Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

4.1 54
by Christiane Northrup
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

When it was first published in 1994, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom quickly became an international bestseller, and for the past fifteen years it has remained the veritable bible of women’s health. Now, in this revised and updated edition, world-renowned and much-beloved women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup shares with us the latest

Overview

When it was first published in 1994, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom quickly became an international bestseller, and for the past fifteen years it has remained the veritable bible of women’s health. Now, in this revised and updated edition, world-renowned and much-beloved women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup shares with us the latest developments and advances that will maximize our potential for living well in our bodies today. Inside you will discover new material on sexuality—and how to have a more fulfilling sex life; the spiritual and scientific principles behind healing from terminal illnesses, and how you can utilize these principles for your own health and the health of others; vital information about how to truly dissolve PMS and ease menstrual cramps; extraordinary facts on Vitamin D—and why it is crucial for breast, cardiovascular, and immune system health; the importance of the preconception diet and how to greatly decrease your risk of birth defects; how to birth naturally, despite the current induction and C-section epidemic; all you need to know about thyroid function, including proper blood tests; life-saving facts about cellular inflammation—the root cause of all chronic degenerative diseases—and how to prevent this condition; and the essentials on the “fountain of youth molecule”—and how to enhance your levels of it for vibrant health. Living a healthy life in a woman’s body can be downright fun—even ecstatic! And that’s good news for everyone—women, men, and their children.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401925376
Publisher:
Hay House, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
103,184
File size:
6 MB

Read an Excerpt

Speaking Our Truth

During the month after this book was initially published, I had a series of nightmares that someone was in my bedroom about to kill me. For five consecutive nights I woke up screaming in terror, scaring my children as well as myself. My dreams were my not-so-subtle inner guidance system letting me know how terrified a part of me was to actually put what I knew out into the world. I was shocked by the power of this fear. Though I'd known intellectually that many women have a wall of fear within them that arises when they dare to speak their truth, I hadn't realized how much of that fear I also shared. I dreaded going to the hospital for the regular OB/GYN meeting in June 1994, after the book went on sale, because I was sure that my colleagues would reject me and my work. Until then I had lived a professional double life: One part of me told patients what I really believe, in the privacy of my personal office, and the other part, the "official" me, held back a bit (or a lot) in the hospital or around many colleagues.

My socialization as a doctor had taught me well what was acceptable to my colleagues and the hospital staff. I'd been treading a fine line for years. In fact, back in 1980, right after the birth of my first child and before I took my oral exams for board certification in OB/GYN, I was featured in a cover story on holistic women's health for East West Journal (now Natural Health). In order to ensure that nobody at the hospital where I worked saw the article, I went to the co-op where East West was sold locally and personally purchased all the copies there. No one at my hospital ever saw it—or ifanyone did, they never said anything about it. But in 1994, it was not going to be possible to purchase every copy of a mass-marketed book! I had to face the music and bring the two parts of myself together publicly—and in front of conventional medical groups—for the first time.

My first step was to go to my weekly hospital meeting. When I walked in, I was relieved when almost no one said anything about the book and I wasn't treated any differently. It was as though nothing had happened. I had to laugh, for at that moment I learned a lesson about self-centeredness—believing that everyone around me is interested in what I'm doing or saying, when in fact they have their own lives to live. My biggest lesson was that my fear was just that . . . all mine, and it was time to let it go. This has been a gradual process: On the book's first anniversary, I had a series of dreams in which someone was videotaping me naked. I was still feeling vulnerable, but at least I wasn't about to be killed! Since then, the dreams have gradually disappeared.

Since 1994, I've been invited to speak to hospital staffs and doctors all over the country and abroad, and I have received an overwhelmingly positive and heartwarming response from women and men in the United States and around the world. Clearly, the world is ready for women's wisdom. The comment I hear most often, from women, men, and even many doctors, goes something like this: "Somewhere deep within me, I've always known the truth of what you were saying . . . but I didn't have words for it. And I certainly had never heard a doctor say it."

