Spiritual Midwifery is a classic in the natural birth community. It is written by a midwife famous for her work on The Farm, an intentional community she helped form during the height of the peace-train movements of the 70’s. The book is clearly born of that era. Women describe their birth stories with terms like “psychedelic.”
Birth stories make up the first half of Spiritual Midwifery. The story of how author Ina May Gaskin came to be a midwife is also in the book. The Farm midwives have a remarkable c-section rate of 1.7% coupled with excellent health outcomes for the moms and babies in their care. This book explains some of the practices and principles behind these great outcomes. The second half of the book is primarily written to other birth professionals, sharing knowledge about how to support birth physiology and safety. It is informative for preparing for birth as well. The stories themselves are even more helpful for birth preparation, as you come away with a strong sense of confidence and trust in the birth process.
Ina May has a more recent book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (also a Top 35 Best-Selling Pregnancy Book), which contains very similar content to Spiritual Midwifery and is more up-to-date. The language of the ‘70s is gone and the second half of the book is written for expecting families rather than birth professionals. For most families, this newer book would be the more relevant of the two. For those who like anatomy and physiology and appreciate some more technical information, you may prefer Spiritual Midwifery. Anyone who is a die hard for a classic would also miss out by leaving this one on the shelf.
Whichever book you choose, certainly include Ina May in your pregnancy reading list. I’ve met her in person and she is a gem with a wealth of practical and important knowledge.
About Spiritual Midwifery’s Author, Ina May Gaskin
Ina May Gaskin is a Certified Professional Midwife who learned midwifery through self-education, experience, and guidance from doctors and other midwives. She writes and speaks on promoting improved maternal and infant health. Her current work can be seen at InaMay.com.