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Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience Paperback – April 5, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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  • Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former talk show host Lake, producer of the documentary The Business of Being Born, joins with Epstein, the film's director, to further probe the subject of birth in America. Asserting that the high tech, low touch trend in medicalized births has usurped parents' sense of power and choice, the authors present a detailed examination of the birthing experience, beginning with their own personal accounts. Employing the premise that although one can't predict what will happen during birth, one can prepare, they present options that women should consider, including home birth and the use of a midwife or doula. Lake and Epstein point out that while 99% percent of births in the U.S. take place in hospitals and one-third are cesareans, the vast majority of births are not high risk and may not require medical intervention. But the fear of pain combined with unnecessary hospital protocols cause many couples to narrow or relinquish their options. The authors discuss the pros and cons of such interventions as episiotomies, epidurals and electronic monitors, and encourage women to carefully question their practitioners and hospital personnel. Above all, the authors advocate a safe and empowered birth, whether one chooses a hospital, home or birth center. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The beginning of the love affair with your child starts here. This book makes planning your birth fun and easy. A must read for every expectant parent."
-- Louann Brizendine, M.D. Author, THE FEMALE BRAIN
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style; Reprint edition (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446538140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446538145
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
[...]
First Impressions:
I must say at a first skim through the preface and various chapters of this book, I immediately got turned off. At first blush, the book seemingly has a heavy focus on Natural Vaginal Births and that is a very sour subject for me, a woman who delivered each of her THREE children via C-SECTIONS. For a long time, I used to feel inadequate about not having given birth the "natural" way as God intended, if you will. I even used to get a rush of jealousy when I would hear of a friend who had a birth without medical surgical intervention. I belabor the point, but I did not think I'd come away from the book feeling good at all.

Second Chance:
Well, I decided to give the book a chance anyway and, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually liked it and would recommend it!

Ricki and Abby use a very conversational, down to earth tone and language to provide a matter of fact, real perspective of their personal experiences and the experiences of other women. They explain, without too much medical terminology and jargon, what a mother-to-be can expect during the birthing process. In any event, Your Best Birth is all about knowing your options and decoding the language of the hospital. The authors take the time to interpret some of the reasons hospitals give mothers for making their decisions. It is a useful resource even for that discussion alone, because it is a very stressful time during labor and who has time to psychoanalyze what's being said at that very moment? Getting educated on some of these issues in advance is crucial.

Demystifying the "Hollywood" portrayal of Birth
The book opens with summaries of Ricki and Abby's birthing experiences with their children.
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Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of fabulous books out there to get pregnant women to start thinking about taking charge of their births (Ina May Gaskin, Dr Gowri Motha etc) but these titles are often only picked up by women 'in-the-know' who are used to looking for obscure titles and enjoy reading. This book covers all the basics incredibly well and is a fun, enlightening and enjoyable read. This book wasn't out when i had my daughter but i was already of this mindset and had a fantastic, empowering, natural and ENJOYABLE labor - this book totally mirrors the journey i went on to find the right care providers and the importance of doing so. Anyone giving birth in the USA should make it their priority to 1) learn how different the system is in the USA to other developed countries 2) Understand how this contributes to the USA having the second highest infant and mother mortality rate in the developed world and 3) arm themselves with all the knowledge in order to have a birth which not only places their child's wellbeing at the top of the list but ALSO takes the mother's needs and enjoyment of the birthing process into consideration.

If you would like to take this further, I would also recommend the following: DVDs: Pregnant in America, Orgasmic Birth and The Business of Being Born - all 3 dvds are available on Netflix. Ina May Gaskin's The Guide to Childbirth still remains the most powerful and amazing book re. preparation for labor. The first half is taken up with positive birthing stories - it helps you to start to move away from the ER scenes of 'scary' labor that we are all brain washed with and move towards a more gentle, magical way of viewing giving birth. It really is true that if you put in the preparation (physical and mental) you can have an amazing experience - it doesn't need to be something to fear and dread.
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Format: Hardcover
When I was pregnant my childbirth educator recommended her favorite books to the class: The Birth Partner, and Birthing from Within.

I'll bet that she will soon be adding Your Best Birth, by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, to that list.

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein's film The Business of Being Born has been called the "Inconvenient Truth" of birth. Their new book, Your Best Birth, continues in that spirit - enlightening, advocating, and trying to "take back" birth for mothers and families.

Your Best Birth is devoted to helping mothers "explore the full spectrum of choices you have in giving birth." The authors define a "best birth" as "one where you feel empowered because you know all your options and are confident in the decisions you have made about your birth." They state, "we believe that you can place the health and well-being of your newborn as your highest priority and still have an optimal, empowering experience that is right for you both - whether that is in your bed, in your bathtub, in a hospital room, or on an operating table."

Ricki and Abby talk frankly about the current record high c-section and induction rates, the disappearing VBAC, and describe what a typical hospital birth looks like now. They share their own birth stories and the stories of a number of celebrities along the way, as well as profiles of some well known birthing pioneers. I'm very pleased that they include a chapter on sexual abuse survivors and birth, and Ricki even shares her own story of abuse and its connection to her experience of motherhood. I found many of the birth stories very moving.
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