Laura Shanley

Birth consultant, Author, Speaker

I am a freelance writer, birth consultant, speaker, and author of the book Unassisted Childbirth. I am also the mother of four children, all of whom were born at home without the help of doctors or midwives. My ex-husband, David, caught the first one and I caught the other three. Neither of us had been trained in midwifery, but we both understood that the problems in birth can be traced to three main causes: poverty, medical intervention and fear.

Since we did not live in poverty, did not choose to invite medical professionals to our births, and had worked with ourselves to eliminate fear and other potentially destructive emotions, we knew that unassisted childbirth was the safest way for us to give birth.

Writing and speaking about birth is one of my passions, but I am also fascinated by how the mind affects the body, what we can learn from our dreams, impulses and intuition, and how consciousness evolves on both personal and cultural levels. I have been heavily influenced by the writings of Jane Roberts and psychological historian, Gerald Heard.

Birth Consulting
Laura Speaks

I believe

That birth is inherently safe. The same loving, intelligent consciousness (All That Is, Goddess, God, Nature) that knows how to grow an egg and a sperm into a human being, knows how to get it out. Our job is simply to relax and trust. Birth is not a function of the conscious mind any more than digestion is.
That the problems women sometimes encounter in birth can be traced to three main causes:

Poverty – lack of food and poor living conditions.
Outside interference – doctors and sometimes midwives poking, prodding, testing, drugging, cutting, etc.
Inside interference – primarily fear which triggers the fight/flight response and shuts down labor, but also shame and guilt.

When these factors are eliminated, most women can give birth easily, either alone or with friends and family.

That our bodies and our babies are responsive to our thoughts. The best way to ensure a good pregnancy and birth is to think positively, face and overcome our fears, and believe in our own abilities.

Unassisted Childbirth

Unassisted Childbirth, Third Edition (paperback) has finally arrived!

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Randi Hutter Epstein, MDLynn M. GriesemerZuki AbbottMarnie KoSteve Brock
Laura Shanley, through remarkable insight into herself and prodigious research into childbirth history, explores a unique and increasingly popular way of giving birth in America today.
Randi Hutter Epstein, MD
Author of 'Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank'.
Unassisted Childbirth is a classic book, written by a classy author who tells the truth about birth. Laura Shanley explains why it is imperative to examine ones beliefs, expectations and fears, and offers parents suggestions as to what they can do to enhance their childbirth experience. Thousands of women are surprised and disappointed with their birth experiences because they fail to realize how much of their inner world unfolds during the birth of their baby. Every pregnant woman should read this book to see what is possible.
Lynn M. Griesemer
Author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love
For the past ten years I have been using Laura’s book to educate families on their options and help them realize how much of an impact they have in creating their births without fear dictating outcome. Several dozen families I have worked with chose to give birth alone. Out of them all, not one was disappointed in their choice. I encourage the use of this book for ANY family having a baby, whether unassisted or not, as it holds much value in creating faith in ones body with inner wisdom, not outside interference!
Zuki Abbott
Holistic Midwife & Author of This Sacred Life, Transforming Our World through Birth
Unassisted Childbirth, the Nurturing Magazine Book of the Year in 1998 is sharp, intelligent, empowering, and boldly truthful. If a woman is going to buy any book on birth, this is the only one she’ll need! Unassisted Childbirth is not only the best book on this subject, it is a ground-breaking work that will take its place in history as being the book on birth that can’t be matched in its message, delivery, power and impact. Future books on unassisted childbirth will try in vain to accomplish what this book has – so effortlessly, so easily, and with such unwavering belief that women can birth and catch their own babies. Reading this book is like being struck by the light, receiving the answer to the meaning of life, and coming back to earth to experience it.
Marnie Ko
Editor and Publisher of Nurturing Magazine, November 1998
Shanley’s excellent research on alternatives to hospital births, coupled with her inspiring personal knowledge, compels me to enthusiastically recommend Unassisted Childbirth for the mother-to-be looking for alternatives. It should also be prominently displayed in libraries and healthcare centers.
Steve Brock
Reviews on the Web
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From my Blog

An Unassisted Childbirth Advocate Speaks About Midwives

My book, Unassisted Childbirth, was about to be published and I decided to call a midwife whose book I had found particularly inspiring. As I gushed to her about how much I had learned from her book – to the point that I felt confident enough to give birth alone – I began to realize she didn’t share my enthusiasm for unassisted birth. In fact, she sounded outright hostile.

Laura Shanley

Please contact me if you would like to set up a session or learn more about my services.