Click the flag
Meet our special
U.S. Publishers

U.S. Publishers

Childbirth — Politics, Policy, History & Narratives

Back to Midwifery Care, Childbirth Education & Complementary Therapies for Pregnancy Index

Back to Main Booklist

Featured Books

Ancestral Women. Kiiskakuna Productions, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canadian Independent Film & Video Fund, Directed by Rosana Matecki, $19.95 (DVD, 48 minutes)

Christine Roy, a Canadian midwife of Abenaki roots, embarks on a journey that starts in Bolivia, meeting fellow Quechua and Aymara midwives and finds an ancestral knowledge inside the practice of midwifery. From there she moves on to Akewesasne and engages in rich discussions with Katsi Cook, an acclaimed Onkwehonweh (Mohawk) midwife and activist. Circling homeward brings Christine to Eeyou Istchee, traditional Cree territory in James Bay Quebec, where the Cree people are creating a new midwifery that blends traditional knowledge with contemporary healing practices.

This documentary offers invaluable insight into the power of ancestral roots, and how it can inform today's midwifery care.


Arms Wide Open: a Midwife’s Journey. Patricia Harman, $20.00

In this prequel to her popular book THE BLUE COTTON GOWN, Patricia Harman reaches back to her youthful experiments with a fully sustainable and natural life in the 1960s and’70s. Living in rural Minnesota, on a commune in Ohio, forming alliances with the antiwar counterculture, this self-taught midwife delivered babies in cabins and on farms — sometimes in harrowing conditions. 

This memoir is a riveting reminder of an era of activism and protest, and of the challenges of a passionate life.


Birth as an American Rite of Passage. Robbie Davis-Floyd, $32.50

Why do so many American women allow themselves to become enmeshed in the standardized routines of technocratic childbirth — routines that can be insensitive, unnecessary, and even unhealthy? Anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd first addressed these questions in the 1992 edition. Her new preface to this 2003 edition of a book that has been read, applauded, and loved by women all over the world, makes it clear that the issues surrounding childbirth remain as controversial as ever.

Back to top

Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth. Michel Odent, $29.95

Humanity, argues Michel Odent, stands at a crossroads in the history of childbirth — and the direction we choose to take will have critical consequences.

At a time when pleas for the 'humanization' of childbirth are fashionable, the author suggests, rather, that we should first accept our 'mammalian' condition and give priority to the woman's need for privacy and to feel secure. The activity of the intellect, the use of language, and many cultural beliefs and rituals — which are all special to humans — are handicaps in the period surrounding birth. Says Odent:

“To give birth to her baby, the mother needs privacy. She needs to feel unobserved. The newborn baby needs the skin of the mother, the smell of the mother, her breast. These are all needs that we hold in common with the other mammals, but which humans have learned to neglect, to ignore or even deny."

Expectant parents, midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, those involved in public health, and all those interested in the future of humanity, will find this a provocative and visionary book.


Birth Crisis. Shelia Kitzinger, $36.95

One new mother in twenty is diagnosed with traumatic stress after childbirth. In Birth Crisis, Sheila Kitzinger explores the disempowerment and anxiety experienced by these women. Key topics discussed include:

  • increasing intervention in pregnancy
  • the shift in emphasis from relationships to technology in childbirth
  • how family, friends and professional caregivers can reach out to traumatized mothers
  • how women can work through stress to understand themselves more deeply and grow in emotional maturity
  • how care and the medical system needs to be changed.

Birth Crisis draws on mothers' voices and real-life experiences to explore the suffering after childbirth which has traditionally been brushed under the carpet. It is a fascinating and useful resource for student and practicing midwives, all health professionals, and women and their families who want to learn how to overcome a traumatic birth.


Birth Matters: a Midwife's Manifesta. Ina May Gaskin, $18.95

In Birth Matters, Ina May Gaskin, author of Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, reminds us that the ways in which women experience birth have implications for us all. Renewing confidence in a woman’s natural ability to birth provides transformative possibilities for individual families, and for society at large.

Known around the world for her birthing practice’s exemplary low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality, Ina May Gaskin has gained an international reputation in obstetrics for demonstrating the magic key to safe birth: respect for the natural process. Birth Matters is a spirited manifesta showing us how to trust women, value birth, nurture families, and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species.

Back to top

Birth Models That Work. Robbie Davis-Floyd, Lesley Barclay, Betty-Anne Daviss & Jan Tritten, Editors, $39.95

This groundbreaking book takes us around the world in search of birth models that work in order to improve the standard of care for mothers and families everywhere. The contributors describe examples of maternity services from both developing countries and wealthy industrialized societies that apply the latest scientific evidence to support and facilitate normal physiological birth; deal appropriately with complications; and generate excellent birth outcomes — including psychological satisfaction for the mother. The book concludes with a description of the ideology that underlies all these working models—known internationally as the midwifery model of care.


