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Book Insight: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

When it comes to empowering stories about childbirth and viewing birth as your body's natural process, this book is beautiful! Ina May is a certified professional midwife (CPM), who founded a community of people with her husband called The Farm in Tennessee. Her purpose behind this book is to share empowering and real birth stories with other mothers and highlight the beautiful and powerful aspects of natural childbirth and their benefits to the body as a whole.

Just a brief introduction of what to expect for monthly book insights. These are not reviews on the books, I am merely trying to provide quick insights to help you decide if this is worthy of your time read to help you in preparation for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn parenting. The basic outline of these insights will be:

-An overview of what the book is about

-Topics that are covered in the book

-Highlights of the book

-Who the ideal reader might be

So let's get down to the insights of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth


The first half of this book is all birth stories, most of which took place in Ina May's community of The Farm. Ina May and several women in the community serve as midwives and help women to give birth in a cottage that is equipped to be a serene and calm environment in which to labor and give birth. Some of the stories shared are even about women who traveled specifically to The Farm in order to give birth.

The second half of the book is titled The Essentials of Birth and goes more in-depth about the process of labor, how to labor naturally, allowing gravity to work for your body, and how the midwifery model of care differs from the standard OBGYN model of care. This part is more practical and can indeed help to prepare for your own labor and birth, even though you are not giving birth on The Farm itself.

Topics Covered

There are two sections in the book, with the second section having a total of 14 chapters. In total the book is 315 pages, not including the glossary of terms and statistics about births at The Farm at the end of the book.

Section 1: Birth Stories

Section 2: The Essentials of Birth

Topics included in this section include:

-The powerful mind/body connection

-What happens in labor

-The pain/pleasure riddle

-Sphincter law

-What you need to know about your pregnancy and prenatal care

-Going into labor

-Giving birth: move freely, let gravity work for you

-Forgotten vaginal powers and episiotomy

-The third stage of labor

-Benchmarks in midwifery

-What you least expect when you're expecting

-Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)

-Choosing a caregiver

-A vision for midwifery and mothers in the twenty-first century

Highlights of the Book

-Birth Stories: Stories are incredibly powerful, and a lot can be learned from reading them. While they are the practical advice that many mothers usually read and can expect, you can still obtain different techniques and ideas for yourself to implement during your own labor and birth, even if you are in a hospital verse a birthing center or at your own home.

-Pregnancy and birth are shown through the lens of the midwifery care model: For some women, this may be the very first time of hearing about certain techniques and even viewpoints on pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum.

-Natural birth doesn't have to be scary: this viewpoint is driven home very gently in this book and presented in a real and obtainable way for any mother who desires or is thinking about the natural process of childbirth in any setting.

Ideal Reader

This book is great for any mother who is looking for birth stories and is interested, even a little, in learning more about the natural process of birth. It does help to shape the concept of pregnancy and birth as something that the woman's body was in fact created to do, and not something that needs to be fixed or just maintained for 9 months.

Happy reading!

Comment below if you have read this book and what your experience has been!

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