Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth: 5th edition

“The book to read before deciding on home or hospital delivery.”

–Patricia Holt, The San Francisco Chronicle

Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth 5th Edition, by Elizabeth Davis

About the latest edition
Table of Contents
About midwifery & home birth

Now in it’s twentieth printing with over 250,000 copies sold, Heart & Hands has become a classic text for aspiring midwives and parents interested in the benefits of midwifery care.

The 5th edition—twice the length of the 1st—features a strong focus on physiologic, “hands-off” birth, with updates on breech assisting, fetal effects of ultrasound, screening for preeclampsia and diabetes, Group B-strep treatments, postdates pregnancy, VBAC (including long-term effects on mother and baby), diagnosis of and recovery from trauma, and postpartum depression. The new cover and updated photographs will appeal to parents, and for midwives, updated forms include a “Mother’s Confidential Worksheet” on abuse issues. Sections on electronic charting and state-of-the-art informed choice have been added, as well as an international list of schools and expanded resource list for parents.

This comprehensive guide also includes sections on: Choosing a Midwife, Self-Care in Pregnancy, Hands-off Birth Assisting, Herbs and Homeopathy for the Childbearing Cycle, Setting up a Practice, Complications in Labor, What to Do When the Baby Cries, and much more!


From Chapter One:

“What makes midwifery so desirable to expectant mothers? Simply put, midwifery promotes well-being. It is an art of service, in that the midwife recognizes, responds to and cooperates with natural forces. In this sense, midwifery is ecologically attuned, involving the wise utilization of resources and respect for the balance of nature.

“Midwifery care is personalized care. Despite parameters of safety the midwife must uphold, she knows that wellness is an amorphous state with periodic deviations from normal. Her task is to decipher the unique and fluid patterns of each mother’s health status. The more thorough and continuous her care, the more likely she is to detect a complication at its inception. And the better she and the mother communicate, the more readily will they develop and implement a solution.”

Enjoy highly technical material presented in a clear and entertaining fashion:

“Sometimes you get the feeling that active labor is knocking at the door, but the mother is not ready to get up and answer. Up to 4 or 5 cm dilation, most mothers can control the ebb and flow of contractions and, unless labor is precipitous, must deliberately let the forces of labor take over. This is the point of realizing that we don’t ‘do’ birth, it ‘does’ us! To move into active labor, the mother must give up notions of how she thought labor would be; in other words, she must surrender.

“The endorphins are just one ingredient in the ‘cocktail of hormones’ released by the primitive brain to ease and facilitate the birth process. To benefit from this physiologic boost, we must first turn off the neocortex, our thinking and reasoning aspect. And how is this to be done? Consider factors that stimulate the neocortex: speech, bright light, and a sense of being observed (by others, by oneself, or by technology). Laboring mothers need a quiet, peaceful, private and intimate environment. With this, another critical ingredient in the cocktail is released–oxytocin. Perhaps the best way to frame this is to say that an environment suited for lovemaking is also perfect for giving birth.”

Heart & Hands 5th edition: Table of Contents

Chapter One The Midwife: A Profile
Chapter Two Prenatal Care
Chapter Three Problems in Pregnancy
Chapter Four Assisting at Births
Chapter Five Complications in Labor
Chapter Six Postpartum Care
Chapter Seven Becoming a Midwife
Chapter Eight The Midwife’s Practice
Chapter Nine The Long Run

Important facts about midwifery:

  • In the European countries of Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands, birthing with midwives is the popular norm.
  • In the six countries in the world that lose the fewest babies, the majority of births are assisted by midwives.
  • In the US, where the midwife has been marginalized, infant mortality is alarmingly high—we rank number 30 worldwide.
  • Complication rates for hospital birth have been shown repeatedly to be about six times greater than for birth at home.
  • The physician lobby has repeatedly funded anti-midwifery acts of legal harassment and negative media campaigns.
  • Midwives today ascribe to high standards of professional practice.

Rave reviews for Heart & Hands:

“Here is a book of great beauty, that uniquely combines traditional midwifery teachings with the most up-to-date obstetrical theories and techniques.”

–Don Creevy, M.D. FACOG, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine

“An impressive and deeply caring book…reveals a shrewd and compassionate sensitivity to women’s needs in pregnancy and birth.”

–Sheila Kitzinger, author, The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Birth, The Midwife Challenge

To Order

Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth 5th Edition by Elizabeth Davis, Ten Speed Press
Find it on: Amazon