Pros: very positive view of birth, useful information
Cons: too idealistic, no other midwives except Ina May get a 2% cesarean rate! Not very realistic to expect every birth to be this way, too anti-hospital
I loved this book for all the reasons you'll read in the other raving reviews. However, I feel it's wise to keep in mind that Ina May is like THE goddess of midwifery, and her results and experiences are not representative of what realistically every woman can expect -even with the best of intentions and the best midwife you can find.
I had visualized the perfect natural home birth a la Ina May, but the universe had other plans for us. I ended up in hospital with a cesarean, absolutely necessary after all else did not work. I feel the whole experience was made harder for me to digest due to reading this and other idealistic natural birth books. I was left to feel like it was all my fault that my body was not able to give birth naturally in water at home, because it seems like if we follow Ina May's guidance there's no reason it can't happen that way. And look at her results: a 2% cesarean rate in her practice!
This book is good for what it is, and I don't see how Ina May could improve it. Just be realistic and remember that not every woman can have a perfect natural birth. Positive books like this are desperately needed to balance out all the over-medicalized pictures of birth we are fed in our culture, so it fulfills that need well. But if you do end up not being able to have the natural birth you envisioned, Ina May leaves you on your own to work it out. Fine. That's not her job. Just be aware. She is also extremely anti-hospital which I find unrealistic. These days there are plenty of pro-natural birth hospitals which support a woman in birthing as she wants to, and Ina May does not acknowledge this in the name of promoting home birth. IMO that is not a very balanced view. he hospital where I gave birth was wonderful and did every last thing they could to prevent my cesarean. But again, Ina May is who she is and the world needs her to be that way, so I am not necessarily criticizing her for that. Just a word to the wise: not all births turn out this way and there are further resources out there for us who desperately wanted a natural birth but didn't get it.