Rhea Dempsey
Birthing Wisdom

Birth with Confidence (paperback)


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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 you can do to beat the odds.

In this accessible, straightforward book, Rhea Dempsey draws on over thirty years’ experience to show how your choice of caregivers, support team and birthplace, as well as your life experience and personal attitudes to pain, can affect your birth. Featuring real-life stories, the latest Australian statistics and opportunities for guided personal reflection, Birth with Confidence provides the knowledge and practical advice readers 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