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Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas

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If you want to know what YOU can do to have less pain & speed up labor …this is the book for you.

Janet shares the science & practical side why & how moving around in different labor & birth positions makes your life better during labor & birth.

There are tons of exercises, sketches & photos to illustrate what you can do to have an Active Birth. She also gives balanced information that doesn’t assume you will be giving birth at home, buck naked, in a tub.

Janet is the founder of the Active Birth Movement and originally authored this book in 1983. She is a big time advocate of Active Birth which is basically where a laboring woman has the freedom to move around at will, instead of lying on her back in a bed.

The layout of this book starts with describing what an Active Birth is and then describes the changes your body encounters in pregnancy.

She then continues by explaining specific exercises that are yoga based, discusses breathing, massage, actual labor and birth scenarios, helpful tips for spouses and/or birth support and ends with exercises to do after baby is born.

The purpose of this book is to teach mamas to develop all their capabilities for birth, to follow their instincts and take control of the childbirth experience whether they are giving birth in a hospital, a birthing center or at home.

Notes

-Active Birth is nothing new. It’s just a way of describing a normal labor and how a woman behaves when she trusts her instincts and her body.

-Having an Active Birth means reclaiming your power as a birth-giver, a mama and a woman. It also means that you take advantage of the safety net of modern medicine should the need arise, making even the most difficult birth a positive experience.

-Yoga exercises can tap into your instincts towards labor & birth.

-Women squatting and using birthing stools have been the norm for centuries. There’s historical proof that dates back thousands of years.

-Janet describes WHY Active Birth is better. (complete with drawings to explain)

-Your baby’s amniotic fluid protects baby from shock and infection. Your body is constantly replenishing the fluid.

-Practicing yoga exercises/birth positions will help you develop your instincts.

-Your breathing (during labor) is very closely tied with your emotions and your mind.

-In a way you need to surrender, and lose control and trust the whole birthing process which occurs without your conscious control.

-During labor, if you find the pain just intolerable, you might have a more positive, empowering experience by accepting pain medication- being educated and aware of the side effects to you and your baby.

-Squatting during labor can be super tiring. Having someone to help support you (literally) is a good idea, also have a pile of books you can sit on in between contractions, or a stool so you can rest.

-Janet gives tips for the partner on how to support the mama (literally).

-If you decide on a waterbirth and your water breaks while you’re in the tub, there’s no need to change the water or get out. The amniotic fluid is sterile.

Takeaways

What we liked most about Active Birth is how utilitarian and balanced it is.

There are tons of exercises, sketches & photos to illustrate what you can do to have an Active Birth. She also gives balanced information that doesn’t assume you will be giving birth at home, buck naked, in a tub.

The one thing to be prepared for though are the unitards and circa 1980s photos. Look past this and you’ll find a treasure trove of information that is gold.

A great read for anyone, whether you’re planning on a home, hospital or birth center birth.

You Can Get the Book Here.

(To satisfy our friends at the FTC- this is an affiliate link. That means if you decide to buy this book, amazon might send us so much money for helping you out, we could probably buy a jet & a matching yacht. :) )

We Hope these Book Notes are just a starting point for some big time Discussion. We can learn so much from each other {especially when we have differing thoughts}…

What did you learn from this book? What specifically helped you the most? How come? Let’s chat about it. Please share in the comments below.