Birth & Sex: the Power and the Passion. Sheila Kitzinger, $22.95

Birth and sex are often talked about as if they were contrasting experiences. In fact, they each involve the same rush of hormones in an action drama in which mind and body work in harmony.  In this compelling and controversial new book Sheila Kitzinger explores the complexity and depth of female sexuality during pregnancy, birth, and after the baby comes. She shows what can be done to create an environment in which a woman is able to trust her instincts and be confident in her body. By rediscovering the power and passion in our bodies, we can reclaim the spontaneity and sexual ecstasy of childbirth.


Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives. A film by Sara Lamm & Mary Wigmore, $24.95 (Not available for classroom use or public viewing. For Home Use only.)

BIRTH STORY captures a spirited group of women who taught themselves how to deliver babies on a 1970s hippie commune, rescued modern midwifery from extinction, and changed the way a generation thought about childbirth. Today, these women labour on – fighting to preserve their knowledge, and pushing once again for the rebirth of birth.


Birth: the Surprising History of How We Are Born. Tina Cassidy, $18.00

Tina Cassidy’s smart, engaging book is the first world history of childbirth in fifty years. From evolution to the epidural and beyond, Tina Cassidy presents an intelligent, enlightening, and impeccably researched cultural history of how and why we’re born the way we are. Women have been giving birth for millennia but that’s about the only constant in the final stage of the great process that is human reproduction. Why is it that every culture and generation seems to have its own ideas about the best way to give birth? Cassidy explores the physical, anthropological, political, and religious factors that have and will continue to influence how women bring new life into the world.

Back to top

Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship: Theory for Practice, Education and Research. Kathleen Fahy, Maralyn Foureur & Caroline Hastie, $71.95

Midwives and other healthcare providers are grappling with the issue of rising intervention rates in childbirth and trying to identify ways to reverse the trend. It is increasingly accepted that intervention in childbirth has long-term consequences for women and their children. Birth Territory provides practical, evidence-based ideas for restructuring the birth territory to facilitate normal birth.


The Blue Cotton Gown: a Midwife's Memoir. Patricia Harman, $19.00

A nurse-midwife’s poignant stories about her practice in small-town West Virginia and the patients who open their hearts to her


A Bun In the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization. Barbara Katz Rothman, $38.95

There are people dedicated to improving the way we eat, and people dedicated to improving the way we give birth.  A Bun in the Oven is the first comparison of these two social movements.  The food movement has seemingly exploded,  but little has changed in the diet of most Americans.  And while there’s talk of improving the childbirth experience, most births happen in large hospitals, about a third result in C-sections, and the US does not fare well in infant or maternal outcomes.

In A Bun in the Oven Barbara Katz Rothman traces the food and the birth movements through three major phases over the course of the 20th century in the United States: from the early 20th century era of scientific management; through to the consumerism of Post World War II with its ‘turn to the French’ in making things gracious; to the late 20th century counter-culture midwives and counter-cuisine cooks.  The book explores the tension throughout all of these eras between the industrial demands of mass-management and profit-making, and the social movements — composed largely of women coming together from very different feminist sensibilities — which are working to expose the harmful consequences of industrialization, and make birth and food both meaningful and healthy.

Katz Rothman, an internationally recognized sociologist named ‘midwife to the movement’ by the Midwives Alliance of North America, turns her attention to the lessons to be learned from the food movement, and the parallel forces shaping both of these consumer-based social movements.  In both movements, issues of the natural, the authentic, and the importance of ‘meaningful’ and ‘personal’ experiences get balanced against discussions of what is sensible, convenient and safe.  And both movements operate in a context of commercial and corporate interests, which places profit and efficiency above individual experiences and outcomes.  A Bun in the Oven brings new insight into the relationship between our most intimate, personal experiences, the industries that control them, and the social movements that resist the industrialization of life and seek to change birth. 

Back to top

Caregiving on the Periphery: Historical Perspectives on Nursing and Midwifery in Canada. Edited by Myra Rutherdale, $34.95

An informative collection of fascinating works, Caregiving on the Periphery provides insight into the history of medicine in Canada and the long-established importance of women for the country's wellbeing.


Childbirth in the Age of Plastics. Michel Odent, $21.95

The development of plastics has been a primary factor influencing the course of modern medicine. Where obstetrics is concerned, a typical modern woman in labour is visualized as having one of her arms connected to a plastic bag through a plastic tube, while a plastic catheter is inserted in the epidural space in her spine. The development of plastics has not only transformed most medical disciplines; it has also made possible the emergence of new medical concepts such as intensive care units, and new disciplines such as neonatology.

Focusing on obstetrics, this first book about the history of medicine in relation to the plastic revolution asks vital questions about childbirth today—and tomorrow.


Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens. Michel Odent, $16.95

In discussions of the future, the emphasis is usually on the effects of myriad new technologies on our lives. However, former obstetrician and revolutionary childbirth pioneer Michel Odent argues that the aspect of human lifestyle that has been most profoundly changed in recent decades is the period of time surrounding the birth of a child. Since this formative time is considered critical in defining our species, Homo sapiens, fundamental changes in this area should herald significant evolution in regard to how babies are born. This, surely, should be at the heart of our discussions of the future, even above considerations of how humanity and planet earth interact.

This book has been written as an exploration of the topic for all those interested in the evolution of human beings and the future of humanity, but comes with a caveat from its author, who says it is ‘for everyone except pregnant women... whose time is precious. They should be watching the moon, singing to their unborn babies in the womb and nurturing the life within them.’


Childbirth Without Fear, 2013 Edition. Grantly Dick-Read, Foreword by Ina May Gaskin, $21.95

In an age when normal birth can still be overtaken by obstetrics, Grantly Dick-Read's philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks the root causes of women's fears and anxiety about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding with overwhelming heart and empathy. As one of the most influential birthing books of all time, Childbirth Without Fear is essential reading for all parents-to-be, childbirth educators, midwives and obstetricians!

This definitive reissue includes the full text of the fourth edition, the last completed by Grantly Dick-Read before his death in 1959, and The Autobiography of Grantly Dick-Read, compiled from his writings.

Back to top

Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia & Birth in America. Jacqueline Wolf, $32.50

Rather than embrace the natural childbirth methods promoted in the 1970s, most North American women today welcome epidural anesthesia. In DELIVER ME FROM PAIN, Jacqueline Wolf asks how a treatment such as obstetric anesthesia — even when it historically posed serious risk to mothers and newborns — paradoxically came to assuage women's anxiety about birth.

Each chapter begins with the story of a birth, dramatically illustrating the unique practices of the era being examined. DELIVER ME FROM PAIN covers the development and use of anesthesia from ether and chloroform in the mid-nineteenth century; to amnesiacs, barbiturates, narcotics, opioids, tranquilizers, saddle blocks, spinals, and gas during the mid-twentieth century; to epidural anesthesia today.

As American women make decisions about anesthesia today, DELIVER ME FROM PAIN offers them insight into how women made this choice in the past and why each generation of mothers has made dramatically different decisions.


Expecting Trouble: the Myth of Prenatal Care in America. Thomas Strong, $28.50

In this controversial volume, Dr. Strong dispels widespread misconceptions about the effectiveness of prenatal care in its current form and explains how mothers themselves may influence the course and outcome of their pregnancies to a greater degree than do their obstetricians. He provides specific questions that parents should be asking their health care providers to ensure that they and their babies receive the best care possible.


Get Me Out: a History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank. Randi Hutter Epstein, $31.00

Making and having babies — what it takes to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver — has mystified women and men for the whole of human history. The birth gurus of ancient times told newlyweds that simultaneous orgasms were necessary for conception and that during pregnancy a woman should drink red wine but not too much and have sex but not too frequently. Over the last one hundred years, depending on the latest prevailing advice, women have taken morphine, practiced Lamaze, relied on ultrasound images, sampled fertility drugs, and shopped at sperm banks.

In Get Me Out, the insatiably curious Randi Hutter Epstein journeys through history, fads, and fables, and to the fringe of science, where audacious researchers have gone to extreme measures to get healthy babies out of mothers. Here is an entertaining must-read—and an enlightening celebration of human life.

Back to top

Giving Birth in Canada: 1900 to 1950. Wendy Mitchinson, $44.95

In Giving Birth in Canada, the first historical study of childbirth in Canada, Wendy Mitchinson has written a fascinating account of childbirth rituals in the first half of the twentieth century. Thorough and comprehensive, the work is based on a rich variety of sources, including medical textbooks, the medical periodical press, popular medical advice books, literature published in women's magazines, patient records, and interviews with women who gave birth and physicians who practiced during the period.

Mitchinson follows the birthing experience, from the initial diagnosis of pregnancy, through prenatal care, childbirth — who was present, and where it took place — to obstetrical intervention, postnatal care and the definition of what constituted a normal birth, much of which changed significantly through those years. She explores physicians' responses to the needs of pregnant women, developments in medical practices, and the increasing medicalization of childbirth.

While the book focuses on conventional medical practices, the author's survey of midwifery and Aboriginal birthing practices provides a counterpoint to the approach taken by western medicine and permits valuable discussion about the dynamics of gender and race as they relate to childbirth and, more broadly, to early twentieth-century Canada.


The Heart and Soul of Midwifery: Understanding the Normal Physiological Process of Childbirth and Reducing Medical Intervention. Irene Chain-Kalinowski, $19.50

Midwife Iren Chain-Kalinowski shares her experiences working in both hospital and community settings, in a variety of multicultural environments. Protective of women's rights, she shares her ambition and passion for women to regain faith in childbirth — and reduce the unnecessary medical interventions that put woman and baby at risk.


Home Birth: the Politics of Difficult Choices. Mary Nolan, $43.95

The rhetoric of choice is much used in health policy and home birth is one of the options that women are entitled to choose between when deciding where to have their baby. However, many women making this choice run into considerable opposition.

Using ten women's narratives, Home Birth: the Politics of Difficult Choices explores why women might want to give birth at home and considers ideas of risk and informed choice in pregnancy and birth. The book includes chapters on communication and language; fear and stress; advocacy and autonomy; fathers' experience of contested place of birth and free birthing. Pointers to best practice are presented whilst the text incorporates women's narratives throughout, making this a practical and relevant read for midwifery students as well as practicing midwives and childbirth educators, all of whom have a duty to make home birth a real option for women.