I have come to see that medical science, when combined with the wisdom of our hearts and our minds, is powerful medicine indeed. And that's why, almost as soon as this book was published, I found myself itching to revise it. Though there is no replacement for developing and honing our intuitive women's wisdom—that inner guidance that helps us choose which roads to take and which ones to avoid—I've found that this inner guidance works best when it's balanced with good, solid, up-to-date information.

And though the principles of true wisdom don't change much over time, useful and practical information does. We need both—just as we need both our left and right brain hemispheres. And with the burgeoning acceptance of alternative medicine into mainstream culture (a phenomenon that still surprises and delights me), more and more scientifically documented natural solutions to women's health problems become available every day. Simultaneously, good technological solutions, such as new devices to help stress urinary incontinence, as well as better surgical techniques to remove fibroids, are also helping many women. And each time I have updated my thinking and my recommendations, I have wanted to get that new information out to my readers so that they too can use it to improve their lives and their health.

In addition to adding better and more timely solutions to each section of the book, I found it necessary to completely rewrite the chapters on nutrition and menopause because there is so much new and helpful information in these areas, ranging from how to individualize a hormone replacement regimen using hormones native to the female body to how to find a dietary approach that balances both your brain and body biochemistry. Women's health is finally getting the attention it deserves, and as a longtime player in this field, I have a great deal to say and a lot of new information to share.

By sheer serendipity, my newsletter, Health Wisdom for Women, was launched in partnership with Phillips Publishing International several months after the first edition of this book came out. So now, instead of addressing the problems of twenty women in my office each day, I am able to reach thousands every month. In essence, the health care solutions offered through the newsletter, together with my subscribers' correspondence and feedback, have become a virtual practice. This has allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse of women's health care in a much broader and more diverse way than ever before. I've also heard from countless physician colleagues, who tell me that patients often bring in either a copy of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom or the newsletter to discuss a particular approach that I've recommended. Most of these doctors are grateful for the information. This grassroots approach truly appeals to my small-town origins.

Writing the first edition of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom opened up to me a larger world of women's wisdom that is growing all over the planet. Because of this, I have more support from more people and places than I ever dreamed possible. This has allowed me to become more of who I really am. I know from all the letters I receive that the same thing is happening to others across the globe. The original book is being used as a text in nursing schools and hospitals around the country—and this helps women's wisdom gather steam and momentum.

I've learned the power of telling my personal truth. It has been a very significant part of my healing process. And I have emerged feeling stronger and freer than ever before. I hope this book will inspire other women to speak their personal truths, too. I know that as each of us does this, the world—and our health—changes for the better.


From Chapter 12: Pregnancy and Birthing

My Personal Story

As a mother and a women's doctor, I have experienced childbirth from both sides of the bed. Every mother has moments that she cherishes from the birth experience and insights and feelings she'd like to share with other women. I'd like to tell you my story and also some remarkable stories of other women.

The due date for my first child was December 7, 1980. I continued my work supervising the residency clinic at a Boston hospital, and I flew or drove to Maine every other week to keep my practice going there. I had watched far too many pregnant women stop work early and then mope around the house eating, waiting for the baby to come, sometimes begging their obstetrician to induce labor. I didn't want to fall into that category. I had also seen dozens of women go overdue. I certainly wasn't going to get excited about labor—at least, not until my due date.

On Thanksgiving we went to dinner at a friend's house. Later that evening, back home in bed, I started to experience very mild but regular contractions that didn't hurt. Like the good controlled doctor that I was, I went into the bathroom and decided to examine my cervix to see if I was dilating. When I did this, my water broke. I thought, "Damn, now I know this really is it." Shortly thereafter, without the natural "padding" that the amniotic fluid provides, my contractions began coming every two minutes and were much more uncomfortable than initially.

I called my mother, who was planning to help me after the birth and said, "I'm not going to like this." She said that she understood (after six children, she knew) but that it wouldn't last forever. In the 1940s, Mom had always had to labor alone, strapped down in bed with no pain relief or personal support. For each delivery, she had been knocked unconscious by drugs and was handed the baby later by the obstetrician, as though it were a gift from him and not the fruit of her own labor. Thousands of women like her were never given a choice and didn't even know there were other ways to deliver.

