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135 Reviews
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136 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book - My go-to resource
For my first pregnancy, I read The Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Book, What to Expect, The Husband-Coached Childbirth, and this Penny Simkin book, Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn. This book had the best balance of stats based on evidenced based medicine but also real life anecdotal vignettes from mothers. Throughout the book, there are quotes from mothers sharing their...
Published on February 22, 2011 by Christine C.

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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful for childbirth, but that's it
If you're looking for a book to help with natural childbirth, this book could be helpful. However, if you were expecting to get a full nine months of pregnancy info look elsewhere. I thought this seemed like a great book because it included the big three time periods. However, the newborn section is mostly basic information and the pregnancy section really only focuses...
Published on June 17, 2011 by Megan


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136 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book - My go-to resource, February 22, 2011
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
For my first pregnancy, I read The Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Book, What to Expect, The Husband-Coached Childbirth, and this Penny Simkin book, Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn. This book had the best balance of stats based on evidenced based medicine but also real life anecdotal vignettes from mothers. Throughout the book, there are quotes from mothers sharing their expectations and experiences - these voices put into perspective that there is no one right way, just a few different options that might work for me.

For full disclosure, I approached this first pregnancy considering a natural childbirth but open to using drugs if needed. Since I come from a family of physicians I was skeptical of going too far off the holistic deep-end. I wanted to stay within a comfort zone that balanced following my body and practicing the best evidence-based medicine. After reading many Amazon reviews, I bought this book and was very very happy in its approach to preparing for and giving birth. The book does a great job of showing the range of options. For example, The book provides at least 3 sample birth plans ranging from mothers who wanted and epidural to mothers who wanted to give birth in a birthing center.

A potential con is if you're interested in week by week drawings of your little fetus and getting updates on what fruit or vegetable s/he is, then you'll need to augment this book with the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Book or sign up for Baby Center's week by week email. Penny Simkin's book will cover general fetus development and what you can expect in each phase of your pregnancy but invests much more in the types of proactive exercises you can be doing to prepare for the birthing process. There is also a section at the end on how to prepare for the newborn, breastfeed and other aspects of basic newborn care.

The book has simple pictures to illustrate techniques. My husband and I started about 2 months before our due date by spending 5-30 minutes each night practicing some of the suggested natural birthing management techniques. There were so many different techniques but the book did a great job of suggesting short routines so that we could work on a few techniques each night. It was great "us" time too!

In addition, there are also sections on possible interventions such as a c-section, different drug options, membrane stripping, etc. It was great to be exposed to these possibilities early on so that I could make the appropriate decision and refer back to the book as needed.

I highly recommend this book for people that are looking for a little more information on what you can do proactively as you're preparing for your childbirth. The book is supportive of both drug-assisted and drug-free deliveries. We lucked out and had a drug-free delivery - I really surprised myself! It was a fantastic experience and this book really helped me prepare.
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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything and More!, October 29, 2010
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
While looking through pregnancy books, I got tired of reading about how you got a second line, got sick, got fat, and squeezed out your "bundle of joy." What about the reality of the situation and how exactly that "bundle of joy" finds its way out of me and into this world?

I could not be happier with my purchase of this book. It starts with a few chapters on the typical progression of mother and baby during pregnancy. It includes exercise and diet tips (with pictures) for pregnant women. There is a chapter on complications during pregnancy as well as one on how to plan for a birth. Birth plans are discussed in good detail, as well as interview questions for your OB/Midwife/Doula. In fact, there are different lists for each of those. Although doulas are discussed, this book does not assume you will have either a medicated or a natural birth. Those decisions are left to you.

There are several chapters on labor and delivery. It was extremely informational to learn about the different "stages" and how they progress, as well as positions and situations to help ease the pain during each of these stages. I feel like I'm much more informed about labor now than with any other resource I've come across. Does the phrase "perineal stretches" sound familiar? It does now!

The final few chapters review what to do once the baby enters the world. How do you breastfeed? How do you position your child? How many times should you feed each day and how many wet/poopy diapers should you expect? What are some common causes for concern? Answers to all of these questions are provided, as well as illustrations for breastfeeding, holding your newborn, etc.

There are a few paragraphs scattered throughout this book for Dads, but this book is not geared directly towards men. I'm sure they would find it very informative, although the squeamish ones might shy away.

I give this book four thumbs up (two from me, two from my baby in utero). I finally feel like I am better informed. This book respects you as a mother and aims to give you information in a very easy readable format.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful for childbirth, but that's it, June 17, 2011
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Megan "M" (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
If you're looking for a book to help with natural childbirth, this book could be helpful. However, if you were expecting to get a full nine months of pregnancy info look elsewhere. I thought this seemed like a great book because it included the big three time periods. However, the newborn section is mostly basic information and the pregnancy section really only focuses on the last trimester. There's some info on the first 6 months, but I could have found all of that information online. During the section on the last trimester, it mostly talks about getting ready for childbirth, which is great, but doesn't really focus on what's happening at that moment. The childbirth section is great. Very useful and gives a lot of information on pain management techniques if you plan on going drug-free. It's not the greatest book, but it does have useful information. I think I'll pick up a different pregnancy book though.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive, just a little bit biased, December 18, 2011
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
I was recommended 'What to expect...' book, but bought this one after reading helpful Amazon reviews. (I am a dad, read this book to support my wife.) It indeed has a wealth of information. The author is obviously on the "natural" side, but does her best to overcome her bias and give full information. She succeeds most of the time. Just be aware that her "pro-natural-birth" arguments turn out slightly more convincing. Still I often went back to this book for comprehensive information.