Back to top

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition. Linda Smith, $118.95

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding examines the research and evidence connecting birth practices to breastfeeding outcomes.  It takes an in-depth look at the post-birth experiences of the mother and baby, using the baby’s ability to breastfeed as the vehicle, the mother’s lactation capacity as a factor, and the intact mother-baby dyad as the model to address birth practices that affect breastfeeding.  

The Second Edition has been completely revised to include new information on infant outcomes, including epidural anesthesia and Cesarean surgery, clinical strategies for helping the mother and baby recover from birth injuries, medications and complications, and information on the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative with its Mother-Friendly Childbirth Module.


In the Spirit of Homebirth: Modern Women, an Ancient Choice. Edited by Bronwyn Preece, $18.95

This collection of stories that celebrate the beauty and power of giving birth comes from women of indigenous communities, of diverse socioeconomic classes and religions, in urban and rural settings. Partners describe the awe of watching a loved one bring new life into the world, children write sweetly about getting a baby brother or sister, and midwives and doulas tell us what it is like to aid women on their journeys.

In the Spirit of Homebirth presents birth as a physical action as well as a sacred act, an expression of deep love and of belief in the power of the human spirit. Homebirth is a choice, and In the Spirit of Homebirth tells us why women from all walks of life and their families make this choice today when they have the right to give birth as they wish. In the Spirit of Homebirth presents homebirth, not as an archaic practice but as a remarkably contemporary expression of a long tradition and a profoundly empowering and joyous event.


Into These Hands: Wisdom from Midwives. Edited by Geradine Simkins, $26.95

Power, politics and profit aside — how a nation cares for its mothers and newborns is a key indicator of the health of that society. These essays, from 25 midwives, speak directly to what really matters to women — the right to have safe and satisfying births.

Back to top

Joyous Childbirth Changes the World. Tadashi Yoshimura, $16.95

The truth and power of birth is the subject of Dr. Yoshimura’s first book published in North America. Yoshimura describes babies born directly into the arms of their mothers, and women so transformed with pride and passion in their ability that they are joyous and forever changed. Instead of a medical emergency, Yoshimura describes birth as a transcendent and natural process that cannot be perfected, and that, when performed through the innate power of women, reveals what he calls a “mystic beauty.” Full of delightful stories of birthing women and peaceful smiling infants, and helpful tips from his childbirth preparation program, Joyous Childbirth Changes the World is a must-read for all expectant parents and those who care for them. Yoshimura’s clinic serves as a testament to the kind of compassionate birth culture that is possible if we prioritize the health and experience of women and babies. 


Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States. Wendy Simonds, Barbara Katz Rothman & bari Meltzer Norman, $40.95

Facing the polar forces of an epidemic of Cesarean sections and epidurals and home-like labor rooms, American birth is in transition. Laboring On offers the voices of practitioners, of women trying to help women, as they struggle with this increasingly split vision of birth.

Updating Barbara Katz Rothman's now-classic In Labor, the first feminist sociological analysis of birth in the United States, Laboring On gives a comprehensive picture of the ever-changing American birth practices and often conflicting visions of birth practitioners. The authors deftly weave compelling accounts of birth work, by midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses, into the larger socio-historical context of health care practices and activism and offer provocative arguments about the current state of affairs and the future of birth in America.

Back to top

Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine. Kim Anderson, $27.95

A rare and inspiring guide to the health and well-being of Aboriginal women and their communities.

The process of “digging up medicines” — of rediscovering the stories of the past — serves as a powerful healing force in the decolonization and recovery of Aboriginal communities. In Life Stages and Native Women, Kim Anderson shares the teachings of fourteen elders from the Canadian prairies and Ontario to illustrate how different life stages were experienced by Métis, Cree, and Anishinaabe girls and women during the mid-twentieth century. These elders relate stories about their own lives, the experiences of girls and women of their childhood communities, and customs related to pregnancy, birth, post-natal care, infant and child care, puberty rites, gender and age-specific work roles, the distinct roles of post-menopausal women, and women’s roles in managing death. Through these teachings, we learn how evolving responsibilities from infancy to adulthood shaped women’s identities and place within Indigenous society, and were integral to the health and well-being of their communities.

By understanding how healthy communities were created in the past, Anderson explains how this traditional knowledge can be applied toward rebuilding healthy Indigenous communities today.


Lying In: a History of Childbirth in America. Richard Wertz & Dorothy Wertz, $29.95

This lively history of childbirth begins with colonial days, when childbirth was a social event, and moves on to the gradual medicalization of childbirth in America as doctors forced midwives out of business and to the home-birth movement of the 1980’s. Widely praised when it was first published in 1977, the book has now been expanded to bring the story up to date. In a new chapter and epilogue, Richard and Dorothy Wertz discuss the recent focus on delivering perfect babies, with its emphasis on technology, prenatal testing, and Caesarean sections. They argue that there are many viable alternatives — including out-of-hospital births — in the search for the best birthing system.


Mainstreaming Midwives: the Politics of Change. Robbie Davis-Floyd & Christine Barbara Johnson, editors, $65.95

Providing insights into midwifery, a team of reputable contributors describe the development of nurse- and direct-entry midwifery in the United States, including the creation of two new direct-entry certifications, the Certified Midwife and the Certified Professional Midwife, and examine the history, purposes, complexities, and the political strife that has characterized the evolution of midwifery in America. Including detailed case studies, the book looks at the efforts of direct-entry midwives to achieve legalization and licensure in seven states: New York, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, and Massachusetts with varying degrees of success.

Back to top

Misconceptions: Truths, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. Naomi Wolf, $18.95

In Misconceptions, bestselling author Naomi Wolf she demythologizes motherhood and reveals the dangers of common assumptions about childbirth. With uncompromising honesty she describes how hormones eroded her sense of independence, ultrasounds tested her commitment to abortion rights, and the keepers of the OB/GYN establishment lacked compassion. The weeks after her first daughter’s birth taught her how society, employers, and even husbands can manipulate new mothers. She had bewildering post partum depression, but learned that a surprisingly high percentage of women experience it.

Wolf’s courageous willingness to talk about the unexpected difficulties of childbirth will help every woman become a more knowledgeable planner of her pregnancy and better prepare her for the challenges of balancing a career, freedom, and a growing family. Invaluable in its advice to parents, Misconceptions speaks to anyone connected — personally, medically, or professionally — to a new mother.


Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance. Edited by Kim Anderson, D. Memee Lavell-Harvard, $39.95

The voices of Indigenous women world-wide have long been silenced by colonial oppression and institutions of patriarchal dominance. Recent generations of powerful Indigenous women have begun speaking out so that their positions of respect within their families and communities might be reclaimed.

This volume explores issues surrounding and impacting Indigenous mothering, family and community in a variety of contexts inter­nationally. It addresses diverse subjects, including child welfare, employing Indigenous mothering curriculum for healing, mothers and traditional foods, intergenerational mothering in the wake of residential schooling, mothering and HIV, urban Indigenous mothering, mothering adopted children, two spirited mothering, Indigenous midwifery, and more.


Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities. Henci Goer, $56.95

Anyone working to improve the childbearing experience and help women avoid unnecessary intervention has encountered numerous obstetric myths or old doctors' tales. And while the evidence in the medical literature may be solidly, often unequivocably, against whatever the doctor said, without access to that evidence, the pregnant woman is quite reasonably going to follow her doctor. This book is an attempt to make the medical literature on a variety of key obstetric issues accessible to people who lack the time, expertise, access, or proximity to a medical library to research concerns on their own. This compact, accurate, yet understandable reference is designed for people without medical training and organized for easy access.

After an introductory chapter giving basic information about the different types of medical studies, how to evaluate them, and some basic statistical concepts, Goer provides chapters on cesarean issues, pregnancy and labor management, and a review of alternative approaches. Each chapter begins with a stated myth, followed by an examination of the reality. Goer then analyzes the mainstream belief, pointing out its fallacies. Then comes a list of significant points gleaned from the studies and keyed to her abstracts. Next is the outline by which the abstracts are grouped. Finally come the numbered abstracts of relevant articles published, in most cases, after 1980. The book concludes with a glossary of medical terms and an index. This compact, accurate, and understandable reference tool is designed for people without medical training as well as care givers.

Back to top

Obstructed Labour: Race and Gender in the Re-Emergence of Midwifery. Sheryl Nestel, $34.95

Obstructed Labour analyzes how the movement to legalize midwifery in Ontario reproduced racial inequality by excluding from practice hundreds of professional midwives from the global south. Global macro-processes of power, institutional forms of exclusion, and interpersonal expressions of racism all play a part. Sheryl Nestel shows that unequal relations between women underlie the successful challenge to patriarchal medical authority mounted by provincial midwifery activists. This is a disquieting but fascinating counter-history of the re-emergence of midwifery.


Optimal Care in Childbirth: the Case for a Physiologic Approach. Henci Goer & Amy Romano, $74.95

Meticulously documented, OPTIMAL CARE IN CHILDBIRTH pulls back the curtain on medical-model management of childbirth. Written for those who want to practice according to the best evidence, assist women in making informed decisions, or advocate for maternity care reforms, this book provides an in-depth analysis of the evidence basis for physiologic care as the standard of care. The book examines:

  • Why the research shows so little benefit for physiologic care and so little harm from medical-model management
  • What’s behind the cesarean epidemic
  • What the research establishes as optimal care for initiating labour, facilitating labour progress, guarding maternal and fetal safety, birthing the baby, and promoting safety for mother and baby after the birth
  • The true, quantified risks of primary cesarean section, planned VBAC versus elective repeat cesarean, instrumental vaginal delivery, and regional analgesia
  • How the organization of maternity care systems adversely impacts care outcomes

Placenta Wit: Mother Stories, Rituals, and Research. Edited by Nané Jordan, $34.95

