This book is unique in that it is co written by natural childbirth pioneer Janet Balaskas and Yehudi Gordon the ground breaking consultant obstetrician who has pioneered the concept of integrated practise both pioneers of the Active Birth Movement In this book all options are available to women There is fi rstly an understanding of the natural physiology of pregnancy and birth as well as an acknowledgement of the huge emotional changes involved in this challenging journey Then there is also the benefi t of modern science as back up or choice and or of complementary care with alternative therapies Any or all of these may be used as needed against a background where the primary expectation is that pregnancy is a state of health and birth is a natural physiological process I have had three children each birth different and wonderful in its own way This book was really helpful very comprehensive and covers everything you need to know One piece of advice from one mother to another though is to approach the birth with an open mind be prepared for your birth plan to be thrown to the wind We were going to have an active, wonderful birth and ended up taking all the drugs on offer as it was a back to back delivery Two C sections later and all that really matters is a healthy baby in your arms I was recommended this book by a friend, and whilst I agree that some sections seem a little dated, it is also full of really invaluable information The section on the different stages of labour, and what to expect during pre labour and the initial stages, I read over repeatedly in the last few weeks of my pregnancy when hoping that every little ache might be a sign that things were about to happen Worth buying for that alone. This book contains all the information you need if you are thinking about having an active birth It offers lots of information about how to prepare for the birth with practical advice on exercises, nutrition, how to care for your baby on the fist days of her life and the most important part, at least for me, the emotional aspects of pregnancy and parenthood There is very useful chapter on baby and mother massage with very good illustrations and the baby massages work really well It has a handy reference section that I keep on going back to every time I have doubts about what is wrong with my baby and how to deal with it I recommend this book to any first time mother who wants to know as much as possible about the pregnancy and wants to be well prepared for the arrival of her baby I had an active birth at home and I have found this book invaluable.