon, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention-as well as how to know when such intervention is necessary.

Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:

  • Reducing the pain of labor without drugs and the amazing role that touch and free movement play.
  • What really happens during labor.
  • Orgasmic birth-testimonies from those who experienced it.
  • And much more...
©2003, 2019 Ina May Gaskin (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

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A bundle of woo woo stories

This book was not for me. I returned it. I like something that science-based and factual. I think I heard about this book through the Pregnancy Podcast, which is grounded in facts so I ended up ordering it from Audible. I listened to a few stories and they were... difficult to listen to. One was by a woman who was told that she was high risk because the baby was likely overweight. She refused to believe them and ended up with Ina May's midwives. It was lucky that she didn't have issues, but the blatant disregard for facts concerns me. Another story described an incredibly... strange woman who described thinking of having her "yoni" as a cave with water coming in and out and how she helped another woman give birth by climbing into bed with her and crying/kissing her or something. Other stories were about how midwives would kiss the woman while giving birth to help it along. I'm sure this appeals to some of the yogis out there, but this is just not the scene or the book for me. There was nothing in this that I found useful.

17 people found this helpful

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Read the actual book

I bought the book. Reading it was more soothing due the voice sounding very robotic. The information is very calming... it’s just the actual voice that distracted me.

10 people found this helpful

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Solid book, but be careful of stories at the beginning!

Despite the author saying that her book is full of positive stories, there are at least three birthing stories that are not great to listen to as a pregnant. One story in particular ends in hospice care and eventual death for a baby. My hormones were not prepared for this story.

Let your partner go through these stories and tell you which ones to listen to, if you’re feeling sensitive and wanting positivity only.

The rest of the book is insightful and empowering I will say!!!!

8 people found this helpful

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Loves the book but it had some quirks

This was overall a great book that had a lot of useful information, studies and knowledge of natural birth. The book starts out with a ton of stories from women who had given birth under Ina. I wish they would have put the stories at the end as there were a lot of them and some of them were a little out there but it was very nice to hear from so many women to help take the fear of the process away.

Another thing to note is this book is meant to give a bit of history of the evolution of maternity care over the last century and in different regions and it points out a lot of bad practices that some of today’s practices were based on that may be outdated or overused. It is also worth noting that this book was published in the early 2000’s with many of the studies from the 90’s or before many of which call out bad or traumatic things that happen at hospitals. This may make it a little hard to listen to if you plan to have a hospital birth however she does have a very good chapter on how to advocate for yourself and vet the hospital on those practices when choosing a birth center. Many hospitals have since changed the way they practice and adopted more practices that align more with midwifery and even have midwives that work in the hospitals which is a testament to Ina’s work in trying to influence practitioners to adopt a midwifery standard of care.

My biggest issue with this as an audiobook is the narrator sounds like a phonetic robot like Alexa and it makes it so much harder to listen too especially the stories.

6 people found this helpful

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Terrible audiobook

I’m incredibly disappointed in myself for purchasing this without checking first. It’s a robotic auto-voice that has no tone, inflection, or emotion in the voice. There’s no connection to the reading of this book or the wonderful stories contained within. Do not buy this audio book, it’s a colossal let down.

3 people found this helpful

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Thankful to have came across this book

I am about to be a first time mother. I learned so much about birthing, what is “normal”, what to talk to my doctor about, what my options are, and it gave me peace of mind. I want to birth naturally and everyone has been resistant to the idea and it was making me terrified of giving birth until I listened to this book. I feel at peace and empowered to birth how I see is fit for me and my baby. ♥️

2 people found this helpful

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Such an incredible book!

Wow! So much great info! Makes me wish i could have a home birth with Ina May as my midwife! The audio was odd and kind of computerized but i didn’t notice it after about 10 minutes.

2 people found this helpful

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Narration is AWFUL

I generally like the content of the book, but found the stories to be a bit much as I was looking for something more informative.

But that being said… it’s truly amazing that I’ve gotten as far as I have in this book because the narration is horrific at best. The stories are emotional and moving but the robotic and monotone narration of them makes them lose the immense amount of emotion. Its so disappointing and extremely distracting.

1 person found this helpful

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This is a MUST READ for EVERY expecting momma!

The stories in the beginning are powerful and educational (including the couple with poor outcomes). Education is empowerment ladies, and if you want to do your best to get the birth you really want... What better way to get that information than from long time birth professionals with real hands-on experience that actually attend births from START to FINISH as part of their training and experience. The fact that most OB’s are missing that, is such a loss for everyone, and needs to be re-evaluated amongst other things in maternal-neonatal care.

After having 2 emergency cesareans, an “elective cesarean” (not really because I was told I didn’t get a choice by multiple providers), a natural stillborn birth at 36 weeks gestation (and because she was deceased, that is the ONLY reason we were given the vbac option), and now currently preparing for a natural vbac with a doula at 36 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby...

I have completely immersed myself in the education and evidence-based information regarding childbirth, and continue to be blown away by what I am just now learning and what so many of us are never told and just accept and falsely trust more than we really should.

I felt this book was fair in giving credit to all birth providers and was not a blame game or witch hunt by any means...