The pain of labor was far greater than I thought it would be. (It's always worse after the membranes are ruptured, a point that doesn't seem to stop some obstetricians from doing it prematurely even when there's no need to.) I had seen hundreds of women in labor after five years of OB training. I had always focused on the women who didn't appear to have any discomfort, and I was so sure I would be one of them. But here I was—stuck. I felt as though I were in a box, and there was no way out except through. My intellect could not get me out of this—and I was determined to go through the process naturally. I already trusted the natural world more than the artificial man-made one. What I didn't appreciate then was the depth of my own programming into and cooperation with that same man-made world.

We called my obstetrician, a sensitive man with whom I had worked in the hospital for several years. He suggested that my husband and I go into the hospital. The only problem was that all I wanted to do was stay on the floor on my hands and knees. Moving anywhere seemed to me the most unnatural thing I could think of. It went against every instinct in my body.

I didn't have a bag packed for the hospital, so my husband ran around and put some underwear, a nightgown, and a toothbrush in a bag. Then he tried to get me dressed, out the door, and into the car. He nearly had to carry me. Left to my own instincts, I would never have left my position on my hands and knees on the floor.

When we got to the hospital, a place where I had worked for half a decade, I had to go through the admitting office as a patient. Admissions had lost the correct papers and would not let me go upstairs to the labor and delivery floor, where my nurse friends and my doctor were waiting. This was my introduction to the bureaucracy of hospitals, something I'd been shielded from for years. (Laboring in a hospital hallway alone is inhumane; but for thousands of women, it is their experience.) I simply walked out of that room, went to the back hall elevator, got in, and went up to labor and delivery by myself.

When my doctor examined me, I was four centimeters dilated. (You have to get to ten to be ready to push.) For the next three hours my contractions came frequently. But I failed to dilate beyond six centimeters, where I remained "stuck" for those three hours. The contraction pattern on the monitor was "dysfunctional." Though the contractions hurt a lot, and I never got much of a break between them, they simply were not getting the job done. I had what is known as hypertonic uterine inertia, which means that the contractions, though present, are not efficient—they are erratic, originating all over the uterus at the same time, like the heart when it goes into atrial fibrillation. (The high heart—in the chest—does the same sort of thing as the low heart—the uterus in the pelvis—sometimes.) Instead of beginning at the top and moving in a wave to the bottom of the uterus, the contractions originated in many places at the same time. Labor didn't progress well. It was like trying to get toothpaste out of a tube by squeezing it in fifteen places at the same time with a little bit of pressure, instead of squeezing firmly only at the back end of the tube so that the paste comes out uniformly.

When my doctor told me that I had made no progress in three hours, I knew what was next. (Remember, my intellect thought it was in control of my labor.) "Okay," I said, "start the IV, plug in the fetal electrode, and hang the Pit." Pitocin (oxytocin) is a drug that artificially contracts the uterus. After the Pitocin was started, the contractions became almost unbearable, going to full intensity almost as soon as they started.

No amount of Lamaze breathing distracted me from the intensity of the feeling that the lower part of my body was in the grip of a vise. At one point, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 11:15 A.M. What I recall thinking was, "If this goes on for another fifteen minutes, I'm going to need an epidural anesthetic." I didn't know that I was in transition—the part of labor that is most intense, just before the cervix becomes fully dilated. Within the next twelve minutes I suddenly felt the urge to push. It was the most powerful bodily sensation I've ever felt, and I was powerless to resist it. The thought flashed through my mind, "If I ever tell another woman not to push when every fiber in her body tells her to push, may God strike me with lightning!"

In two pushes, Ann almost flew out of my body. My obstetrician quite literally caught her. Though I was laboring in the "birthing room," I wasn't laboring in the "correct" delivery bed, and I barely made it to the delivery bed in time. (Birthing rooms now are equipped with beds that adjust for delivery of the baby, so that moving from one bed to another isn't necessary.)

Ann cried and cried, and though I put her to my breast almost immediately, it still took quite a while to calm her down. I believe this was because the Pitocin made for a far too rapid second stage of labor. It was too intense both for Ann and for me. Neither she nor I had much chance to recover between contractions.

