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New Active Birth

Natural childbirth is the order of the day in this guide for would-be mothers, reviewed by Dr Mona Kular.

Natural childbirth is the order of the day in this guide for would-be mothers, reviewed by Dr Mona Kular.

This is the updated and revised sequel to Janet Balaskas' original work, ‘Active Birth'.

She is widely known as the founder of the Active Birth movement and currently works as a childbirth counsellor as well as running the Active Birth Centre in London.

Based on her own experiences of childbirth, Balaskas came to realise that the Western world adopts a rather unnatural approach to the act of childbirth, from labour through to delivery.

Through changing the way she acted through pregnancy and childbirth with each of her four children, she has developed and put together an approach that is designed to be much more in tune with nature.

Active Birth is about women having the choice and freedom to remain active and upright through labour and childbirth, turning them from passive birth-givers into active ones.

Balaskas advocates use of the standing, squatting and kneeling positions for delivery itself rather, than the traditional semi-reclining position, claiming this is more natural and reduces the need for pain relief, instrumental deliveries and perineal repair.

There is great emphasis on women being able to follow their natural instincts in childbirth and not feeling that they must conform to the way hospitals or midwives prefer things to be done.

The book covers everything from yoga-based exercises to practice and maintain fitness during pregnancy, through to the use of breathing and massage in labour and the importance of postnatal exercises.

Balaskas discusses ways to use the Active Birth approach in hospital, water or at home, including the role of the birth partner and midwife.

And there are useful suggestions on ways to ensure that the birthing environment is conducive to an Active Birth with ideas of props to use and improvise with as well as helpful pointers for midwives in working with women in an upright position.

In all, the book is an excellent guide to natural childbirth but is aimed at those without a medical background.

As such, it would be a useful title to recommend to patients and perhaps for midwives to use as a reference aidm, particularly if they have patients who wish to have an Active Birth.

Dr Mona Kular

Rating: 4/5

New active birth

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