It presents facts, shares real life stories, gives multiple solutions and enlightens so much of what has been hushed or down-played for waaaay too long.

So grateful to Ms. Gaskin for putting this wonderful resource together, and I will be recommending it to every expectant momma from now on. Thank you!

1 person found this helpful

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Life changing!

Written by my wife: This book showed me that my body is made for labor and perfectly capable to have a comfortable time during the process. Mind over body ideals are so strengthening to the mind. I really feel prepared for the hard work ahead of me in a few months. I recommended this book to all women. Young and old. The sooner we can realize and internalize that our body’s are perfect for birth and that birth is normal, healthy and uneventful (unlike television where it is full of blood, commotion, and horror) the better we will all be.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-20

Computerised narrator!

I’ve heard great things about this book but shall have to read it, the voice of the narrator of the audiobook seems to have been put through a computer. It’s hideous to listen to.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-18-21

Brilliant!

Gave me such great grounding for my home birth. I Would definitely recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A. Keen
  • 03-20-21

Great book, terrible narration

Really great book, invaluable information. It’s a shame the narration is so bad, very robotic. I found it quite unpleasant to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mom of one
  • 01-24-21

Disappointing

Had to stop listening because the narration was so horrible! Tried to change the speed but it was as if a robot was speaking.

Disappointed to say the least

1 person found this helpful

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  • JJRobertson
  • 01-07-21

Terrible narrator, buy the book instead

Sounds like it’s an automated narrator, it’s impossible to listen to. But the content is excellent do definitely buy the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • debula
  • 08-22-20

Terrible listen, great read

The audio book is awful, sounds like it’s read by a robot. The book itself is worth grabbing and reading

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sophie Gallagher
  • 06-08-22

Listen to the sample

I am so disappointed I eagerly purchased this without listening the the sample. I really wanted to listen to this book following incredible reviews and as I am headed towards the end of my pregnancy however I can't even listen to the first chapter because of the narration. Certainly not in consideration for the genre of the book.

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  • Cassie Faye
  • 02-09-21

Invaluable for anyone expecting a baby

My husband and I listened to this book and found it very informative! For us it was still a bit too medicalised as we are planning a Freebirth but for anyone with fears or wanting to learn more about the reality of birth, it is an amazing resource! The voice takes some getting used to as its a little robotic but the content is so interesting that its a small price to pay.

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  • Yana
  • 10-15-20

Truly one of the best book I have ever read

Wow , I believe such an awesome and amazing informative book should be read by every woman and future mum and also by the man that want to understand and help their woman to be healthy and safe before any step you make in your pregnancy and labour. Knowledge is Power

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  • Marianne
  • 08-27-20

Great

Wonderful account of Gaskin’s knowledge, inspirations and experience. This book is full of useful information and anecdotes about many different aspects of pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding. I feel way more confident and prepared to attempt an unmedicated birth having read this and I am also far more aware of my rights as a labouring woman, what I can firmly say no to without endangering anybody. If you can get over the stepford wife narration, I would recommend this book to all pregnant women. Wish Ina May could be my midwife.

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  • Joel
  • 10-30-20

The narration is a robot

I'm sure the book is good but I just couldn't finish it with the narration. The robot voice was very distracting. I personally couldn't stand it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Caitlin Simcock
  • 05-28-21

Horrible Voice!

I really really really really really wanted to listen to this book - but can’t get past the VOICE!!
It’s horrible!!
Sounds like a computer text-to-voice system.
Couldn’t get past the intro

2 people found this helpful

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  • Samantha
  • 12-07-21

Narrated by what sounds like a robot

I was so excited to listen to this and being unable to get my hands on a physical copy. Less than 10 minutes in and I’ve given up - the narration is absolutely awful, she sounds like a computer/robot and it’s impossible to listen to. Very disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-01-21

This book is amazing however the audio is not.

I read this book throughout my first pregnancy and found it so incredibly helpful in regards to having and inspiring me to have a natural birth so the above reviews are confusing to me? I think when it comes to having a natural birth, this book is truly helpful. However I would suggest reading it verses the audio book. The narrator sounds like a robot who calls your house trying to sell something. It isn’t very pleasant to listen to! Definitely recommend the hard copy instead.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-20

Biased

Not helpful only encouraging natural birth not happy with this purchase at all especially when I’m being induced and am happy with medical intervention find it a bit insulting

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-19-22

loved the book, narration was robotic

The book content was fabulous, but the robotic style of the narration made it difficult to follow. I ended up a copy of the book to re-read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-13-22

Great book

loved the book and very empowering. the reader is a bit robotic but you get used to it after a while.

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  • susy
  • 03-07-22

Must be read!

This book is so informative! It helped me to make wise decisions and advocate for myself in the hospital. If you want to avoid trauma or you feel fear about giving birth I strongly recommend this book!

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  • LostInThought
  • 02-17-22

loooove.

love love love. this book is the best preparation for birth, in my opinion xx

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  • Penelope Weir
  • 02-11-22

Do not get this- voice is horrible

I'm sure there must be some ok content in this book...however, it is just impossible to enjoy or take in with the terrible narration. I'm not sure who would have approved this to be put onto Audible with a voice like that!? Very strange.