THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS:  Natural Childbirth in a Hospital
By Cynthia Gabriel

    “I believe that there are many women in North America who would benefit from
    this book.  Many wish to have a natural birth, but are stymied by the routines of
    too many hospitals. And yet, they are not confident of having a home birth. A book
    such as this could do much to help many women achieve their goals…I think
    such a book is long overdue.”

    Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
    The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers Revised and Updated: The Most
    Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost
    Expert in North America
Growing Together
Life Learning Center

Copyright © 2007
Felix Paulick and
Cia Gabriel





About the Author

Cynthia Gabriel holds a doctorate in medical
anthropology from the University of California, Santa
Cruz and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the
University of Michigan. She gave birth naturally in 2001
and 2004.

As a medical anthropologist, Cynthia conducts
research on the effects of stress during pregnancy
with Dr. Julia Seng and Mickey Sperlich of the
University of Michigan. Cynthia focuses on African-
American women’s birth experiences and the stress
of discrimination.

Her dissertation research led her to become an expert
in what it takes to attain a natural birth.  She took
classes in San Francisco from Elizabeth Davis (author
of Heart and Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy
and Birth, now in its 4th Edition). In 2000, she spent a
year researching childbirth in Russia.  This project
was inspired by her conversations with Russian
women of all ages and economic backgrounds who
expressed confidence in their ability to give birth
naturally in hospitals, even urban hospitals with the
latest Western technology. Cynthiia identified many
cultural factors that can support women’s confidence
about birth.

Beginning in 1998, she has attended births as a doula
or midwifery assistant to more than 85 women. With a
handful of exceptions, these women all achieved
natural births in hospital settings. She has been
present at births in California and New York in the
United States; in Toronto, Ontario; and in St.
Petersburg and Nizhni Novgorod, Russia.Cynthia has
given public lectures on birth, parenting and related
topics at a variety of universities, midwifery programs
and at national and regional conferences.
Book Overview

Hospitals – and books about birth – are not meeting the needs of millions of North
American women. Four and a half million women give birth in the United States and
Canada each year. Most of them are not getting the birth experiences that they say they

Women have a deep desire to have a satisfying, fulfilling birth experience. And most want
instantaneous access to lifesaving technology. There is no good reason that they should
not be able to have both.

Women want the best of both worlds. They want to respect the body’s natural rhythm of
labor and birth and they want the feeling of safety they associate with hospitals.  In North
America, achieving that sense of safety means giving up natural birth more than ninety
percent of the time. Hospital personnel, most of whom literally have no experience with
natural birth, justify millions of unnecessary labor interventions. Currently, no American
medical school requires doctors to attend even one natural birth during their obstetrical

Overview - continued

Please contact us if you would like to receive a sample chapter or have any
comments on the book. Your feedback, thoughts, or any personal experiences that
you would like to share are welcome.
Follow Cynthia Gabriel

Twitter at thebirthmuse


Her Blog