by Sheila Kitzinger
For thousands of years women have given birth among people they know in a place they know well. Knowledge is shared between the participants and birth is a social event. In this new, revised edition of her classic book, Sheila Kitzinger explores the universal experience of pregnancy and birth. She looks closely at the place of birth, what is done to help women in childbirth and examines the bond traditionally formed between mothers and midwives.
Kitzinger's book helps women learn about taking back their bodies from the male-oriented medical business, respecting the ancient vocation of midwifery, and helping each other during a pregnancy. Kitzinger, author of Pregnancy and Childbirth (1996), discusses historical and cultural differences regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Attitudes about birth have always varied, and this book gives brief, fascinating descriptions about many of the different ways of regarding childbirth. The author discusses European witch-hunts against midwives, "birth sisters" for prisoners, and mental and physical abuse toward pregnant women. Rediscovering is illustrated with marvelous photos and drawings depicting the various stages of pregnancies and of the birthing process. Cultural attitudes toward the gestation period, birth process, and newborns vary greatly, and this book is a constructive and enjoyable introduction to the various outlooks on these important stages of life. Julia Glyn