Placenta Wit is an interdisciplinary anthology of stories, rituals, and research that explores mothers’ contemporary and traditional uses of the human afterbirth. Authors inspire, provoke and highlight diverse understandings of the placenta and its role in mothers’ creative life-giving. Through medicalization of childbirth, many North American mothers do not have access to their babies’ placentas, nor would many think to. Placentas are often considered to be medical property, and/ or viewed as the refuse of birth. Yet there is now greater understanding of motherand baby-centred birth care, in which careful treatment of the placenta and cord can play an integral role. In reclaiming birth at home and in clinical settings, mothers are choosing to keep their placentas. There is a revival, and survival, of family and community rituals with the placenta and umbilical cord, including burying, art making, and consuming for therapeutic use. Claiming and honouring the placenta may play a vital role in understanding the sacredness of birth and the gift of life that mothers bring. Placenta Wit gathers narrative accounts, scholarly essays, creative pieces and artwork from this emergence of placental interests and uses. This collection includes understandings from birth cultures and communities such as home-birth, hospital-birth, midwifery, doula, Indigenous, and feminist perspectives. Once lost, now found, Placenta Wit authors capably handle and care for this wise organ at the roots of motherhood, and life itself.

Back to top

The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts Are Bad For Business, 3rd Edition. Gabrielle Palmer, $22.95

As revealing as Freakonomics, shocking as Fast Food Nation and thought provoking as No Logo, The Politics of Breastfeeding exposes infant feeding as one of the most important public health issues of our time.

Every thirty seconds a baby dies from infections due to a lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles, artificial milks and other risky products. In her powerful book Gabrielle Palmer describes how big business uses subtle techniques to pressure parents to use alternatives to breastmilk. The infant feeding product companies’ thirst for profit systematically undermines mothers’ confidence in their ability to breastfeed their babies. An essential and inspirational eye-opener, The Politics of Breastfeeding challenges our complacency about how we feed our children and radically reappraises a subject which concerns not only mothers, but everyone: man or woman, parent or childless, old or young.


Prenatal Development and Parents' Lived Experiences: How Early Events Shape Our Psychophysiology and Relationships. Anne Diamond Weinstein, $63.50

This book presents recent knowledge, research, and theory about the earliest developmental period — from conception to birth — which holds even greater consequences for the health and development of the human organism than was previously understood. Theory and research in multiple disciplines provide the foundation for the exploration of how experiences during conception and time in the womb; during and after birth; and experiences with caregivers and the family system in the early postnatal period impact an individual physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially over their life span.

Knowledge drawn from numerous fields highlights the opportunity for parents-to-be and the practitioners who care for them to intentionally support the cultivation of nurturing internal and external environments during the preconception, prenatal, and early parenting periods. Theory and research from the fields of psychology, medicine, psychophysiology, epigenetics, and traumatology, among others, suggest that doing so will support lifelong multidimensional aspects of healthy development in children and adults and may also benefit future generations.


Professional Ethics in Midwifery Practice. Illysa Foster & Jon Lasser, $148.95

Professional Ethics in Midwifery Practice is an applied ethics book designed for both students and practicing midwives to build ethical thinking in the context of daily practice.  This unique text uses an accessible writing style and includes chapters on diversity and justice, informed consent, multiple relationships, confidentiality and privacy, scope of practice, and others. Realistic case examples throughout the text encourage critical thinking in applied ethics. The authors present a unique model for midwives’ ethical thinking and appendices include widely used codes of ethics in the field.  

Back to top

Push! The Struggle for Midwifery in Ontario. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, $29.95

In the 1980s there were few midwives in Canada and their practice was neither legal nor officially recognized. Ontario midwives and their supporters pushed to integrate midwifery into provincial health care systems and by 1993 had established an internationally renowned model. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault analyses the struggle to professionalize midwifery in the context of the negotiations between women, as both consumers and providers of health care, and the state.

Push! offers a historical account of the forces behind the integration of midwifery in Ontario, including public interest in funding midwifery services and the impact of political lobbying. Bourgeault also explores the specific features of Ontario's respected model, including the use of independent practitioners, funding for a self-regulatory college, a university-based education program, and the provision of midwifery care in both home and hospital settings.


Reconceiving Midwifery. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Cecilia Benoit & Robbie Davis-Floyd, $32.95

A critical examination of the re-emergence of midwifery and a timely reflection on the issues faced by the midwifery profession throughout Canada. The authors — social scientists and midwifery practitioners — reflect on regional differences in the emerging profession, providing a systematic account of its historical, local, and international roots, its evolving regulatory status, and the degree to which it has been integrated into several mainstream provincial health care systems. They also examine the nature of midwifery training, accessibility, and effectiveness across diverse ethnic and socio-economic groups, highlighting the key issues facing the profession before, during, and in the immediate post-integration era in each province.


Rediscovering Birth. Sheila Kitzinger, $17.95

In this revised edition of her classic anthropological look at birth; Kitzinger explores the universal experience of pregnancy and birth. Drawing on the rich traditions of birth around the world and through history, REDISCOVERING BIRTH is a contemporary look at a timeless experience.


