In 1969, a group of women came together to talk about their bodies and their lives. Frustrated by how little they knew, they set out to learn more. In 1970, they published a 193-page course book on stapled newsprint titled Women and Their Bodies. The book was revolutionary for its frank talk about sexuality and relationships and its critique of the overwhelmingly male medical system.

From 1971 to 2011, “Our Bodies, Ourselves” was revised and updated eight times and two single topic books were published: “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause” and “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth.”

The Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) organization also produced several Spanish language texts, and global women’s groups around the world adapted “Our Bodies, Ourselves” into many different languages. In addition, some of the founders collaborated on other books related to women’s health, including a book for teenagers and another about aging.

“Our Bodies, Ourselves” has long been referred to as the “women’s health bible” and has sold more than 4 million copies. Currently there are no plans for another print edition.

Learn more about each book:

Our Bodies, Ourselves (2011) 

This edition — the most recent one — focuses on women’s reproductive health and sexuality. It includes dozens of personal stories and essential, up-to-date information about gender identity, sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, pregnancy and birth, perimenopause, menopause, health issues such as breast and ovarian cancers, and sexuality and sexual health as we age.

To find out more:

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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth (2008)

Pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy processes for most women, the vast majority of whom have healthy pregnancies and babies. Yet childbirth is often seen as an unbearably painful, risky process to be managed in a hospital with the use of many tests, drugs, and procedures. This book presents the best available evidence about the advantages and disadvantages of a range of practices, from epidurals to episiotomies, and explores options for improving birth experiences and outcomes.

Our Bodies Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause (2006)

This book provides an analysis of the social, cultural, and political forces that influence and affect women’s experiences with menopause, dispels menopause myths, and provides crucial information that women can use to take control of their own health and get the best care possible.

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Spanish Language Texts

De Camino a la Maternidad (2006)

Esta guía en español cubre temas como la atención prenatal, el desarrollo fetal, la nutrición y el estilo de vida, las pruebas de diagnóstico, la lactancia materna, el trabajo de parto y el nacimiento, la atención posparto y la salud del recién nacido.

This Spanish language guide covers such topics as prenatal care, fetal development, nutrition and lifestyle, diagnostic tests, breastfeeding, labor and birth, postpartum care, and newborn health.

De camino a la maternidad

Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas (2000)

La adaptación en español de “Our Bodies, Ourselves” fue creada específicamente por y para mujeres latinas en todo el continente americano.

Cover of Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas (2000)

Guía de Capacitación para Promotoras de Salud (2002)

Esta guía de capacitación para promotoras de salud entre pares se basa en “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas,” la adaptación cultural en español de “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

This peer health-educator (promotoras de salud) training guide is based on “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas,” the Spanish language cultural adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

cover of Guia de Capacitacion para Promotoras de Salud (2002)

Other Health Books by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective and OBOS Founders

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives (1998)

The book gives teens a thoughtful, empathetic and personal look at sex, relationships and the many ways puberty affects their emotional and physical health.

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives (cover, 1998)

Sacrificing Our Selves for Love (1996)

Many women and girls risk health and well-being in order to please others. In an unflinching look at this pervasive problem, this book explains society’s role in promoting such sacrifice and provides exercises to counter societal pressure.

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Ourselves, Growing Older (1994)

This book explores physical and emotional health and social well-being of midlife and older women.

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Ourselves and Our Children (1978)

How does being a parent interweave with the rest of your life — with your own childhood, your work, your relationships, yours social and political concerns, your sense of yourself? How does society shape your experience for better or worse? This book focuses on the lives and the needs of parents.

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