Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth

Reviewed Publisher: 
Freestone Publishing, 40 N. State Street. Joseph, Utah. First edition 1974, second edition 1986.
Reviewed Title: 
Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth (2001) 3rd Edition
Reviewed Author: 

This Silver Anniversary, 3rd edition of Jeannine Parvati Baker's classic, Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth, brings the gift of a new Preface and 30 new pages for long-time fans of this author. The additional pages include the stories of the births of Jeannine's sixth child, Halley Sophia, and her first grandchild, Wynn to first-born daughter, Loi, as well as Jeannine's reflections on becoming a Grand Mother, and an extensive biography of the author.

New readers will find inspiration and challenge to consider new possibilities for the bringing of children into this world, by going with the author as she learns through the birthing of each of her babies, her deepest truths about this life-changing experience. The section on Prenatal Yoga is unchanged and retains its power as an aid to those preparing for childbirth, their advisors, and their helpers.

This work is a beautiful testimonial to the living of one's truth and vision. In this case, the vision of birth as an ecstatic and healing experience for mother, father, and baby-in the author's words, Freebirth. This is not a return to any tradition prevalent before the advent of medical management of childbirth, this is a vision of future possibilities, wherein the parents of a child take full responsibility, and experience full ecstatic immersion in the process from conception through birth. While the dedication to this ideal was apparent in the second edition in the birth story of Quinn, it reaches its maturity in this 3rd edition with a continuation into the next generation. Other recommended practices for bonding within the family seem to pale by comparison to this living expression of Jeannine's vision of Freebirth. Which begs one caution, as the author says on page 100, "To embrace one's real birth experience is perfection."

During this period of transition from one major form of childbirth, with reliance on doctors and hospitals, to new possibilities, it is important to remember that each individual needs to consider many things in deciding the ideal circumstances in which to give birth. Choice in the matter is very important, as well as an honoring of the choices of others. However, without the vision of what may be possible, we will not have a full range of choices. Jeannine Parvati Baker's courage and eloquence, through her writing and the living of her deepest beliefs, has given us a vision others have not even dreamed possible.

Jean Houston, in her epilogue to The Possible Human, writes:

I see a change. It is vested in the greatest rise in expectations the world has ever seen. It is so far-reaching in its implications that one might call it evolution consciously entering into time, the evolutionary potential asserting itself. It needed a certain critical mass, a certain merging of complexity, crisis, and consciousness to awaken. Now it is happening.

I cannot think of a better way to describe the possible change that Jeannine Parvarti Baker's vision-and living of her vision-may awaken for human beings. It is wonderful to be allowed, through her writing, to see the unfolding of "the possible family" into the second generation. May we continue to be blessed by this writer's contributions.

Publication Date: 
05/2002