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The Best Birth: Your Guide to the Safest, Healthiest, Most Satisfying Labor and Delivery Paperback – April 22, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738211214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738211213
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Oxygen""From coping with your pain during labor to providing tools for expectant fathers, "The Best Birth" is your guide to a safe and healthy labor and delivery...Provides practical advice, such as letting you know who you'll need on your medical team and what to pack in your hospital bag."

About the Author

Sarah McMoyler, R.N., has over twenty years of experience delivering babies and thirteen years of teaching childbirth preparation in the San Francisco Bay area. She is a mother of two.

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Customer Reviews

I really found this book to be extremely helpful.
C. McIntyre
Ultimately, this book is empowering: knowing some of the hard facts of childbirth and birthing in hospitals will allow women to make the best informed choices.
S. Matteo
One of the main problems I have with this book is that the author is either uninformed or has purposely given misinformation.
Julie C. Leonardo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By S. Matteo on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a midwife who practices in a hospital, but who also believes that women deserve a greater range of birthing choices than most typically have in America today, I find McMoyler's book to be a reality-based approach to hospital births. A woman SHOULD trust her doctor or midwife and labor nurses because she SHOULD have exercised her right to choose the person and place that best aligns with her philosophy of birthing. Not all doctors or midwives or hospitals are like, but if she has done her research fully (checked the stats and gotten satisfactory answers to tough questions), she will pick the appropriate person and place for her. Whether she desires an unmedicated birth or is certain she would like an epidural, McMoyler's explanations for position changes to move labor along and vocalization for coping with pain are proven through experience. Her emphasis on partner education and commitment to be the best labor support are also important (and set up the importance of partner support postpartum as well (I don't think she is negating doulas)). No woman should feel guilty about the way she births: every birth is unique and unpredictable and the best births are a dialogue between the woman and her attendants where every one has the goal of "healthy mom, healthy baby". Flexibility is a very important attribute of parenting, even in labor. Ultimately, this book is empowering: knowing some of the hard facts of childbirth and birthing in hospitals will allow women to make the best informed choices.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JDavis on March 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I write this review at 35 weeks pregnant. Like many people searching for a birthing book, I am freaking out about the impending due date.

There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to birthing babies:

1. Doulas, all natural, birthing tub in your living room, no medical intervention, fully integrate the husband/ partner in the birthing process.

2. In the hospital, hooked up to an IV, paralyzed by the epidural, and slashed open (either by c-section or epistomotomy).

In my opinion, neither option is particularly pleasant. And there is no middle ground. You have to choose.

Sarah's book is for those who choose #2. This book helps you to prepare to be a patient. It sets expectations. And it helps women have an accurate, realistic portrayal of what their experience in likely to be. And yes, she encourages you to surrender to your OB & the other doctors in the hospital.

If you choose #1, you should read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, which is anti-OB and anti-hospital.
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful By D. Samson on May 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I think the one-star reviews are too harsh and they miss the essence of what the author is getting at.

Here's my clumsy paraphrase of what I think the author is advocating.

Births, especially for first-time moms, are unpredictable events. If you write your birth plan in concrete, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. The author suggests that you form a strong bond with your husband (partner), make sure he understands your desires and can zealously advocate on your behalf. A seven-page written birth plan presented to the OB triage nurse is a soliloquy, not a dialogue. You've got to have a dialogue with your healthcare providers. At the end of the day, you can't anticipate every eventuality. Having had a dialogue with your healthcare providers, you've hopefully built a relationship of trust, that will allow you, to allow them, to exercise their good judgement on your behalf when the birth presents challenges you had not expected.

At the end of the day, the author is not preaching patient compliance, she's preaching flexibility and open-mindedness. Not just good advice for birth, but good for child rearing too.

This is a very helpful book with lots of good specific advice and good clinical descriptions of the birth process and all of the interventions and therapies you may encounter at the hospital.
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52 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Batacan on July 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a certified and experienced childbirth educator and doula, I have a lot of concerns about this book. Probably the biggest concern I have is the philosophy of trusting in our current maternity care system that is placing our U.S. infant mortality rate in 32nd place world-wide, rising maternal mortality rates and the risk of leaving the hospital with a cesarean scar - the highest in history (nearly one in every three births). Personally, I will trust the system when the U.S. is in the top 5. For all the money we spend, we should be #1.

When Ms. McMoyler encourages us to learn to navigate the traditional healthcare [maternity care] system and to make "informed" decisions, she is suggesting that we become compliant and...obedient. However, far too often I witness out dated and non evidence-based information given to women regarding their labor, birth and lactation by the "licensed medical professional". This book does not fill that information gap nor, in my opinion, does one six hour class.

Despite the overwhelming research that finds that doulas lower intervention rates (including Cesarean Section) and improve breastfeeding rates as well as birth satisfaction, Ms. McMoyler advises "why I suggest that you don't" hire a doula. She describes doulas as "trendy", apparently forgetting that women supporting women in birth is a centuries old tradition.

I agree with her statement that birth is unpredictable. Not just the first birth, but every birth. Seeing the woman you love in labor can be frightening to most fathers or other companions. It is unrealistic to expect the father to be able to "guide and reassure" when this is the first birth he has witnessed. That fear can be eased by the presence of a doula.
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