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Our primeval connection to water, and its use in labour and therapy

Click for a large cover of WATER, BIRTH AND SEXUALITY.

‘After the historic student revolt in France a period of audacious creativity resulted. The watchword was: “It is forbidden to forbid”. We took advantage of this transient cultural folly to do what would have been impossible ten years before or ten years after, introducing in the maternity unit of a state hospital an inflatable outdoor pool as a way to replace drugs during birth.’ – from the Introduction

In this groundbreaking book, Dr Odent takes as his starting point the world-famous work on childbirth at Pithiviers, where he first noticed the strong attraction to water that many women have during labour. As well as discovering the practical advantages of water during the birthing process, he began to consider the meaning and importance of water as a symbol.

Water, Birth and Sexuality examines the living power of water and its erotic connotations. Odent evaluates what water meant in different cultures throughout history, through myths and legends, and what it means for us today: from an advertiser’s tool to a metaphor for aspects of the psyche. He also studies humanity’s special relationship to dolphins, and the related ‘aquatic ape’ theory. A practical section on the use of water during birth and in various therapies, particularly sex therapy, is included.

This edition of this classic work features a new Introduction.

MICHEL ODENT, born in 1930, qualified as a general surgeon. He is popularly known as the obstetrician who introduced the concepts of birthing pools and homelike birthing rooms at the maternity unit in Pithiviers (France) in the 1960s and ‘70s. His ongoing influential work in childbirth and health research has featured in TV documentaries such as the BBC’s ‘Birth Reborn’, and in authoritative medical journals. He created the Primal Health Research database and the website He is the author of 13 books (including the classics Birth and Breastfeeding and Primal Health) published in 22 languages, and author (or co-author) of 92 articles listed in

Published in the UK by Clairview Books, 7 April 2014

£10.99; 156 pp; 21.5 x 13.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781905570737