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The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line Hardcover – April 16, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451636083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451636086
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers who are skeptical about mainstream medicine will love this book. Margulis, a journalist with a PhD in English and four children, begins her story with some scary-sounding facts: Every year more than 700 U.S. women die in childbirth, more than 25,000 of 4.3 million U.S. babies born each year will die before they turn one, and eight out of 1,000 U.S. infants will not live to age five. Margulis raises many valid questions: Why do more than 1.4 million U.S. women each year give birth via cesarean section? Why do U.S. dads often get no time off from work after the birth of a baby when fathers in Norway get 12 weeks of parental leave at full pay? She also asks whether doctors make too many of their decisions based on the profit motive. Unfortunately, she may unnecessarily alarm some pregnant moms about everything from vaccines (she particularly dislikes giving the hepatitis B immunizationto newborns) to ultrasounds (she cites a hypothesis that they may trigger autism). It’s not a balanced book, but it is a thought-provoking one that will motivate women to ask why before blindly agreeing to everything their doctor orders. --Karen Springen


“Pregnancy and childbirth are wildly vulnerable times, and one is desperate to put one's faith in the doctor. Jennifer Margulis reveals why that trust is sometimes misplaced, and helps us to make wise choices when the stakes are high. This is a must-read book for parents and parents-to-be,and for the medical professionals who care for us.” (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. author of The Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules)

"A new mother's first instinct is to protect her newborn. But how can she best do that in a consumer culture so focused on its bottom line? The Business of Baby exposes some hard and shocking facts about how even the most well-meaning American parents unwittingly buy into systems that do documented harm. Thought-provoking and exhaustively researched, this book is destined to inspire much-needed dialogue about the current American way of birthing and caring for our young." (Hope Edelman bestselling author of Motherless Daughters)

“Jennifer Margulis's searing and well-researched exposé is a must-read for expectant mothers. Whether she is discussing common obstetric practices, circumcision, vaccination, breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, diapering, or choosing a pediatrician, she points the way to rational, health-based decision-making.” (Ina May Gaskin)

“Worthyof close consideration by parents.” (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

She is not pulling facts and information out of the air, this is a very well researched book.
dreaming of the sun
If you like conspiracy theories based on authors personal opinion instead of evidence based practice then this book is for you.
I'm really concerned about women reading this book who just take it all in without any critical thinking.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

393 of 532 people found the following review helpful By Alexis Coxon VINE VOICE on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
There is a great need for an incisive look at all sides of modern maternity care in the United States, because -- let's face it -- we all know it's not perfect. This, however, is not that book.

While Margulis' book is touted as "an eye-opening work of investigative journalism" and based on "meticulous research," the fact is, it's just another book advocating natural childbirth and demonizing doctors and hospitals. If that's what you're looking for, have at it, but don't read this expecting an objective look of any sort. Margulis was the subject of several stories about her unattended childbirth (with no midwife or OB present), which already puts her at the fringe of the natural birth movement. Her husband, James Di Properzio, is on the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery.

Among disturbing and/or bizarre things I noted, just in the first chapter:

* Margulis lists "scary-sounding" ingredients in prenatal vitamins, then fails to actually investigate whether or not they're safe. One, for example, is sodium benzoate -- a very widely used food preservative.

* In a list of facts and figures, Margulis adds up the cost of a nine-month supply of prenatal vitamins and then compares it to the cost of ONE bunch of kale. (Does it follow that one bunch of kale will provide all needed nutrition for nine months? Because one nutrition database I checked shows one cup of kale provides a mere 5 percent of the RDA for folate.)

* Margulis calls the glucose test (basically, drinking an overly sweet beverage and then getting your blood drawn) "one of the most unpleasant prenatal tests." Really? I mean, if that's her view of a syrupy drink, stubbing her toe must seem positively apocalyptic.
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204 of 288 people found the following review helpful By roy tirakayos on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was rather disappointed to read Mrs Margulis book. I fou d it lacking real research and ended ing up being nothing else but an opinion piece. The one sided argument leaves you wondering how much did she leave out....
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190 of 270 people found the following review helpful By M.H. on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is garbage. Shame on the author for her shoddy, biased journalism and junk "science," and shame on Scribner for publishing this "shockingly irresponsible" book - as it was described by the New York Times. In fact, in lieu of my own review, I will include the NY Times book review here; it is spot-on and worded far better than my own would be anyway. PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU BUY THIS CRAP! The dangerously misinformed and paranoid chapter on vaccines is the worst offender, including many unsubstantiated and even blatantly false statements, as the review below describes.

REVIEW: `The Business of Baby,' by Jennifer Margulis

"Americans, you may have noticed, live in a capitalist society. In practical terms, this means someone is often trying to sell us something. John Updike saw a kind of glory in this: "America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy," he wrote. Jennifer Margulis sees a vast conspiracy too, only its purpose is to make you miserable, sick and quite possibly dead, especially if you are a pregnant woman or a new mother.

"In "The Business of Baby," Margulis, a journalist and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, recounts a range of horror stories, from expectant mothers "told to drink an unnaturally sweet and horrible-tasting syrupy beverage" as part of a test for gestational diabetes to women who die after a botched Caesarean section or from an embolism after doctor-ordered bed rest. From start to finish, in ways small and large, the process of having a baby is portrayed as one of humiliation, helplessness and fear on the part of women, and mendacity, greed and contempt on the part of doctors, nurses and anyone employed by companies that make diapers, formula or vaccines.
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265 of 379 people found the following review helpful By S. Herlihy on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the book a few days ago and read it yesterday.

The book is terrible. Horrible. Dreadful. Margulis fills the thing with unbacked assertions not real research. It is almost unbelieveable that she is a celebrated journalism fellow at one of America's best universities.

The chapter on vaccines is probably her worst bit. Pages and pages and pages of sheer misinformation. The author pats herself on the back over and over and over again while writing paragraph after paragraph of lies about the subject.

Ms. Margulis's primary tactic is to quote well known anti-vax critics without identifying them as such. Such critics often have a vested financial interest in anti-vaccine actions. People like Lyn Redwood are interviewed at length without mentioning that Redwood founded an organization dedicated to the false assertion that autism is mercury poisoining and that she wants to sue the pharm companies because Ms. Redwood is falsely convinced vaccines are the source of her son's autism. Margulis lovingly quotes Dr. Sears even though his arguments against vaccines or in favor of delayed vaccine schedule have no basis in fact. Same with Barbara Loe Fisher, a notorious anti-vax liar.

Typical of her tactics are her arguments against the hep b vaccine. The vaccine is given in the US for a variety of reasons including the fact that we have a large Asian population and the disease is rampant in Asian countries unfortunately. She neglects to point that that hep b is over 50 times as infectious as HIV, can linger on surfaces for up to a week and is far more dangerous the younger you get it. She's done this multiple times in the past even though efforts have been made to correct her misunderstanding of this subject.
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