Which one? Birthing from within OR Guide to childbirth - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-29-2012, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Ladies,


If I was going to only read one of these books, which should I choose?


My first birth wasn't the greatest. I'd read a lot and knew what to expect but was still afraid. Looking for something that will give me confidence to work through the pain...



New Mom to little G May 16, 2010.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:51 AM
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Can you not find both in your library? Borrow them from your MW? Borrow from a mom? 

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Old 07-29-2012, 11:13 AM
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I'd go with Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I read Birthing from Within 6 years ago with my first pregnancy. It's been so long that I don't remember exactly what was in it compared to the other books I read at the time, but I remember not being impressed.


I've read IMGTC this time and really love it. I'm in the same position that my first labor was not as marvelous as I'd like, and the book gives so many practical suggestions on what to do, like horse lips. I wish I'd done that last time. I didn't read most of the birth stories. The second part is the part I like.


My plan is to go through IMGTC and write down all the tips on their own piece of paper and flip through them during birth (or tell DH to flip through them and call out a new one every once in a while).


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Old 07-29-2012, 12:54 PM
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BOTH!! They're both such great books, but they're both pretty different in what they offer.

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Old 07-29-2012, 01:05 PM
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Guide to Childbirth, hands down!


I drank in every page from GTCB, and had to make myself read Birthing from Within. I think I gave up on the last chapter.

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Old 08-05-2012, 08:22 PM
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I read both, but if I was just going to read one, it would be Guide to Childbirth smile.gif HTH

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Old 08-05-2012, 08:26 PM
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Absolutely Guide to Childbirth. Especially if fear is your main concern. It's amazing.

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Old 08-05-2012, 09:11 PM
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I read and liked both, but if I was only going to read one, I'd go for Birthing from Within because that one just spoke more to me. I like the PP's suggestion about seeing if you can borrow a copy of both from a local library (my local library carries both books) or from someone in your area (e.g. care provider, doula, LLL group, local mom's group or mailing list). If you can't find the books to borrow, try reading a few pages online and seeing which one speaks more to you; Amazon has the first several pages of both books on its website.


Another book I found very helpful was The Birth Partner. My DP read it first and, even though it's written toward an audience of partner rather than birthing mamas, it gave me a lot helpful information and helped me think about what support would help me the most.


Wishing you confidence and a smooth and better birth this time!

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Old 08-06-2012, 02:49 AM
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They're both so good, it's hard to choose! If I had to pick, I'd say Guide to Childbirth. (But you really should read both! wink1.gif)

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Old 08-11-2012, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks very much guys!


I ordered GTC and am reading it now. So far I am liking it. If I get through it in time I'll find a copy of BFW, as most people seem to think that this book was also pretty helpful.


Thanks for your replies!

New Mom to little G May 16, 2010.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:32 PM
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I've read both, and by far I prefer Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.
But, I agree with the poster above, and you should check your local library/used book stores so you can read both!

I also really enjoyed Spiritual Midwifery and Birth Matters (both by Ina May), and I'm currently reading Enchanted Lives and Magical Beginnings by Deepak Chopra, and it's beautiful...but less about the birth process than just pregnancy in general.

Just me and DS.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:19 PM
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I've never felt that BFW is really a guide to childbirth, per se. I think it is more of an emotional workbook geared mostly towards women who have already had a negative birth experience in a hospital setting. For many women who are planning a natural birth/home birth and particularly so if it's a first birth, IMO, there isn't much relevant info in BFW.


If you are looking for an actual guide to what happens during labor and birth then Ina's May's Guide is excellent, and I love it to pieces, but my absolute favorite birthing book to recommend to clients is called Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. My personal opinion and experience is that understanding *exactly* what is happening to your body physiologically will help your mind and heart to be calm and able to work through any pain/discomfort you might experience and Active Birth explains all of that in easy to understand detail.


Not knowing exactly what is happening to your body can definitely induce panic. Panic releases the "bad" kind of endorphins and suppresses the catecholamines (natural pain killers) your body produces.


One of my favorite things that I learned from Active Birth is that when a woman is in any position that puts pressure on her back or hips, it closes her pelvic outlet by 30%!!! That is a significant difference and can have a HUGE affect on her labor and baby's birth.


Anyway, her book is full of great stuff, and while it is scientifically sound, it also encourages women to dig inside and find a center. It is the #1 labor guide/birth book I recommend, followed by Ina May's Guide, then The Functions of the Orgasms and lastly (because it's really not for everybody) Birthing From Within.

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Old 08-13-2012, 03:21 PM
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Ina May's awesome, but you might want to skip part three of that book while you are pregnant.  It gives a lot of statistics that may not be very comforting as you are about to give birth.  The first 2 parts are great for preparing for birth.   

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