A primiparous patient—one having her first baby—usually takes an hour or more to push the baby out. From the time the cervix is fully dilated to delivery—the second stage of labor—I went from six centimeters to delivery in less than one hour; my uterus was being pushed by a powerful drug, a very intense and distinctly unnatural experience.

To this day, my daughter is not particularly "at home" in her body and is afraid to take physical risks, for instance in skiing or hiking. Though there are various reasons for this, I know deep within me that being propelled into the world with so little time to accommodate herself to the process of labor was a terrifying experience for her.

Copyright 2002 by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Meet the Author


Christiane Northrup, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn, is a visionary pioneer; a beloved authority in women’s health and wellness; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Women's Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. Following a 25-year career in both academic medicine and private practice, Dr. Northrup now devotes her time to helping women truly flourish on all levels through tapping into their inner wisdom.
Website: www.DrNorthrup.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon this book in a book store, skimmed through it out of curiosity, ended up buying it and have hardly put it down since. It is important that women who read this book share it with their children, sibblings, spouses, parents and friends. I have told almost every woman and some men, I have come across to read it. Dr. Northurp is bright, insightful and brave. She has confirmed many things I have thought about and shared with my Gyn, to no avail. I have been pumped full of toxic drugs that have created side effects more severe that the original problem. I am going to give my GYN a copy of this book for Christmas. The information on the effects of diet is priceless. It makes perfect sense that the body and mind must be treated together because one so clearly affects the other. The book is well written, logical and long overdue. Although I do not agree with everything I have read in it, I think that is a plus, because it makes her more human and real. Additionally, anything that is so powerful can have no shortfalls because it can only empower those who read it.
purposeful More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book, well researched, easy to read, a must for women who want to make the most of their lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have not read the whole book but it is a wake up call to all. Living in the Western World we believe Doctors know best and all. WRONG!!! Eastern medicine teaches us to treat the body as a whole. Native American Medicine teaches us natural remedies work also. So many people listen to the doctors and drug companies they have given up on trying other ways. This is not NEW AGE at all, drugs are not saying the are all bad because they aren't. Just look at what has happened over the years so many drug recalls. HMMM give this book and others like it a real chance. Try and be open minded.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Dr. Northrup on Oprah several years ago and was very moved by her candor and courage. I purchased her first book and have referred to it often. This book is equally wonderful. Every woman should read it and keep it nearby for ongoing reference.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although Christiane Northrup's books are geared to women, many men can learn from her wisdom, and those of us in health care are really on a 'need to know' basis. I am espcially appreciative of the fact that she recognizes the connection between the emotions and the wellness of the physical body connection. My sister won't let go of this book which speaks for itself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully smart book that illustrates how women have the ability to heal themselves and others. There is so much positive energy at work in a healthy woman. This book provides the information women need to tap into this positive energy. I like the way it was written too. It was not difficult to read. I discovered many things I can use right now and I plan to read it again later to get more. This is the best book on health I have found.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very insighful to learn about all the changes and phases that as women we through the lenght of our lives.
jlay More than 1 year ago
I am impressed with this book! very informative and thought provoking! I learned a lot about myself and women in general. This book can be read for reference or read from front to back for pure enjoyment. I reccommend it to all women!! Sit down and enjoy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't even do this book justice with a simple review. All I can say is that it's everything I expected and more. It was chocked with great information that every woman should know and should use. I would recommend on this book for every woman. I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" for anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain. I thought that the book was just about forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. It was about how you should deal with friends, family and yourself and more importantly, how to keep these relationships strong when things go wrong. Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it. It is on sale here on BN.com.
PamelaWells More than 1 year ago
Every woman should read this book and every man should buy the women in his life this book. Empowering women worldwide with knowledge about their own bodies in the most practical of terms, this book covers a broad range of women's health issues with the balanced yet practical wisdom of mind-body wellness. I recommend this book to all my friends and it has been a permanent addition to my favorite books collection. This book was a foundational book for me and gave me greater understanding into both my body and mind. Christine is a wonderful teacher, mentor and true healer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr Northrup connects the dots between disease and the mind. She shows how one's life events can contribute to the overall health of all women and how we can avoid some very serious diseases. A great reference!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book, because my mom is going through menopause, and we (my family) wanted to better understand some of the intricacies. This book has led to some great understanding and also discussions between me and my mom...so I highly recommend this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Northrup is so knowledgeable and straightfoward that one cannot help but agree with her. My mother recommended this book to me and I have never regretted purchasing it 4 years ago!! I have read most of the book, occasionally focusing on areas of health I have questions on. Her expertise has saved me from a lifetime of chronic infections and given me hope for the future as a healthy, empowered woman!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My doctors had given up treating my endometriosis and deferred to the typical hysterectomy 'cure' - and I'm only 34 years old! Disheartened, I went into a local vitamin/herbal store, hoping for an alternative treatment. Before the woman in the store would sell me anything, she referred me to this book. She had w worn copy she used as a reference for all of her female customers with problems like mine. A week later, I decided to buy a copy of the book for myself. Holy cow! I'm so glad I did! Not only have I found a way to deal with the symptoms of my endometriosis, but also many other 'womanly' afflictions that have caused gynecologists to just throw their hands up in frustrated futility. Yes, it's kinda new age. Yes, it examines how psychological factors affect a woman's health. But the recommendations WORK - which is all that matters to me. It's written in an easy-to-understand manner. Maybe not everything in the book is for everyone (I've read some of the other negative comments about specific parts of the book) - but the book as a whole is a valuable tool for any woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book completely changed my outlook on being female. I've always felt that my periods were a handicap -- something to be overcome and controlled. After reading this book I see that this attitude is patriarchal and harmful to my well-being. Now I understand that when I'm emotional before my period I'm not being 'crazy' or 'unreasonable.' Whenever I used these disparaging terms to get me to 'snap out of it,' I would always feel worse, not better. Women have periods for a reason and to medicate, control or dismiss a normal bodily function is wrong, wrong, wrong. Yes, this book is somewhat new-age but in world in which we unquestionly gulp down pills to 'fix' whatevers ailing us, this book is the voice of reason. Besides it never recommends to avoid mainstream medicine at all costs. It merely suggests to try some less invasive alternatives first. Our bodies know more than any pharmaceutical company -- it's time we started listening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for no-nonsense information, this is not the book for you. Lots of new age advise, including the suggestion that you remain awake during a hysterectomy so you can say 'thank you, and goodbye' to your uterus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is written in easy to understand style -- as opposed to doctorese. It is packed with information about how and often why a woman's body works the way it does. Dr. Northup explains in detail a woman's life stages and what to expect. How to interpret physical and lab exam reports. This should be required reading for college students taking womens' studies and on every woman's bookshelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, someone who had the courage to tell women what is REALLY going on with their bodies when they turn 40. Doctors have always told us to take a pill...it will go away or...'its just your hormones out of control' or....you're just going through the change or...you are PMSing.... I have a word for them... YADDA YADDA YADDA!!!!!.... Thank God for your words of wisdom Christiane Northup. I'm not crazy afterall!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christiane includes sound, common sense remedies for our feminine ills - they have certainly worked wonders for me! Her thoughtful, teaching manner of presentation helped me to develop a new perspective on my own health care and well-being. After 20 years on the pill, my OB-GYN gave me Prozac for painful menstrul cramps & PMS, and over the counter yeast cream for irritating, recurring Candida skin rash. Neither worked. Christiane offered different nutritional suggestions - no dairy or red meat just before & during cycle days - and simple supplements that make the cramps go away, or even never happen (magnesium, E and evening primrose oil, among others). As for the Candida - I learned from her that it is systemic, followed her dietary and nutrient supplement suggestions and now have no problem with it. Also learned alot about my own emotional connections and relevance to these conditions in the process - whew, major insights! Armed with her alternative advice and knowledge, I no longer feel victemized by a small-town, male dominated, complacent medical system! I am smart and pay attention, and am now pro-active in my own well being and, more importantly, in my Dr's office!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book uses both scientific logic and alternative solutions to explain how and why a womans body does what it does. For years I have suffered from endometriosis and severe PMS, and this book has helped me to approach my 'problems' in a new way - and it's worked! Christiane Northup is a genious!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago