“Spiritual Midwifery” (2003), by Ina May Gaskin
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In 1976, midwife Ina May Gaskin published Spiritual Midwifery, with other editions published in 1980, 1990, and 2003. Spiritual Midwifery is a book about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, or the time period after birth. During the 1970s, it was common for women to receive an epidural, a medication that reduces pain during labor, and for physicians to monitor a fetus’s heartbeat while separating women from their infants after birth. However, according to Gaskin, some women wanted to give birth outside of the hospital without medical interventions. Spiritual Midwifery is a collection of birth stories from women, information about pregnancy and giving birth, and instructions to midwives on how to care for women during childbirth and the period that followed. In Spiritual Midwifery, Gaskin introduced homebirth and midwifery to a broader audience, which helped repopularize midwifery in the US.