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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth Paperback – March 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this third spin-off of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the self-described women's health "bible" first published in the 1970s, the Boston Women's Health Book Collective focuses on pregnancy, birth and recovery. This book will help women make confident and informed choices about the birth process as they negotiate the healthcare system and balance their options. The chapters are arranged chronologically along the journey into motherhood, with useful sections on the physical and emotional changes of each trimester, fetal development and prenatal testing. Other topics include choosing a healthcare provider, prenatal testing, labor, pain management, recovery, breastfeeding, emotional ups and downs and many other issues. The text is interspersed with pertinent personal narratives, as well as with more than 70 black and white photos and illustrations; the emphasis is on up-to-date information, probing the use-and overuse-of various practices and medical interventions. "Informing yourself about these practices and their alternatives," the editors write, "is an essential step toward creating a better birth experience for yourself and your baby." This comprehensive guide is sure to take its rightful place among its sister titles, empowering a new generation of expectant mothers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The trusted Boston Women's Health Book Collective has written a comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date book for expectant mothers. It balances important facts, scientific data, and evidence with the voice of the 'wise woman,' and it provides questions to ask, issues to think about, and options to consider and discuss. This is the #1 book I am going to recommend to my patients."

-- Timothy R. B. Johnson, MD, FACOG, Bates Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor ofWomen's Studies, University of Michigan

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743274865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743274869
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By AW on April 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all the books on pregnancy I've read, this one has been the most reassuring. As another reviewer mentioned, it's written in the same styles Our Bodies, Ourselves, which remains excellent through its many editions. It's not an especially thick book, and I would have loved to have seen more pictures, and personal excerpts, but everything important was covered, and the writing style was wonderful.

This book addresses itself to older women, teen mothers, single mothers, those with female partners, those living with diseases like HIV and diabetes; in short, all of the groups who got snubbed by most of the other books. It doesn't tell you how much weight the fetus should gain in each month, but that information's easy to find elsewhere. It does focus on making informed decisions about prenatal care, pain management, and maternal/fetal health, without talking down to the reader. Issues where there is normally controversy were handled gently; breastfeeding is encouraged, but formula feeding mothers aren't judged.

It's worth noting that the book does address some topics that may be upsetting, such as choosing to abort a fetus because of genetic testing, and stillbirth. These issues are very relevant, and handled calmly, but some chapters may be best skipped by the hormonal. I was glad to see that problems like depression took precedence over heartburn, and that a huge resources section was provided at the back of the book.

Highly recommended, and will be on my gift list for friends as they have their children. I don't want to give my copy up.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By feminaformosa VINE VOICE on April 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
My biggest complaint about the book is that I felt it didn't give as much information on pregnancy as I wanted. You will not find the eating guides, week-by-week guidelines, and in-depth information on what to expect, and what to worry about or not worry about, beyond the obvious things like smoking. I do not feel that this book alone is adequate to fill all my pregnancy information needs, and I would need to get another book to fill in the gaps.

That said, this book has a lot of great information that I have not seen elsewhere, and a tone that is very welcoming and inclusive. This book does not assume that all pregnant women are in committed, heterosexual relationships, or that they have planned their pregnancy down to the minutia. It also does not assume that its readers come from an educated, middle/upper class background. This can be both good and bad, assuming on your point of view. The good is that the book takes a lot of very good scientific references (listed at the end of each chapter, and also at the end of the book) and distills them into chapters that are easy to understand and comprehend, without the condescending tone that other books take ("Is this bite the VERY BEST bite for your baby"? etc.). The book also covers certain delicate areas that other pregnancy books tend to avoid or only provide a cursory sidebar mention about- like the emotions you may feel surrounding motherhood if you were sexually abused as a child, or what you may be going through if you want to terminate your pregnancy because a prenatal test came back positive for a genetic disorder. The bad is that if you do come from an educated middle/upper class background, you may find some of the information overly simplistic and/or not relevant to your particular circumstance.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Molly on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many women view the book Our Bodies, Ourselves as an essential women's health resource and also as a radically transformative influence in their lives. I hope Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth will become to pregnant women what the original book has been to women's health and empowerment.

The book is divided into five major sections: The Journey to Parenthood; Your Pregnancy; Giving Birth; Becoming a Mother; and Knowledge is Power. Subsections include an extensive chapter on prenatal testing and other important areas such as childbearing loss, coping with pain, and breastfeeding. A chapter titled "Relationships, Sex, and Emotional Support" was a particularly good one. The book has numerous contributing authors from a variety of backgrounds and organizations. Sprinkled throughout the book are italicized snippets of anonymous birth stories, often paired statements--i.e. an "I loved being pregnant!" segment and an "I hated being pregnant" segment. Then, inset into each chapter in box format, there are more complete stories or profiles that include women's names and photos. Overall, the book has very few pictures and only one series of photos of a woman actually giving birth (and she is in the semi-sitting position).

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth is one of the only basic pregnancy books I've ever read that acknowledges the reality of violence against women during pregnancy and offers resources for seeking help if you are living with a violent mate. This book is also willing to address some unpopular or largely ignored subjects such as depression during pregnancy, HIV, STDS, and sexual abuse.
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