Reviews
newborn baby

“For my money, [this] is the best doula book ever written! Rose St. John has combined her immense amount of experience with assisting and teaching couples into a practical … down-to-earth guide for fathers. Her recommendations for breathing, focusing, and coping are techniques that not only apply to labor and birth but are skills that will impact fathers and mothers for a lifetime. I am excited to see such a complete compendium directed at fathers, to know that it will help so many

women have better and more pleasurable birth experiences.”
   —Barbara Harper, RN, CLD, CCE
      Author of
Gentle Birth Choices and Founder of Waterbirth International


Fathers at Birth, by Rose St. John is an excellent resource for those who are committed to working with a woman or women in labor. This book is a great tool for not only fathers but also anyone working in the childbirth profession-doulas, midwives, nurses and doctors. It is right up there with Penny Simkin’s Birth Partner. In fact while reading Fathers At Birth I could not help but wish I had stumbled upon this book a year ago when I was pregnant and gathering books for my husband to read.

One of the many handouts I provide pregnant couples with is a list of books I recommend they pick up. Some of which I would make mandatory if I could —needless to say Fathers At Birth has made its way to the top of that list. As a doula and childbirth educator I am always eager to learn more—to accumulate tips and techniques that will allow me to assist couples to the best of my ability. Thank you Ms. St. John for putting your years of experience at my finger tips. ”
   —Simone Snyder, International Childbirth Education Association
      Online Review (excerpted) —
Click to view entire review at ICEA.org


Fathers at Birth: Your Role in Bringing Your Child into the World, by Rose St. John, provides detailed instruction in the author's myriad techniques for assisting a laboring woman through touch, breath, vocalizations, words, and focused presence. St. John's methods demonstrate her awareness of the acute physical and emotional sensitivities of the laboring woman, as well as the critical yet undervalued role of the father in birth. Her one-minute centering practice is a terrific tool for any labor attendant. In short, this is some of the best guidance I've seen for professional doulas, let alone fathers. I highly recommend this book.”
   —Melissa Chianta
      Managing Editor,
Mothering Magazine, September - October 2009


“I applaud Ms. St. John on her enormous effort; she has taken a lifetime of experience as a mother, doula, yoga instructor, birth coach, and a birthing woman, and rolled them into a clear, easy-to-read guide for the most important attendant at the birth: the father.”
   —Cathi Parisi, MSN, CNM
      Director of Connecticut Childbirth and Women's Center


“Dear Rose,

Thank you for the gift you have given to the world. I will let the below speak further.

Expectant fathers today are often challenged with finding their place at birth as well as in the mine field of information on the subject, primarily designed for women. In her book Fathers at Birth, Rose St. John handles both.

With the depth and breadth of the information, exercises and personal stories presented men no longer need to go on a voyeuristic journey through women's literature. They can learn all there is to know about pregnancy, birth and the breastfeeding time in a book that is written for them and speaks directly to their questions and concerns, fears and hopes, needs and values.

Ms. St. John's vast experience working with couples over several decades shines throughout. She also insightfully enlightens the reader about the nature of motherhood and what it is like for a woman. This is highly valuable for men during a time that begs answers to the age old question, what do women want; or more specifically what do pregnant and birthing women want? Help is at hand!”
   —Patrick M. Houser
      Author of
Fathers-To-Be Handbook, www.fatherstobe.org


“When I first picked this book up, I was excited to see something written expressly for dads. In the first chapter, ‘Your Presence Makes a Difference, ’ the father's role at a birth is defined. How many moms have told their spouses that they just want them to be there? This book explains how dads can hold the space for their laboring partners. This struck me as a wonderful thing! They don't have to fix anything or take away her pain... they just hold her space.

The author states early on that she has written this book with two goals: ‘ The first is to share my experiences, to teach you practical skills and give you tools that work... The second goal is to share my perspective on the transcendent, sacred aspect of birth.’ Dads are taught how to respond to their partner's cues while keeping themselves centered and calm. The author does an excellent job explaining how dads can take care of their partner during labor and what signs to look for when she gets stressed or uncomfortable. There are chapters outlining helpful clues to look for and what to do to help her relax.

Next come several chapters with exact step by step directions on how to use different positions and rituals to help mom through labor. It is helpful to practice these before labor begins. The appendices at the back offer a quick refresher that can be used in the heat of labor. Beautiful black and white photography decorates each chapter and illustrates the different positions that are recommended for labor.

I could see how this book could be recommended reading for childbirth classes. It is one of the few books that actually address the father and his needs. This book reminds us how important it is for dad to take care of himself as well. How else can he be there for his partner if he is not caring for his own needs?

I highly recommend this book to any new father. Heck, I'd recommend it to a dad who has already been to the births of his children so he could learn more for the next one. This book was long overdue... I'm glad it has finally arrived.”
   —Toni Rakestraw
      Founder and Editor of
Organic Birth Magazine


“Rose St. John lovingly holds the door open…to a place where man has seldom gone… and gesturing with a smile, [says], ‘Come in; it’s okay. You can do this.’”
   —SwamiJnaneshvara Bharati


“This is a truly wonderful book. Clearly and insightfully written (with beautiful supporting photographs), it empowers Dads with a bounty of tools they can use as they support their partner during the amazing work of labor and birth. Perhaps more importantly though, it encourages fathers to draw upon their own innate gifts--and gently reminds them of just how powerful their simple, grounding PRESENCE can be. As mothers, we are blessed with an abundance of great books to choose from, as we prepare to bring our children into the world. For papas, this has not always been as true. Ms. St. John's book wonderfully, wisely, and warmly welcomes fathers to fully inhabit their incredible new role.

As a certified childbirth educator (and prenatal yoga teacher), I have found Fathers at Birth to be an exceptional and unique teaching resource, and highly recommend it to anyone who works closely with birthing families--and of course, to every daddy-to-be!”
   —Camille Mulchi, BS, RYT, CCE
      MotherWise Yoga and Holistic Childbirth Education


“As a labor and delivery nurse I experience on a daily basis how scary and overwhelming labor can be for unprepared partners. The significant other often feels helpless and unequipped to adequately support his laboring loved one. By reading this book he will prepare himself for the birth experience, both by gaining knowledge about the birthing process as well acquiring a big bag of practical tools and helpful strategies for supporting his partner (and himself!) during labor.
“Not only will this greatly reduce his stress and empower him, it will support both his and his partner’s ability to cope with the challenges of labor and ultimately enhance their birth experiences. I highly recommend this easy-to-read birthing book for any father-to-be, whether it is his first or subsequent child, and whether the couple chooses to birth their baby at home, at a birthing center, or in a hospital setting.”
   —Tina Zeeberg, RN, BSN, labor and delivery nurse.


“Rose reveals to us the power of the birth experience. She illustrates beautifully how mother and father can tap into their own inner resources and power. [Her] approach is liberating, simple, and limitless.”
   —Michelle Wenis
      Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Instructor, Bradley Method
® Childbirth Educator


“As a nurse-midwife with more than 20 years of clinical experience, I recommend this book very highly to pregnant couples, and also to doulas (professionals who provide support to the laboring couple). Rose St. John’s approach to labor and birth combines the practical, the spiritual, and common sense. During the most beautiful, satisfying, safe, and healthy births I have attended, the laboring couples used many of the techniques St. John describes. Rose St. John has a place, with Penny Simkin and Sheila Kitzinger, on my list of very best writers about birth.”
   —Elisabeth Genly, RN, CNM