A reliable, straightforward presentation of ""gentle birth"": combining French obstetrician Leboyer's delivery techniques with family-centered delivery, Berezin examines the physical and psychological effects of this approach without hyping it into a happening. The philosophy is based on detraumatizing/demedicalizing birth for the baby and the parents; instead of harsh lights, loud noises, and whipping the newborn off to the nursery, the aim is to keep the family together and to allow the baby more time--and a less surgical environment--in which to adjust to its new surroundings. (Or. as Leboyer puts it, to ""forge a link between past and present; to ensure that in this totally unknown and seemingly antagonistic universe, some familiar thing is here to reassure and appease."") Berezin points out that gentle birth is an approach, not a format (it may include low lighting, a warm bath while the baby slowly extends its arms and legs, nursing immediately after delivery); and that it can be used in combination with natural or assisted childbirth, or even Caesarean section. She is down-to-earth and medically careful about the possible hazards of home birth in this country, and the problems that can arise with breast feeding and natural childbirth: and she offers sound advice on choosing a sympathetic practitioner. The latest findings on the use of gentle birth techniques are clearly discussed--how these babies and parents respond to each other (possibly earlier, closer bonding, with lower rates of child abuse); to what extent babies are indeed responsive after birth (they may be able to see and smile almost immediately). Throughout her presentation of what may be a revolutionary change, Berezin has managed to keep from gushing trod from recourse to the flowery writing that hobbles Leboyer's own hook. Here we learn just what happens in gentle birth and how it's affecting the field of obstetrics--in terms that relate to the individual reader.