I checked this book out at the library and finished reading it in an afternoon about a week ago. It was a very good book and quick to induce emotion.
Some things mentioned are older complaints about how birth is orchestrated, like holding a newborn by the ankles and giving him/her a sharp spank to get some good crying.
Birth attendants still want the baby to give a lusty cry, but the whole upside-down-by-the-ankles gig isn't done anymore. Most babies are also put directly on a mother's abdomen at birth, like Birth Without Violence suggests.
It was nice to see what a Leboyer Bath is. I had come across the term a few times and didn't really understand what exactly was meant by it. A Leboyer bath is done soon after birth by immersing the baby in a body-temperature bath (except the face, of course). The baby is immersed slowly to help him/her get used to the bath, and the point of the bath is to help the baby with the transition to dry land from his/her previous watery home. Apparently babies who experience the bath are very happy about it.
The Leboyer method of birthing without violence does have a number of other concepts which, when used together, are supposed to help babies have a peaceful entrance into the world. Leboyer did make it sound like the event of childbirth was a very traumatic one for the babies, which I agree with to some extent.
The only thing I disagreed with was that he made it sound as though it were worse than I believe it to be. In my opinion, birth cannot be quite as horrible as he makes it sound simply because it is a natural thing for life to begin with. It's not a piece of cake, and it certainly can be as difficult and traumatic for a baby as it can be for a mother, of course, but babies are designed to withstand it. Some births can certainly be more traumatic or difficult than others, but that doesn't mean they are inherently horrible for the baby.
In Leboyer-style births, the babies do not cry very much, as Leboyer says that traumatized, terrified crying is not a normal aspect of birth. The baby is taken directly to the mother's abdomen at birth and the mother massages the baby rhythmically, imitating the contractions of labor. After the cord has stopped pulsing, somewhere between one and five minutes after the birth of the baby, the cord is cut and the baby is left with the mother for a little while, then given the bath. The baby is supposed to cry a few lusty cries, then will stop crying and simply take in his/her new world.
It was nice to read this because that is what my son did at his birth. Reading something saying that his behavior was normal for a peaceful birth made me feel good about the birth and made me a little sad that the baby nurses did a deep suction on him because he wasn't crying enough at the time.
Ah, interventionist medical personnel are lovely.