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The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library) Paperback – February 1, 1994

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Editorial Reviews Review

In The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth, William and Martha Sears, authors of The Baby Book and creators of the concept of "attachment parenting," here turn their attention to the birth experience. In this helpful resource guide, the Searses cover the gamut of possibilities, and teach readers what they need to know to take control of their own birthings. The Birth Book is divided into three parts: "Preparing for Birth," "Easing Pain in Labor," and "Experiencing Birth." You'll find details about vaginal births; cesareans; VBACs; water births; home births; best birthing positions; drugs; pain; how to design your own birth plan; the humor, chemistry, and sexuality of birth; and pages and pages of birth stories.

From Publishers Weekly

This guide will do more for new parents than a pacifier will for a newborn. It is a comprehensive, soothing work which will ease the fears and anxieties that explode during a pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. The Searses ( The Baby Book )--he a pediatrician and professor at the University of Southern California's School of Medicine; she a childbirth and labor expert--are themselves the parents of eight children. They explain clearly and reassuringly the array of options available to pregnant couples, from what to consider when selecting a birthing team and environment and how technology can be a mixed blessing during pregnancy to having a VDAC (a vaginal delivery after having had a Caesarean birth). The book's philosophy is that delivering a baby is often an event that parents are more caught up with than the end-product--the baby. But the book offers more than philosophy. It gives men practical advice on how to survive the changes, both emotional and physical, that arrive with impending parenthood. There are quick-reference charts on the medical tests commonly ordered by physicians during pregnancy, contraction timing and the stages of labor. The final chapter is devoted to 14 birth stories which illustrate how labor and delivery are different for each woman. While no two experiences are alike, all illustrate the importance of making conscious choices about the birth of one's child.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sears Parenting Library
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316779075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316779074
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 151 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is for all the women out there who have ever felt some mild anxiety all the way to a wrenching fear about the childbirth process. Dr. Sears and his wife Martha Sears, RN give readers a brief history of childbirth practices, they discuss the myths and fears surrounding birth, and then come full circle to help women understand that childbirth is a natural process. The Sears' articulate that many of today's complications of childbirth are related to the overuse of medical interventions and not enough education about the birth process itself. Although the Sears' advocate for drug free childbirth and as few interventions as medically needed, The Birth Book provides readers with the information that a woman (and her partner) need to make their own wise and individual informed decisions about medical treatments during childbirth. I found the book very empowering. I choose to have my baby at a hospital with my family practicioner and because of the information I gl! eaned from The Birth Book I was able to feel good about the many decisions I had to make surrounding my baby's birth. Many hospitals and doctors have a set of "standard procedures" for birth but I found my doctor and the hospital both were willing to work with my preferences because I was informed about the decisions I was making. Some of the decisions in my baby's birth included not to induce my labor (I went 11 days overdue), to decline the use of pitocin to "speed" my labor when it did come, to ask for pain relief when I needed it, to request not to have an episiotomy and to labor and deliver in the position of my choice. As a result, I had a wonderful (and yes, intense) first birth. Although I fully realize every woman and every labor is different, I believe that my birth experience was definately influenced positively by being educated about technologies, making informed decisions, and trusting my own body. This book helped me to do all those thi! ngs.
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213 of 226 people found the following review helpful By SAHM on December 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm a mother of two, a critical RN and certainly not a Luddite. If I had to choose one book to have prior to the birth of my first child, this one would be it. (I'm here to buy one for a family member as a gift, I already own this book!)
I could write my own book with my thoughts and feelings about childbirth, childbirth prepartion, and postpartum recovery. I'll just say this,however...
Childbirth hurts. Take all of the classes, read the books, get drugs, it still hurts. Go to a hospital and expect them to hold your hand during labour and you'll be disappointed, they're too busy to do that. Have someone there with you to support you through the whole thing. Preferably at least one person that has done this before. Could be a doula, could be your best friend or mother... Interventions DO lead to more interventions. Less is better for the birth, the mother,the baby and your recovery (I've done both types). If you can swing less, do that.
Reading books like these, taking classes to practice positioning techniques and exercising your body actually does HELP. Having some ideas on things to try when the going gets rough HELPS. Not everything will work for everyone,but many things will work or at least help you cope. Everyone should be prepared for natural childbirth, regardless of whether or not they are planning to have drugs, even major ones. You can't get an epidural until you are at least four cm or it can stop your labour. I wasn't four cm with my first child until I was 24 hours into labour. And both times I tried an epidural, and it didn't take the first time at all, only took partially the second time. The only type of medication that will give you total relief from childbirth discomfort is general anesthesia.
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Manske on August 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have to STRONGLY disagree with other reviews that this book guilts you into a natural childbirth. The book is filled with examples of women who chose epidurals and other intervention and had satisfying births.

The overwhelming theme in this book is that it is the expectant parents' responsibility to educate themselves about their choices in childbirth, discuss their wishes with their caregiver, and write a birth plan to help convey these wishes to hospital staff (if they chose hospital birth). The Sears believe that if the parents are the ones making the informed decisions, rather than having decisions made for them, they will have a joyful, beautiful start to their family.

The Sears clearly lay out the benefits of natural childbirth, and do discuss in detail the risks of the various tests and interventions, as well as when they are justified. My favorite part is in the back, where mothers and fathers have submitted their birth stories. It is wonderful to read first-hand accounts of the emotions and sensations of birth. As I said, all kinds of births are included: planned C-sections, home births, epidurals, birth centers, high risk, etc. What is emphasized is that when the parents are informed and able to make their own choices, they are at peace with the outcome. It is when the parents feel that their wishes were not respected or that risks and options were not explained to them that they feel angry and bitter at their caregivers.

This is a great read for parents who know they want natural childbirth and for parents who want to consider it. You will never regret knowing your options. The birth and the child are your responsibility. It can be a time of joy and empowerment or a time of fear and helplessness. Having those choices, wouldn't you choose the former?
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