Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert was going to have her baby in a London hospital, but a few weeks before giving birth, she decided to do it in a pool, assisted by a midwife. Fleur Davis gave birth to her second child without pain medication, only acupuncture. Sue Hargreaves, a recovering anorexic, had her baby under self-hypnosis. All three women deeply cherish their memories of childbirth, and the knowledge that they were in control of how their children came into the world.

"Labor Pain: A Natural Approach to Easing Delivery" is full of inspiring stories and useful advice ("Wild Yam: Good for Women who are Nervous") for any woman considering a more spiritually pleasing alternative to the soulless hospital delivery room. However, at times author Nicky Wesson makes claims that seem overly optimistic. Not only was her own natural labor a deeper, more satisfying experience, she says, but it was actually less painful than her "hospital births, which involved induction, epidural, laboring flat on my back, forceps, and emergency cesarean section." It is hard to imagine this is true--surely anesthesia must be good for something. Nonetheless, any woman considering home birth will want to consult Wesson's book.

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