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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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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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. Having a list of things that I could do to cope made all of the difference in the world to me. The first birth I was much more passive. The second birth I was much more proactive and had a much better time of it. My recovery was night and day too.
I respect Sears and his wife as both parents and healthcare professionals. Their series of books are not perfect, but I would say, after reading reams of drivel or hyperbole on the subject at hand, they actually do the overall best job for a basic book. Most folks read one, max two books pre-birth, so if you have to choose only one, this would be it. And their book "The Baby Book" is also the best one out there regarding babies.
Btw, regarding the comment about the AFP test. It is famous for false positives, which can cause unneeded stress to parents. I don't have an opinion about having the test, either way beyond that. As to Down's Syndrome, some parents want to know in order to terminate the pregnancy. Looks like termination is not on their list of things to consider, so why should they have the test? (I had an amnio, much more accurate.) The way the review was written, it sounded like they had done something irresponsible. Some parents want to know, others don't. Knowing or not knowing neither causes Down's Syndrome (a chromosomal abnormality apparent at conception), nor will change the outcome of the pregnancy.
I wouldn't just read this book. I'm the type of person that reads everything that I can get my hands on, both on a professional level and from the mainstream press. But this is certainly a book for my short list. Read it.
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?