Rhea Dempsey
Birthing Wisdom

Books by Rhea Dempsey

Beyond the Birth Plan: getting real about pain and power

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Research tells us many postnatal challenges stem from our pre-baby life: our emotional history, childhood and even babyhood. Prenatal preparation that recognises this is crucial in protecting new mothers from postnatal depression. It is also the kind of preparation Rhea Dempsey has offered for years to women wanting the best chance of intervention-free birth in our current system. 

In Beyond the Birth Plan Rhea outlines this emotional preparation, drawing on brain science, psychology, midwifery research, and the personal stories of many women she has supported to birth the way they want.

Whatever your intentions for labour and whatever its ultimate pathway, your real plan for your birth—and beyond—starts here.

Praise for Beyond the Birth Plan
For those who long to heal from a traumatic birthing experience, or for those who hope to avoid one in the first place, this book is an excellent place to begin your birth education.
Beautifully written and so bloody useful.
Clare Bowditch

Rhea has so much wisdom to offer women, she is the wise woman the world needs right now, the mother and grandmother some of us missed, and the friend who whispers the right words at just the right moment.
Everyone should get their hands on this book and get real with Rhea!
Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book and Give Birth Like a Feminist

Beyond the Birth Plan: Getting real about pain and power is the next delightful arrow in Rhea Dempsey’s quiver. I can’t count the number of women I have urged to read Birth with Confidence who have told me it was what unlocked their belief in themselves and let them trust in their bodies. At the heart of most fear around birth is the issue of pain. In eight simple easy-to-access chapters full of stories and scenarios, Rhea brings decades of experience to life on the page. Preparing for birth is key and to prepare you must understand and be willing to do the work. We all bring baggage to birth as women; this book gently unpacks that baggage and shows you how you can work with and beyond that baggage to ROAR.
Hannah Dahlen, professor of midwifery, Western Sydney University

Rhea’s warmth and wisdom are a sure guide for birthing families.
Dr Sarah Buckley, author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering

I love this book, in it Rhea shares her wisdom gathered over many years of working with parents and supporting birth. The book goes beyond the birth and into the often hidden realm of childbirth as a rite of passage. Women’s birth stories are included throughout, providing a deep exploration of the reality of pain and power in the modern birth context. The book offers a holistic approach for parents preparing for their birth journey.
Rachel Reed, midwifery academic and author of Why Induction Matters

You are making the invisible world visible in this book. It requires so much care and conscious focused attention to walk the edge of what is invisible and then summon those deeper knowings, insights and patterns and put them into words.
Lola Howard, artist and doula


Birth With Confidence: Savvy choices for normal birth

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Australia’s birth intervention rates are well above those recommended by the World Health Organisation and climbing. In Birth with Confidence, one of Australia’s foremost thinkers on the subject of childbirth explains why normal birth is almost impossible in our current birth culture—and what women can do to beat the odds.

In this accessible, straightforward book, Rhea Dempsey draws on over thirty years’ experience to show how a woman’s choice of caregivers, support team and birthplace, as well as her life experience and personal attitudes to pain, will affect her birth outcomes. Featuring real-life stories, the latest Australian statistics and opportunities for guided personal reflection, Birth with Confidence provides the knowledge and practical advice that women need for the best chance of normal birth in today’s birth culture.

Birth With Confidence will:

  • Outline the benefits for mothers and babies of a normal physiological birth
  • Help you understand how our current birth culture can undermine your attempts at normal birth and the steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t
  • Explain how the various ‘circles of influence’ around you — from your friends and family to the wider culture — can support or sabotage your birthing potential
  • Help you identify your own attitude to pain — your ‘pain type’ — and what it will mean for your birth
  • Provide practical and emotional steps you can take to raise your pain tolerance level
  • Give you a framework for deciding on the best caregivers and support people to help you work through any ‘crisis of confidence’ during labour


Praise for Birth with Confidence

Rhea Dempsey is a wise woman who everyone I know refers to everyone else I know … I know all the time. She is a keeper of secrets and a polisher of treasures. She is a fierce supporter of things that actually matter: like women and their experience when giving birth, and men and their experience of bonding with their children. These are just two of the things that make her a true treasure, and we are so lucky she’s written some of her wisdom down in this book.’Clare Bowditch

‘If you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, this book is a must read’ — Pinky McKay, author of Parenting by Heart, Sleeping Like a Baby and 100 Ways to Calm the Crying

‘During my twenty years of involvement in childbirth activism and research, many women have asked me ‘how can I have a good birth?’ I have wanted just this book—Rhea’s wise answers—to give them. Now we have it’ — Dr Kerreen Reiger, School of Social Sciences La Trobe University and author of Our Bodies Our Babies

‘Ever since I encountered first-hand the power and the clarity of Rhea Dempsey’s vision of childbirth, I have been hoping Rhea would write a book. I have no doubt [it] will become an instant classic—for women about to give birth, for their partners, and for childbirth professionals across Australia and beyond’ — Maria Tumarkin, author of Otherland and Traumascapes

» Reviews of Birth with Confidence


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