- 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 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 190 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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 Library Journal
With expectant parents confronted with a variety of childbirth choices, the Searses, a noted husband-and-wife team (he's a pediatrician and she's a nurse), have written a guide that outlines a number of options available for birth along with pros and cons for each. Their emphasis is on the natural birth experience--without drugs and with as little intervention as possible. They provide information on alternate settings and nonphysician birth assistants. The book is well written and well organized; references and additional reading provide avenues for further information. A complement to other books on the birth process, including Gayle Peterson's An Easier Childbirth (Tarcher, 1991); recommended for consumer health/patient education collections.
- Mary J. Jarvis, Methodist Hosp. Medical Lib., Lubbock, Tex.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I checked this book out of my local library along with about a dozen others, and it was one of a few that I chose to purchase for myself after reading it so I could make notes and highlight my own favorite parts.
The book first tells of Dr. Sears' wife and co-author, Martha, and her birth experiences beginning in (I believe) the 50s. If you know anything about the history of childbirth, her experiences aren't really out of the norm for each year that she describes. The book then clearly lays out its goals and what it will discuss. This is where I get confused at negative reviews that contend that the book is pushy or too preachy about home or birth center births. Within the first chapter, the book immediately begins to handle sensitive readers with kid gloves, reiterating time and time again that some women need medical interventions, and that every woman should make choices that are best for herself, her baby, her family, and her individual situation. I don't know how much more the author could coddle a fragile reader who doesn't want to hear that her expectation of an epidural at first contraction could lead to more medical procedures. I've come to think that women who are touchy and overly sensitive about books that suggest a natural birth are ones who are insecure about their own experiences or decisions, and perhaps the ones to hear this information the most. A healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy and baby are likely to have little need for medical interventions. That's not Dr. Sears' (or any author's) opinion, friends.
The book is broken up into 3 sections: Preparing for birth, Easing pain in labor, and Experiencing birth. My personal favorite chapters have been VBAC and Best Birthing Positions. I've long known that lying on your back is a stupid and ill-advised position in which to give birth (umm, hi gravity?), so I love that this book gives illustrations of some great positions that can be switched up to make mom more comfortable. I also enjoy the diagrams of exactly how the [average] baby comes out of the birth canal. The ways in which a fetus turns to make his or her grand entrance into the world are really remarkable!
I will agree with the obvious fact that some of the research presented in the book is "old", as it was written in 1994. I would love to see a revised edition that just changes those few things - however I wouldn't expect a totally different book. Guess why? Because women have been having babies for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The way we deal with childbirth has changed through the decades, but y'all, for gosh sakes, your body does the same basic functions as a woman's body did in 1750! And we have the luxury now of avoiding polio and rickets and other scary diseases that can wreak havoc on a childbearing body. We are so lucky to know so much about our bodies and how they perform - the function of birthing a child hasn't changed since 1994.
After an emergency C-section two years before, I was anxious to study up on birth (I had done NO research, reading, or classes for my first) to see if I could have a better birth experience this time. As I suspected, there were choices that I made in my care that really set me on a path to the outcome that I got, and this time I am making different plans so that I can have a better birth experience. Personally I'm just not the "home birth" type, so I am going to the hospital for my birth; since I am a previous recent cesarean patient, home birth is not really the safest option for me anyway. This book has really helped me grasp what I'm going to go through and instead of just being a patient at a hospital, I can go into the birth experience knowing each stage, what my body is trying to do, and how I can feel like I am a part of the experience - understanding options and making my own choices instead of just lying on a hospital bed, waiting for my baby to pop out.
If you are a woman who wants to go to a hospital at 9 am on the day of your choice, receive your pain medication, and have a C-section at the hour of your choosing, then no, this book is not for you. If you are a woman who believes that your doctor knows all and the hospital is the best place for you to give birth and you are going to demand an epidural asap and lie on your back to give birth, then no, this book is not for you. And if you're expecting an internationally-renowned, respected, educated, reputable, experienced doctor to tell you that these are the best choices for a woman's body, you're probably going to have to look REALLY hard.
But if you're looking for a book that will present you with your options, give examples, talk about the specific ways in which your body is working during labor and ways you can help, not hinder, it from doing its job, if you had a negative birth experience in the past and you're wondering if there was anything you could have changed or anything you could have researched or read about beforehand, then this book IS for you.
My husband and I are very high-tech people, but I skew a bit "crunchy" or hippie when it comes to medicine, just because I've seen in my own experience with a food allergy that Western medicine is amazing, but crazy interventions are not always necessary and modern doctors are trained to think they are. So, from family recommendations, my husband and I took a Bradley Method birth class, and I was very pleased with the outlook and overview; basically, that the female body was made to be able to successfully give birth, and medical interventions should be a much rarer thing than they are in most Western birth experiences.
However, while the Bradley class was very helpful, I looked for additional books to help me get prepared and, almost more importantly, *feel* prepared, because as most natural childbirths promoters mention, tension and fear only increase pain. This book has been the most helpful read so far. It has practical advice, lots of different options, and useful birth stories with comments at the end to give different scenarios.
If you're interested in natural childbirth, or if you're just wanting a reasonable introduction to why natural childbirth could be a good option for you, this is an excellent resource.