A Labour of Love – Gabrielle Targett

Book Review by Emily Schoeman

We live in a world full of choices and important decisions that aren’t taken lightly, so why is birth?

Why do we fear birth?

Is it the unknown or are we programmed to do so?

In the book, A labour of Love: Childbirth Without Fear by Gabrielle Targett we are able to explore this all whilst preparing ourselves to become more educated on the big mystery to help take the fear out of the birthing process and help women actually enjoy our “BIRTH-day”.

This book provides a good and easy read for any expecting parents or birth workers. Whilst it covers a wide range of topics, which give a great overview of pregnancy and what can be expected, it is very to the point,  factual and evidenced based. This gives you the confidence in what she is saying. Below I have outlined the key points that stood out to me and drew me into the book and why I would highly recommend it.

The opening few chapters of this book focus on Gabrielle’s birth experience with her children. In doing so you are able to gain a connection and understanding about the woman who is writing this book and her purpose behind doing so.

Gabrielle sets out with a very clear mission in this novel and that is to help women achieve the birth that they desire and the ways in which they can achieve this. The first major point that Gabrielle brings up is that we as women have a choice in who is delivering our babies and that it isn’t just an obstetrician which is the societal norm to do so, and that by going down this route we may be limiting our future choices.

This is then linked into the fact that knowledge is key, and that the more informed a woman is going into her birth the more she will be relaxed and empowered during her birth. Gabrielle states that birth is 90% knowledge and 10% physical.



Gabrielle provides a great explanation into how fear and the hormones that are associated with fear can have an impact on labour. At the same time as this she has a very in depth section of choice and what choices are available to women when it comes to their birthing options, but she also has very good information on what are the different pain relief options including both analgesic pain relief and natural pain relief techniques.

With a combination of the two she explains how the hospital system currently is set up with only the hospital protection in mind. This is then how the hospital come up with the ‘policy and procedures’ which is then used to condition women when they go to the hospital antenatal classes and so she encourages woman to also seek alternative antenatal classes to help them be fully informed on all of their birthing options and allow them to birth the way the want to birth and limit the need of any unnecessary medical intervention.

Gabrielle has created a very usefully book that is very relatable and allows you to have a laugh through some of the serious sides of things and providing quite a useful information for any parents to be, support person and even for birth workers. Gabrielle has references and facts to back up her information as well, so it fills you with confidence that she has actually written it with a true knowledge and understanding around the whole birth processes. It is also very clear to see just how devote she is to the birthing process but also to the pregnancy journey of the mother and helping them find support networks and you find yourself feeling the same as you are reading along.


I feel that this book would be an extremely beneficial read for anyone who is planning their birth as well as their support person as it allows them a little insight into the birth process. For Birth workers this book can be helpfully as it has great explanation into how the different hormones realised through the different stages of labour can play different roles and the importance of each hormone. I was able to relate to a lot of the different aspect of her book when reflecting on my own birthing experience

My name is Emily Schoeman and I am a qualified doula who has trained at the Doula Training Academy. If you would like more information about my doula services please contact me:

Business Name:     Em Schoeman – The Lioness Doula
Business Email:     [email protected]
Phone:     0479 099 955
Website:    www.thelionessdoula.com.au
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