This is an interest specific book and a good read for all birth workers and families who are interested in learning more about pregnancy and birth. As a certified midwife and holistic doula instructor I like to read as many books about birthing that I can get my hands on. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin is a book that is on every recommended reading list about midwifery. Ina May is a legend in her own right by being one of the pioneers of birth rights and an advocate for natural birthing for almost 50 years. So it has been a pleasure for me to read this book by one of the icons of midwifery in the United States.
Spiritual Midwifery is an easy read for anyone. Ina May uses plain language and lots of photographs and -illustrations to view the important points in her writing. It is clear that she wrote this book as an empowerment tool for everyone with an interest in birthing. The book is divided into three distinct sections: birth stories that documents a brief history of The Farm and the births that made this community famous, a section for families to learn how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and prepare for birth, and the third section is designed to give an overview of what a midwife does in the birthing process. The birth stories are plentiful, in fact I think there are too many of them that kind of repeat the same things in a different way, however there are some unique ones that give a different point of view like breech birth stories and the twin birth stories.
The information given in part two is invaluable for families as a guide to having a successful pregnancy and birth by creating a loving atmosphere with synergy that is beneficial for both the mother and her birthing partner(s). She includes such topics as nutrition, advise to husbands, and after baby exercises.
As for the section for the professional midwife I learned a few things to take notes on that I can use in my midwifery services including more supplies to add to my midwifery bag. She also talked about some strange diseases that I had never heard of in pregnancy and birth. Ina May leaves no stone unturned in sharing the vitals of developing good midwifery skills including the female anatomy, prenatal care, a very detailed section on presentation, and infant care once the baby arrives. However, these are not complete for midwifery training and should only be used as an enhancement to a formal training program or apprenticeship of midwifery. As a holistic midwife, there are some medically learned procedures that are taught in the book that I would use caution on and some chemical medications that I would deem unnecessary in a truly natural birth.
This book is a beautiful testimony to the miracle of birth and the strength that women have in bringing forth humanity for the survival of the world. A person cannot read this book without changing their view point about birth and the beautiful journey of creating other people!
I give this book 4 ankhs and recommend it to all birth workers and all families interested in empowering themselves in procreation.
K. Akua Gray
September 4, 2016