My recommendation is like this. If you prefer natural birth, definitely buy this book! This will give you a lot of really helpful information, and convincing arguments to hold your ground against those who think otherwise. And, importantly, you'll know what to reserve to if the birth just does not occur naturally. (As it happened to my wife.)

If you are skeptic about natural birth, or prefer a balanced approach, you will still benefit a lot from this book. But make sure to read other sources, otherwise this book will draw you subtly to the author's view.

You may be sure it comprehensive and good quality information. Essential to first-time, or even experienced parents.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive and easy to read!, October 23, 2010
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
This book covers all the bases for first time moms and approaches interventions in childbirth in an unbiased way so that parents can come to their own decisions about mom and baby's care. I would highly recommend this book over What to Expect When Expecting!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as Third Edition, September 15, 2012
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
I relied heavily on the third edition for unmedicated labor info and support when expecting my first child, and purchased the revised edition when expecting my second. So much important and well-presented information was removed from the fourth edition! I was so disappointed as I expected all of the info in the third edition to be built upon in the fourth, not that it would be missing. The fourth edition glosses over so much, and too many of the most helpful and well-organized tables, charts, graphs, and illustrations from the third edition are missing. It's still a helpful resource for natural childbirth, but I highly recommend getting the third edition if you want more detailed information.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential!, September 21, 2010
This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
We were very fortunate in that we got to take our childbirth class from Penny Simkin. This book was used throughout and I can honestly say that I learned more from this book than I have from the 4 other books I purchased. It is laid out very well and easy to follow. Her use of sections and chapters makes it so that you can hop around. I have this book next to our couch so that whenever I have a question, I just pull it out.

It is truly one of the best pregnancy books I have owned.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in some ways, less if you are overweight and/or not into the natural stuff., April 23, 2012
This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
In many ways this is a good book. It has a lot of information about the kind of things you can expect, how to make decisions etc. It does give a brief overview of the process of pregnancy, without going into a lot of details that can weigh you down. It also has some useful information about various complications that can arise. In these senses, it's a pretty good book. However, there are also some issues.

The book does present a variety of options, including both the "medical" and "natural" approaches to pregnancy and childbirth. However, it doesn't do a very good job of being unbiased about them. Although it tries to seem objective, in reality it is quite judgemental towards those of us who want to give birth in a hospital, with an OB, and even - God forbid - an epidural. It gives information about these things, but it is done in a way that implies those are not good options.

For example, when giving a list of questions to ask during a hospital tour or a childbirth preparation class, they stress asking about whether they support "natural pain relief methods," but don't include the question "will you be able to provide an epidural." Having recently encountered a situation where someone was told that actually she would not, in fact, be able to get an epidural in a specific location - this could be an issue for some of us.

I also think there is another issue with this book: overall, it tries to be very inclusive and respectful. It includes information about same-sex couples, single parents, pregnancy with a history of abuse in the family etc. However, one area that it does a very poor job on is pregnancy for obese women. In the section on weight during pregnancy it just says "you should try to keep a healthy weight during pregnancy" but doesn't discuss what to do if you are overweight. In other parts of the book it consistently mentions the risks related to obesity and pregnancy, but makes no effort to put this in perspective, to offer any support or to give any helpful advice. Given that a very large percentage of American pregnant women are obese or seriously overweight, this omission is really a problem. I ended up complementing this book with "Your plus size pregnancy", which was a good resource for my situation. However, I think that a book that tries to be inclusive should do a better job of addressing a concern that a lot of women have in a way that is not just a list of risks and problems.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great reference for pregnancy, labor, and first months of motherhood, July 26, 2011
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
This book was used as the text for my pregnancy and childbirth class -- taught by a practicing doula. It's very different from other standard pregnancy books like "What to Expect..." or "Your Pregnancy Week by Week"-- and I think it's a great addition. Whereas the other books talk you through your pregnancy symptoms and your baby's development at a much finer level of detail (and with lots of fruit and vegetable analogies), this book is much more focused on understanding the child birth process and talking you through the weeks after birth.

If you're looking at a Penny Simkin book, you may be at least considering an unmedicated birth. If that's the case, this book is invaluable. I gave birth at home surrounded by a team of midwives, but was able to rely primarily on my husband for support in dealing with labor pain thanks to all of the helpful labor coping techniques he learned in the book. (We both read it.)

The book also provides objective information (without inflammatory language) about various types of labor interventions and methods of induction (even not so common ones used by midwives), as well as a handy table with objective information on vaccinations and commonly associated risks. I took it with me for all of our early vaccine appointments with the pediatrician.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good- caters to natural (homeopathic) as well as medical, August 10, 2012
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This review is from: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide (Paperback)
My wife (25 yr) was born in a living room. So was her 2 siblings. Her neice/nephew were born in a living room. She never had shots until 19. Never had health insurance. She's healthy, fit and carying our first. I personally work in a hospital laboratory, was born in a hospital and had alllll the shots and drugs you could take growing up. I'm really OK with both views (some are not).

This book really provokes a lot of questions and doesn't TELL you what you HAVE TO DO OR YOU'LL DIE (like the medical community insists). It walks through a lot of the different options are things to consider.

It's so good. It isn't scary or wierd. I have not read the whole thing yet, but I've read enough to stand by the 5 star rating.

It's really blessed our pregnancy so far.
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Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide
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