The Essential Homebirth Guide
For Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
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Birthing is a miraculous time when you and your baby will work together to bring about life. As you finally cradle your precious newborn in your arms, you should know deep in your soul that every decision that brought the two of you to this special moment was yours.
More families than ever are choosing to birth at home. Midwives Jane E. Drichta and Jodilyn Owen answer questions about the kind of care, support, and information you need as you investigate whether this option is right for you. Birth can be an empowering and positive experience, and this book provides gentle guidance, with high regard for your wisdom and ability to successfully navigate your prenatal care, birth, and early mothering.
Enriched with real birth stories from new mothers, The Essential Homebirth Guide offers thoughtful, compassionate advice on a wealth of birthing topics, including:
• Building a supportive homebirth community • Caring for yourself and your baby from your pregnancy through the postpartum period • Communicating about your birthing plans with your midwife, your partner, and your family and friends • Deciding whether homebirth is safe for you • Educating yourself about common pregnancy-related issues • Preparing your home and your family for the big day
Jane E. Drichta and Jodilyn Owen have attended a combined total of more than one thousand births in more than eleven years as doulas, midwives and birth educators. Based in Seattle, they are passionate birth advocates and educators both internationally and in the United States. Their writing has appeared in a number of publications, including the trade journals Midwifery Today and Squat, as well as numerous non-birth related publications.
"This comprehensive and well researched book is precisely what the homebirth community has been craving. It takes you from the decision making months of pregnancy through options for labor and beyond beautifully. What a welcome addition and reference for anyone passionate about homebirth."
"Homebirth is the gold standard by which all birth can be measured. This book is one of the most important books to come out this year. It addresses exactly what women want and need to know about this way of birthing. Birth is a human rights issue and homebirth gives both mother and baby back what rightfully belongs the them, their birth. This book is chock full of current information we have learned about birth in the past few decades. With a good midwife and this book in their hands, families are on the road to a miraculous birth experience."
"Professional midwives Drichta and Owen present a comprehensive and easy-to-read guide to lead mothers through each phase of pregnancy and home birth. The authors organize the book in a question-and-answer format, with heartfelt testimonials interspersed throughout. Their goal was to open the range of experience and exposure for pregnant women so when they "make decisions regarding where and how to birth, [they] will be making truly informed ones." Drichta and Owen stress that midwives focus on the mother and family--developing a strong relationship, educating the mother and creating a birthing plan tailored to the mother's preferences. The authors' relationship-centered chapters walk readers through each step of pregnancy and delivery, including nutrition, prenatal testing, home birth after a cesarean and 10 common pregnancy-related issues. The authors also discuss special circumstances such as twins and breech babies. In addition, Drichta and Owen instruct readers on how to prepare their home for birth (a clean bathroom is key). They also admit that not every birth can take place at home, counseling mothers to have a written plan if they must transfer to a hospital. The authors back up their assertions with statistics, and each chapter is footnoted. Appendixes include questions to ask when choosing a home-birth attendant, a home-birth reading list, websites for childbirth education and support, and resources for high-risk births. A foreword by Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, encourages mothers to access their innate birthing wisdom. A strong, helpful resource for anyone considering a home birth."
"A foreword by Christiane Northrup, the influential ob/gyn and bestselling author of Women’s Bodies,Women’s Wisdom (2010), ensures that this is no quacky guide to home birth. At a time when C-sections make up an estimated 30 to 50 percent of U.S. births, this book by two midwives and nurse educators puts the power back into mothers’ hands. And it offers guidance to all pregnant women, not only those who plan to deliver at home. Drichta and Owen talk about prenatal nutrition (nix the sugar and processed foods) and urge pregnant women to simply enjoy themselves. They note that, contrary to popular belief, women who miscarry are not at increased risk of miscarrying again unless they experience three sequential miscarriages. They recommend making a “birth kit,” including flexible straws (easier to drink from during labor), a heating pad, and lots and lot of towels. Taking to heart the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, they tuck in photos of women giving birth at home. Their calm, commonsense advice should make all pregnant women feel comforted and well prepared."
"The Essential Homebirth Guide is…everything women giving birth at home need to know. This book is a practical description of the many factors that need to be addressed when giving birth at home. I could tell that the authors had worked hard to give evidence-based information, and the amount of advice they give is kept at a minimum. … One of the struggles I’ve had when navigating the world of homebirth is that the amount of unbiased reliable information is very small. All midwives have a particular bias that needs to be measured when advice is given, and googling things usually takes you to forums where women are giving out plenty of opinions without much evidence to back them up. … If you’re giving birth at home I would rate this book as essential as Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and I can see it being incredibly useful to women giving birth in freestanding birth centers as well."