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218 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Important Information for Birthing Couples
This is the best book I've ever seen in regards to condensing current research on childbirth into readable and understandable terms. The author gives clear and concise descriptions of various OB procedures and interventions that are easy to follow. She gives pros and cons of each [working within her own bias, which she does freely admit]. I think this would be an...
Published on July 31, 2001 by Kelly

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133 of 143 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Information- A Few Drawbacks
Although I expected a natural birth perspective (which I share), I was disappointed in the book's overwhelmingly negative tone toward OB's. I would have prefered a balanced, relatively objective discussion. I expected it from a book called The Thinking Womans Guide.... If the stats are so glaring, a balanced discussion is better than dogmatics.
This is an...
Published on June 8, 2003 by leslie-olson


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218 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Important Information for Birthing Couples, July 31, 2001
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This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
This is the best book I've ever seen in regards to condensing current research on childbirth into readable and understandable terms. The author gives clear and concise descriptions of various OB procedures and interventions that are easy to follow. She gives pros and cons of each [working within her own bias, which she does freely admit]. I think this would be an excellent book for any couple expecting an uncomplicated birth to read. This is information that every pregnant woman *should* have access to in order to make good decisions.
However, there is definitely an anti-OB bias [which the author admits] and this isn't a book designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about a hospital birth. Be aware of that going into this - the author raises very important but possibly disturbing points for those planning a hospital birth with an Obstetrician in attendance.
My only dissappointment with the book is that there was no chapter on assisted delivery [vacuum cap and forceps]. I would very much have liked to see a chapter on the pros and cons of these common procedures and their safety for mother and baby. There is only one page that has a small bit of information on this, but no extensive discussion or gathering of the research data available. It seems a glaring omission from an otherwise excellent and complete book.
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133 of 143 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Information- A Few Drawbacks, June 8, 2003
By 
"leslie-olson" (Ft Pierce, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
Although I expected a natural birth perspective (which I share), I was disappointed in the book's overwhelmingly negative tone toward OB's. I would have prefered a balanced, relatively objective discussion. I expected it from a book called The Thinking Womans Guide.... If the stats are so glaring, a balanced discussion is better than dogmatics.
This is an excellent book for those who have decided to give birth naturally. It is not one to recommend to friends to help them make the decision about their birth. It will turn many women off. A better book for an introduction to the benefits of natural birth and the drawbacks of managed care is Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an "All Approaches to Birth are Equal" Book, August 12, 2007
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This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
You will NOT like this book if you're looking for a book that presents all options as being equal. You will not read, "When it comes to giving birth, you could do "A." That's a great choice. Or you could do "B," which is just as good. And then there's "C", and if you choose to give birth that way, well that's as good as "A" or "B"." Do not buy this book if you want all your "options" laid out as perfectly equal and beneficial choices for birth. The author clearly states that she is not "neutral" and that she is no more objective than anyone else about what makes for optimal care.

The author clearly states that she believes that "midwifery care is superior to medical management for low- and moderate-risk pregnant women" and that obstetricians are specialists who should only care for women who have high-risk pregnancies. She claims that her book "establishes that the routine or indiscriminate use of medical tests, procedures, drugs and restrictions - the hallmark of obstetric management - does far more harm than good." This claim she backs up with an amazing amount of studies and research.

This book will cause you to think about all the things you thought were "normal" and "necessary" parts of labor and birth. It will make you question why the huge majority of Western women are cared for by obstetricians and deliver in hospitals, when most of them have healthy pregnancies. And if the author accomplishes her goal, it will give you the ability to decide what is right for you.

You WILL like this book if you believe childbirth to be a fundamentally normal and healthy event in a woman's life, not to be treated as a medical procedure that needs to be "managed." You will like this book if you want to learn how to avoid all unnecessary interventions and to start small when intervention becomes necessary.

You don't need to be planning a homebirth with a midwife in order for this book to be beneficial. If you simply want to be empowered to have birth that is individualized to YOU, where your labor and delivery is respected as a personal experience, and where you have the right to make informed decisions about the procedures you and your baby are subjected to, read this book.

