Unassisted Childbirth

Front Cover
ABC-CLIO, 1994 - Health & Fitness - 151 pages
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 contribute to most difficulties encountered in labor. In addition, she points out, only after the practice of placing women in infectious hospital settings began did the risk of hemorrhaging, sickening or even dying in childbirth increase. As she assessed prenatal procedures that supposedly assure the expectant mother, Shanley reveals the fallibility of such long-relied-upon techniques as ultrasonography, induction, supine birth positioning, the use of IVs, enemas, anesthesia and fetal monitors. The author then explores how women can, by building faith in the power of the birth process, change the feelings of guilt, shame, and fear that inhibit many from attempting unassisted home birth. Finally, she and others who have delivered their own babies--sometimes in the face of formidable societal opposition--tell their stories, full of love, triumph, and pride. This remarkable book offers new insight, alternatives and information for expectant mothers, midwives, childbirth professionals and all others concerned with the issue.

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1 Weve Come a Long WayOr Have We?
2 The Dangers of Medical Intervention
3 The Psychological Effects of a Traumatic Birth on a Family
4 Why Physicians Insist on Intervening
5 Personal Beliefs and Expectations
6 Dreams Impulses and IntuitionOur Psychological Lifeline to the Inner Self
7 Stories of Unassisted Births
8 The Case for Autonomous Birth
9 My Story

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About the author (1994)

LAURA KAPLAN SHANLEY is a free-lance writer who has contributed to journals and magazines on subjects of childbirth and spirituality.

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