The Social Context of Birth. Edited by Caroline Squire, $58.95

All babies are born into a social context and all women give birth within a social context. This is often neglected in the relentlessly technocratic modern culture of childbirth. This book provides many valuable insights for midwives, nurses, obstetricians and health visitors into the many different lives, experiences and expectations of women in their childbearing years.

This comprehensive guide provides an understanding of the impact of social circumstances on women giving birth, their babies, and families in the 21st century. Overall, it provides an essential understanding of how social issues can affect the birth process.

Back to top

Unlatched: the Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy. Jennifer Grayson, $19.99

From an environmental journalist and mother of two young breast-fed children puts this most natural of processes to the test, by breaking down the complex cultural, corporate, political, and technological factors that have transformed the way people think about breastfeeding and the human experience.

Since the rise of infant formula in the early twentieth century, breastfeeding has gone from a basic biological function to a never-ending controversy and hot topic in the media. Clearly, this is a topic that constantly makes headlines and sparks heated discussion throughout the world.

Growing up, Jennifer Grayson thought nothing of the fact that her mother had not breastfed her. It wasn’t until she became a mother herself that she realized she had missed out on a natural, profound, and incredibly important experience, one that she became determined to give to her own children. Her curiosity about breastfeeding soon turned to passion, leading her to launch a worldwide search for knowledge and stories of breastfeeding.

From biblical times to eighteenth century France, from modern-day Mongolia to inner-city Los Angeles, Grayson explores the personal stories of breastfeeding women throughout history around the world. Along the way, she takes readers behind the scenes at a lactation research laboratory, interviews controversial breastfeeding figures, and shares her own personal experience of extended breastfeeding her preschool and toddler daughters.


What a Blessing She Had Chloroform: the Medical and Social Response to the Pain of Childbirth from 1800 to the Present. Donald Caton, $80.95

This book describes in fascinating detail the history of the use of anesthesia in childbirth and in so doing offers a unique perspective on the interaction between medical science and social values. Dr. Donald Caton traces the responses of physicians and their patients to the pain of childbirth from the popularization of anesthesia to the natural childbirth movement and beyond. He finds that physicians discovered what could be done to manage pain, and patients decided what would be done.

Dr. Caton discusses how nineteenth-century physicians began to think and act like scientists; how people learned to reject the belief that pain and suffering are inevitable components of life; and how a later generation came to think that pain may have important functions for the individual and society. Finally he shows the extent to which cultural and social values have influenced "scientific" medical decisions.

Back to top

Why Human Rights In Childbirth Matter. Rebecca Schiller, $16.95

The human rights in childbirth movement is gathering pace and followers across the globe. From Venezuela to the UK, via America and Uganda, activists, midwives, mothers, doctors and lawyers are coming together to offer rights-based solutions to the problems in maternity care. Just what are human rights though? How do they apply to pregnancy and birth? What happens when dignity is absent? And how are innovators and educators using human rights principles to revolutionise care for the next generation of women?

Why Human Rights in Childbirth Matter will bust myths around human rights, explain what your rights in pregnancy and birth are, how caregivers can champion them and provide practical inspiration for mothers, caregivers and campaigners working to improve birth for all women across the world.


Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: a History of Women Healers, 2nd Edition. Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English, $13.50

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, first published by the Feminist Press in 1973, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic roots in witch hunters. In this new edition, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English have written an entirely new chapter that delves into the current fascination with and controversies about witches, exposing our fears and fantasies. They build on their classic exposé on the demonization of women healers and the political and economic monopolization of medicine. This quick history brings us up-to-date, exploring today's changing attitudes toward childbirth, alternative medicine, and modern-day witches.


Woman-Centered Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Edited by Sara Shields & Lucy Candib, $86.95

A woman-centered approach to pregnancy must be flexible enough to address the variety of women’s experiences around the world, encompassing a variety of medical conditions, cultures and family structures. It must also include women who choose not to carry a pregnancy or experience a miscarriage.

This unique woman-centered text explores all these issues and more, providing a vital resource for primary care maternity clinicians and trainees including family physicians, nurse practitioners, women's health clinicians, midwives, obstetrical nurses and obstetricians. It applies the powerful, proven model of patient-centered care to pregnancy and birth - an expansion beyond previous applications to various chronic illnesses. Women-Centered Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth incorporates dozens of vignettes describing clinicians' approaches to woman-centered maternity care with women and families from a variety of social, cultural, and economic situations facing common or problematic challenges over the course of prenatal care, birth and the postpartum period.

Back to top

Complete Booklist

Ancestral Women. Kiiskakuna Productions, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canadian Independent Film & Video Fund, Directed by Rosana Matecki, $19.95 (DVD, 48 minutes)

Arms Wide Open: a Midwife’s Journey. Patricia Harman, $20.00

Birth as an American Rite of Passage. Robbie Davis-Floyd, $32.50

Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth. Michel Odent, $29.95

Birth Crisis. Shelia Kitzinger, $36.95

Birth Matters: a Midwife's Manifesta. Ina May Gaskin, $18.95

Birth Models That Work. Robbie Davis-Floyd, Lesley Barclay, Betty-Anne Daviss & Jan Tritten, Editors, $39.95

Birth & Sex: the Power and the Passion. Sheila Kitzinger, $22.95

Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives. A film by Sara Lamm & Mary Wigmore, $24.95 (Not available for classroom use or public viewing. For Home Use only.)

Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship: Theory for Practice, Education and Research. Kathleen Fahy, Maralyn Foureur & Caroline Hastie, $71.95

Birth: the Surprising History of How We Are Born. Tina Cassidy, $18.00

The Blue Cotton Gown: a Midwife's Memoir. Patricia Harman, $19.00

A Bun In the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization. Barbara Katz Rothman, $38.95

Caregiving on the Periphery: Historical Perspectives on Nursing and Midwifery in Canada. Edited by Myra Rutherdale, $34.95

Back to top

Childbirth in the Age of Plastics. Michel Odent, $21.95

Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens. Michel Odent, $16.95

Childbirth Without Fear, 2013 Edition. Grantly Dick-Read, Foreword by Ina May Gaskin, $21.95

Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia & Birth in America. Jacqueline Wolf, $32.50

Expecting Trouble: the Myth of Prenatal Care in America. Thomas Strong, $28.50

Get Me Out: a History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank. Randi Hutter Epstein, $31.00

Giving Birth in Canada: 1900 to 1950. Wendy Mitchinson, $44.95

The Heart and Soul of Midwifery: Understanding the Normal Physiological Process of Childbirth and Reducing Medical Intervention. Irene Chain-Kalinowski, $19.50

Home Birth: the Politics of Difficult Choices. Mary Nolan, $43.95

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition. Linda Smith, $118.95

In the Spirit of Homebirth: Modern Women, an Ancient Choice. Edited by Bronwyn Preece, $18.95

Into These Hands: Wisdom from Midwives. Edited by Geradine Simkins, $26.95

Joyous Childbirth Changes the World. Tadashi Yoshimura, $16.95

Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States. Wendy Simonds, Barbara Katz Rothman & Bari Meltzer Norman, $40.95

Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine. Kim Anderson, $27.95

Lying In: a History of Childbirth in America. Richard Wertz & Dorothy Wertz, $29.95

Mainstreaming Midwives: the Politics of Change. Robbie Davis-Floyd & Christine Barbara Johnson, editors, $65.95

Misconceptions: Truths, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood. Naomi Wolf, $18.95

Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance. Edited by Kim Anderson, D. Memee Lavell-Harvard, $39.95

Back to top

Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities. Henci Goer, $56.95

Obstructed Labour: Race and Gender in the Re-Emergence of Midwifery. Sheryl Nestel, $34.95

Optimal Care in Childbirth: the Case for a Physiologic Approach. Henci Goer & Amy Romano, $74.95

Placenta Wit: Mother Stories, Rituals, and Research. Edited by Nané Jordan, $34.95

The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts Are Bad For Business, 3rd Edition. Gabrielle Palmer, $22.95

Prenatal Development and Parents' Lived Experiences: How Early Events Shape Our Psychophysiology and Relationships. Anne Diamond Weinstein, $63.50

Professional Ethics in Midwifery Practice. Illysa Foster & Jon Lasser, $148.95

Push! The Struggle for Midwifery in Ontario. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, $29.95

Reconceiving Midwifery. Ivy Lynn Bourgeault et al (eds), $32.95

Rediscovering Birth. Sheila Kitzinger, $17.95

The Social Context of Birth. Edited by Caroline Squire, $58.95

Unlatched: the Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy. Jennifer Grayson, $19.99

What a Blessing She Had Chloroform: the Medical and Social Response to the Pain of Childbirth from 1800 to the Present. Donald Caton, $80.95

Why Human Rights In Childbirth Matter. Rebecca Schiller, $16.95

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers, 2nd Edition. Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English, $13.50

Woman-Centered Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Edited by Sara Shields & Lucy Candib, $86.95

Back to top

Didn't find it...?
Not sure...?
Need a suggestion...?

There are over 10,000 titles listed on our website and more than 35,000 titles in our inventory. If you haven't found what you want on the website — and it's one of our specialties — chances are good that we carry it, or can get it for you. Just let us know what you're looking for.

Call us toll-free 1-800-209-9182 or e-mail

PARENTBOOKS is pleased to invoice institutions. Please inquire regarding terms and discounts. Shop in person, by phone, fax, mail or e-mail . VISA, Mastercard and Interac are welcome. We are open from 10:30 to 6:00 Monday through Friday and from 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturday.

Canadian flagAll prices are in Canadian dollars and are subject to change without notice.



Parentbooks Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Address: 121 Harbord Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1G9

Phone: 416-537-8334

Fax: 416-537-9499

Toll-free: 1-800-209-9182

E-mail:   Inquiries    Sales

Open 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Copyright © 2002-2018 Parentbooks
E-mail questions or comments about this site


Finding Parentbooks