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Unassisted Childbirth

For many generations, society has assumed that childbirth, with its associated fear, pain, and risks, must take place in a hospital setting in the presence of medical professionals who have no relationship to the parents and their baby. Laura Kaplan Shanley rebuffs the context of this assumption, which treats childbirth as a “disease” rather than as a natural process. In Unassisted Childbirth, she calls upon the thousands of years during which women gave birth without medical intervention–arguing that with the proper beliefs, women are capable of and can opt for delivering their own babies, with or without their partners. Shanley, who had her own four children at home without medical assistance, explains how women’s apprehensions contribut

List Price: $ 27.95

Price: $ 27.95



This entry was posted on Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 at 6:40 pm and is filed under Kindle EBooks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments

  1. Lydia Musher says:
    50 of 58 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    I really wanted to like this book. Really., June 24, 2006
    By 
    Lydia Musher
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Unassisted Childbirth (Paperback)

    There are several things you need to know if you’re considering buying this book:

    1. Ms. Shanley has become an unofficial spokesperson for Unassisted Childbirth (UC is homebirth without midwifery care). So if you’re considering one, it is worth reading the book despite the points I’m about to make.

    2. As a previous poster indicated, Ms. Shanley’s book is not a handbook. It is more of an argument for UC, a nice collection of data and quotations to support UC, a recounting of her experiences in life leading up to and including her five UCs, and a recounting of other people’s wonderful UC stories. This part is good and I wish the book had stopped here. But of course, she couldn’t leave well enough alone.

    3. The remainder of the book, about half of the book presents Ms. Shanley’s cognitive view of the world: that you can control your body with your mind. For example, she practices (or practiced) “mental birth control,” which I can only assume is the practice of willing oneself not to become pregnant. It’s not her ideas that I find objectionable: it’s the rationale she uses.

    Most of her ideas come from a life philosophy she and her husband formulated. Many, many pages are devoted to recounting the philosophy of a series of books entitled Seth Speaks (and related titles) by Jane Roberts. Seth is Ms. Robert’s alter ego in the multiple-personality-disorder sense. Ms. Roberts devoted five books to Seth’s outpourings of philosophy.

    The fact that Ms. Shanley’s life philosophy derives largely from the ramblings of a multiple personality who does not use the word “but” – combined with the fact that her husband “willed himself” to lactate – gives the book a decidedly looney feel. If you can get past the feeling of, “Wow, this woman is certifiably nuts,” the book may be very inspiring to you. If not, I’d say skip the life-philosophy chapters.

    I recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin as an alternative from a woman who is equally positive about women’s bodies but sounds a little more sane.

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    ... on July October 23rd, 2011
  2. Mary Siever says:
    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Worth the read, August 15, 2004
    By 
    Mary Siever (Canada) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Unassisted Childbirth (Paperback)

    I first read Unassisted Childbirth before my first was born. I had already decided we were going to UC, but I wasn’t totally committed. Although I don’t agree with all of Laura’s spiritual/religious beliefs, they did not detract (for me) from the ultimate message of the book, which is that UC is a viable choice and the key is trusting yourself and God. She does not denigrate those who don’t choose UC, but shows that it is a respectful decision for those who so decide. We have had two beautiful, planned, unassisted births and look forward to many more. This book was the clincher for me. It brought me to the ultimate peace and tranquility I needed to proceed with our decision. I have never turned back and I thank Laura for sharing her journey and stories and thoughts with us. She has brought unassisted birth to the forefront of birthing choices and I believe the world is better for it.

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    ... on July October 23rd, 2011
  3. Corinna L. Burt says:
    22 of 25 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Good, just not what I expected, April 30, 2004
    By 
    Corinna L. Burt (Corvallis, Oregon United States) –
    This review is from: Unassisted Childbirth (Paperback)

    I was looking for more of a how-to book on UC. For example, how to cut and tie the cord, how to take care of minor complications (read: variations of normal) that may occur, and how to stabilize more serious conditions, such as a newborn who doesn’t breathe right away. Instead it was mostly stories and perspectives. There was a chapter on the dangers of medical intervention, but it was way too short.

    Nowhere in the book does it say that UC or homebirth is for every woman, or that medical intervention is never necessary. In other countries (with better infant and maternal mortality rates) homebirths are 33% of all births; in the U.S. they are 1%. I believe homebirth can be for most women. If a woman is comfortable with UC, it’s probably because it’s right for her. I was born by planned UC in the late 70s; I grew up thinking that was how all babies were born. I decided to have my first child in the hospital, out of ignorance and fear, and I am planning an attended homebirth for my second, with midwives who have agreed to be hands-off.

    Shanley mentions one important thing – medical intervention cannot save all babies. Some are just not going to live. In the case of her UC birth where the baby died, it was later determined that he would not have survived even if born in the hospital. If he didn’t have a chance of living very long after birth, the best thing was probably for him to have been born peacefully at home.

    So, the book was fairly good, but I actually got a lot more out of the website.

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    ... on July October 23rd, 2011