Book Review: Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering By Dr Sarah Buckley MD
Written by Ashleigh Bond.
Birthing is not just about birthing a baby. A powerful natural birth experience influences a woman in so many ways and also influences her relationship with her child and how she mothers that child. It can be an extraordinarily transforming experience. I highly recommend Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering for all pregnant women and their birthing partners. Childbirth educators, obstetricians, midwives, and doulas can gain valuable literature and research resources from this book and will be reminded of the immense power of the undisturbed birthing woman.
The wisdom and science of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
Dr Sarah Buckley might be called a third-wave natural birth advocate. A doctor and a mother of four, she approaches the question of how a woman and baby might have the most fulfilling birth experience with respect for the wisdom of both medical science and the human body. Using current medical and epidemiological research plus women’s experiences (including her own), she demonstrates that what she calls “undisturbed birth” is almost always healthier and safer than high-technology approaches to birth. Her wise counsel on issues like breastfeeding and sleeping during postpartum helps extend the gentle birth experience into a gentle parenting relationship.
I was excited to discover that many gentle birth and parenting practices that I had instinctively chosen – for example homebirth, carrying and wearing my baby, and child-led breastfeeding – were well supported by evidence from science, anthropology, psychology, and evolutionary medicine.
From this book I learned that there are still major questions about, for example, the long-term safety of ultrasound; and that long-term studies of almost every other medical procedure in pregnancy and birth are lacking. I learned, contrary to medical belief, that a mother’s feelings and experiences during pregnancy and birth can have major, and possibly life-long, consequences for her baby and herself, which highlights the importance of gentle, loving care for women in pregnancy, birth, and mothering.
The middle section, “Gentle Birth – the Evidence”, looks at pregnancy and birth from medical and scientific perspectives, providing substantial and well-referenced information supporting informed and gentle choices. She has included articles about ultrasound and prenatal diagnosis because it is evident that parents are generally not given sufficient accurate information to make an informed choice about these technologies. Dr Buckley expresses concerns about the possible long-term physical and emotional side effects for both parents and offspring.
The book also covers one of Dr Buckley’s key articles, “Undisturbed Birth: Mother Nature’s blueprint for safety, ease and ecstasy”. This is an expansion of her previously published ecstatic birth material and features a wealth of scientific research that supports the ecstasy, and the evolutionary wisdom, of gentle birth. There is an in-depth review of the possible consequences of disturbing birth with intense monitoring and with medical interventions.
Dr Sarah gives a detailed outline of her own birth stories. Her own birthing experiences appear to deepen with each birth and express the power inherent in the birthing experience. At the beginning of her book she says how, as women we have fought for so many things such as equality, the vote etc. but we are not fighting for our rights to birth naturally and as women we are missing out on an incredibly rich experience.
This book inspires women to take back some control around choices during birthing. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering answers your important question and gives you the information you need to create a safe, satisfying, and gentle start to family life.
My favourite quote from the book…
It’s my body, my baby, my choice.
I hope this review helps you on your pregnancy and birth journey!
I’m Dr Ashleigh Bond, paediatric and pregnancy Chiropractor, co-founder of The Wellness Women and Wellness Women Radio podcast, and a Doula who has completed extensive prenatal and birth training at the Doula Training Academy with Vicki Hobbs.
If you would like to talk more about the role of chiropractic care through pregnancy, or for any further information about your birthing options, please contact me: