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Epidural Without Guilt: Childbirth Without Pain Paperback – November 25, 2010

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Epidural Without Guilt: Childbirth Without Pain + Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth + Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Russell Hastings Press; First edition (November 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975993933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975993934
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This slim paperback should be required reading for pregnant women. Few books get this detailed about epidural pain relief, and it is such important information for women to have as they consider their options during childbirth. --Library Journal, Oct 1, 2010

About the Author

Dr. Gilbert J. Grant is Director of Obstetric Anesthesia at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Grant has continuously been engaged in clinical and laboratory research focused on improving patient care. He was an active participant in the changeover from the “old-fashioned” epidural in vogue at the beginning of his career to the walking “walking” epidural he now routinely administers. Since 1989 he has worked on developing an ultra-long-acting local anesthetic designed to provide sustained pain relief. Dr. Grant has published numerous scientific papers and chapters for medical textbooks, and he lectures at educational institutions and scientific meetings in the United States and abroad.

More About the Author

I have been practicing anesthesiology for 25 years, and I've been the Director of Obstetric Anesthesia at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City for nearly 20 years, providing pain relief to women having babies. I have found that many women are quite concerned both about the pain that will accompany delivery and the methods used to relieve the pain. But it's not so simple to find accurate, up-to-date information about epidurals and spinals. I wrote "Epidural Without Guilt" to make important information about state-of-the-art pain relief techniques for childbirth available to the public.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Garcia on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just read Epidural without Guilt. It is an incredibly informative book. It's a fast and easy read, but don't let that fool you, it is packed full of information. I'm passing mine to my friend who's due any second. It really helped me figure out how to try to avoid the itching and vomiting I had post my scheduled c/s, and gave me some things to discuss with the doc at my next birth, also a scheduled c/s, like I am really interested in having a epidural and spinal combo, with the spinal for the surgery and the epidural with PCEA pain relief through the Epidural line for post surgical pain.

A recurring theme in this book is to be an empowered patient. Risks and benefits are discussed. Nowhere does he imply that the idea of relieving pain in for the staff's comfort, rather for the mother, baby, and partners. Myths and half truths that exist in the popular culture are debunked. Information about the epidurals and spinals used TODAY are discussed, comparing them to the ones used 20 years ago, where many child birth educators still teach as if those are used today.

Before you judge this book, please actually read it. However I believe the negative reviews will continue based on people with a bias against women obtaining pain relief in labor. It would never be a question that anyone undergoing dental surgery would receive pain relief, however women are expected to labor without pain relief based on superstitions and half truths.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Susannah Merrill on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just kidding, folks.

I reviewed this book as a birth professional. I'm a doula and it's important to me to fully understand all the choices laboring women might make, so I can support them come hell or high water. This book delivers solid information and Dr. Grant very obviously cares about his patients, which goes a long way with me. Epidurals definitely can be amazing, wonderful miracles of modern medicine(they are the very model!), and since the majority of laboring women choose to have them, both mothers-to-be and birth professionals should know the facts about them. Bravo, Dr. Grant!

That being said, I felt that he overlooked the fact that natural childbirth is a valid choice for many women. Labor is such a different thing for different people that his comparisons of contractions to having teeth drilled or having surgery is really meaningless. Although he emphasized that it was a woman's choice, I felt that the whole tone of the book lent itself to "Sure, you COULD have a natural birth- but why would you ever want to??" I appreciate his emphasis on the safety of epidurals for both mother and baby, but it's not just about safety and it's not just about pain.

More importantly, his terminology regarding delivery really bothered me. He consistently described laboring women as "assisting" the obstetrician or midwife, and as "participating" in their birth. This language is not appropriate, even when a woman is numb from the waist down. It reduces the mother, when, in fact, she is the one whom the obstetrician is assisting. Not participating in the birth is not a choice for her, although not complying with a doctor's requests is. I would hope that there would be a second, expanded edition of this book, and that this language would be changed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By mrslychee on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
For my first child's birth, I had the good fortune to have Dr. Grant as my anesthesiologist (whom I had never met before). I had been "holding out" against pain medication for a variety of reasons, primarily because I didn't want to stall labor and due to the litany of reasons that are cited against epidurals (you can't walk around! you need to wait until you are 5 cm dilated! you will increase your c-section risk! maybe the baby gets exposed to medicine! you might get an awful headache! you can nick your spinal cord and become paralyzed!!!). After many hours of labor, powerful contractions, no sleep, no dilation, etc etc. I couldn't take it anymore, and I opted for the epidural.

Honestly, if I had read this book FIRST I wouldn't have been in such agony of the decision to have one. When I was looking for information on epidurals and pain-relief in childbirth, I found a dearth of information - at least of accurate, up-to-date information. Most of the stuff you hear out there (see my litany above) is outdated, incorrect, or exaggerated. I actually sat in bed after the epidural and read his previous book, and, in preparation for my second child, I have read this one as an update. Much of the information he presented was all new to me, despite believing I was going into childbirth eyes wide open. I especially like that he addresses what may be the implications of NOT having pain-relief.

If you are looking for a rational approach to pain-relief and accurate medical information, along with an unbiased portrait of the risks and rewards of pain-relief, this is for you. Dr. Grant does not diminish women, as some posters have implicated. Quite the contrary.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By NJ on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have spent most of my life being told that getting an epidural is the "weak" and "unnatural" way out, and that only a crazy woman would be willing to undergo the risk of having a needle stuck in her spine just to have an easier labor. Until reading this book, it never occurred to me that this opinion could be considered just as anti-feminist as pro-feminist!

I appreciate that there are two equally valid sides to the epidural argument, and I have a lot of respect for women who choose to go through labor without anesthesia. As a logical person, though, I knew there had to be good medical reasons in support of an epidural as well, and this book helped me understand the other side of the story.

Having both read this very informative book and also spoken to people who have opinions on either side of the fence, I feel like I am finally well informed enough to make *my own* decision for my labor. As my OB told me, I won't know what labor will be like for me until I go through it, and that will be the best time for me to decide what I want rather than agonize over it now (perhaps only to change my mind then). I'm grateful to Dr. Grant for writing a book that has truly helped me feel good about my decision either way.
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