If you want to play a more passive role in your birth and have it "managed" for you by a specialist, don't bother with this book.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Important Information, highly recommended, October 22, 2003
By 
Erka16 (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
As a first time mom, I was somewhat scared about going through chilbirth. As far as talking to my mom about my fears was useless because I was adopted, and talking to my aunts just made me more scared. So I decided to purchase "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Child Birth" by Henci Goer.
Now to be honest with you, this book didn't put most of my fears to rest, instead it made some things about childbirth more scary. After thinking about most of the stuff that scared me I relized that what was so scary was the fear of the unknown.
However, Goer presents a somewhat biased opinion(she even admitts it). The information that she presents is comprehensive and well supported, the appendices accounts for about a third of the reading volume of the book which includes Literature Summaries and an extensive bibliography.
Goer presents information on the following topics: cesareans, inducing labor, IVs, epidurals, home births, midwives and obstetricans, hospital births, birth centers, and alternatives to hi-tech birth. Most of the information that she presents on the before mentioned topics will not be mentioned by your OB/GYN.
I highly recommend this book as a tool to compare and contrast information and your options for childbirth. You may not agreee with everything that Goer says but it is good to know all of the information and make a decision that is both beneficial to your baby and to yourself.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, non-patronizing information for birth, September 19, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
After I read this book I wondered if birth in U.S. hospitals is really as badly mis-managed as Henci Goer says so I chcked some of her claims in the Medline database of medical journal literature. It turns out Goer has really done her research and according to the medical literatre (which Dr.s presumably should be reading) she is absolutely right. OBs in the U.S are trained to intervene in births when nothing is actually going wrong yet, and these needless interventions frequently cause unnessessary complications for mother and baby. The research indicates that a hands-off approach leads to the best outcomes as long as there is no clear need for medical intervention. This is a lesson the U.S. medical profesion is having a hard time learning. They are trained to do somethng not just wait, even when waiting would be more beneficial.
If every pregnant woman had the information in this book instead of simply trusting doctors to do the right thing it would lead to drastic improvements in U.S. health care for labor and birth.
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96 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST!, April 21, 2000
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
Every pregnant woman should read this book early in her pregnancy. It is packed full of clear, unbiased information and facts about the common medical interventions that take place during birth, why many of them are undesirable or even dangerous, and how they can be avoided. It is fascinating to see how most of the research proves that medical procedures that American women have come to view as normal are in fact unnecessary. This book covers topics like Cesareans, the use of IVs during birth, pain medications, epidurals, episiotomies, and electronic fetal monitoring. It shows how such common beliefs as "It's better to have a surgical episiotomy cut than a natural tear" are in fact false, and why the medical profession has pushed them so frequently that they have become a "normal" part of giving birth. This book cleared up a lot of questions that I had and made me decide very firmly that I would prefer a long and painful labor to an epidural, which might relieve my pain, but could also cause myself and, even worse, MY BABY, medical problems down the line.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most informative pregnancy/labor book I have found, June 12, 2001
By 
Kellie Fuller (Napa, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
Two of my greatest passions - birth and reading - have led me to this book among pregnancy books! Even before I became a doula, I devoured pregnancy and labor books by the dozens and I can honestly say that this one is a MUST READ for anyone pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
As a doula, I ask every one of my clients to read this book. The information on drugs, induction and other hospital protocol is on-target and backed by scientific research.
It's not just about "natural birth" either - it's a comprehensive run down of everything you might encounter during your labor and how to make the best informed decision for you and your baby.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars truely the "thinking" woman's guide--the best !, November 9, 1999
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
Henci's easy reading style enhances the facts that she presents to the "thinking" woman who is thankfully searching for the safe satisfying birth she knows she wants. The set up of the information is logical and easy to follow. I am just disappointed that Ms. Goer has not written a thinking woman--guide to pregnancy. I see so many woman reading the standard "What to expect... and come in with ridiculous questions--too many holes and too general a guide. The field of obstetrics needs to be based on proven evidence and Ms. Goer gives the birthing mom her guide to these facts--empowering her with every word. I cannot thank her enough for helping us with our quest for normal birth!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging, incredibly informative, June 12, 2002
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This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
In my opinion, this book best fits the woman who finds comfort in knowledge and who wants to educate herself on hospital delivery--what tends to happen, the outcomes of interventions on yourself and your baby, and how to avoid problems.
For example, there is a chapter on epidurals that tells how they're done (with picture) and the pros and cons of the procedure.
Do realize that the author does openly promote a "natural" style of birth (p.136). I wanted that, so I found this book incredibly encouraging and informative. It gives research that supported my desires and it tells procedures of how to avoid episiotomy, unneccessary c-section, IVs and narcotics, etc. This book also helped me to develop my birth plan and gave me confidence in my decisions.
The last third of the book is filled with literature summaries to support the claims she made in the text. Full references are there, in case you want to look up the research article yourself.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest Information Offered Directly From Medical Literature, December 2, 1999
This review is from: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Paperback)
Ms. Goer has methodically reviewed the medical research in obstetrics and presented it in language that anyone can understand. She clearly explains why some of the most commonly practiced interventions in childbirth are not based in research.
Henci Goer has also written a great book for birth professionals, and the best part of both books is that, including her own opinions, she puts her research skills where her mouth is. You don't have to be a medical researcher to get through this book because she has put the information into convenient summaries. You can hear a bit of frustration in her tone while reading the book, but that is because so many OB practitioners keep practicing in ways that are clearly opposite to what the medical researchers have shown is beneficial to pregnant and laboring women!
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The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer (Paperback - August 1, 1999)
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