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The Birth Partner - Revised 4th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions Paperback – October 1, 2013
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We did not use a doula for our labor and birth. I was her support and along with the great nursing staff, we did great. I felt confident in my ability to help her and we used several of the pain mitigation techniques offered in the book. I found I did not have to reference the book more than a couple times during the whole event as I'd read through it and was prepared ahead of time. My wife was able to delivery vaginally with no epidural or other pain medication. I do find that the book is very pushy for getting a doula, which I understand as Penny is a certified doula who has helped establish a strong doula network within the U.S.
Each chapter/section talks about mama and baby first, then how the birth partner can help, and finally how a doula can help even more. For those people thinking of possibly getting a doula, the last bit may be very useful in order to help you better understand how one could help. If you know for sure you do not want one, you can read it as a way for the birth partner to help even more.
The book itself is very nicely organized by chapter and features small sections at the end of each chapter that is a summary of what the chapter talked about. These sections have a grey border, which makes them very easy to find while flipping through the book. This makes them very easy to find later while in labor and delivery, but I also found a couple small sticky notes in certain sections with subjects written on the notes, makes it even easier.
No matter if you plan on a hospital birth, home birth, with or without pain medication, I highly recommend you read through this book. Even if it isn't the first child, if you aren't feeling confident about being a good support for mama and baby, read through it and you'll know exactly what to do.
There's a section in the book alone that makes it well worth the money where it explains to the partner/husband that sometimes distracting the woman with questions like "what can I get you to drink" aren't as helpful as say, just bringing her a drink and seeing if she wants it. Likewise it gives tips on massage, things to have with you in the hospital, explains some of the reactions and reasons behind them that a woman might exhibit - the entire bit on a woman might lash out at you because she's frightened and you're a safe target was worth it's weight in gold. Ever since he's read it, husband has really been a lot more supportive and has helped weather some of the 9th month mood swings and crying fits with a lot more understanding and support than I'd expected. :)
It covers positions, including drawings and descriptions that tell what each position helps with; like relieving back pain or changing the baby's position from a bad one to a good one. I brought copies of these pages to the birth center and used them to help Rachel be more comfortable and promote the baby's movement and position. Our midwife used one of the positions in this book to help the birth happen within minutes of doing it. If we hadn't done that position we probably would have had to do a surgical birth (C-Section).
The other important part for me was how to help the mother relationally to help her emotionally. It was the three Rs: Rest, Rhythm and Ritual. It wasn't common sense for a guy to know this stuff. Her midwife said we were a great team. It was because of the things I learned in this book.
There was allot more to this book that may help you. But those are the parts I used
I'd say this book is great for individuals that are interested in learning about the birthing process if they really have no idea about it whatsoever. This is something I will definitely be making my husband and brothers read because it will probably be eye-opening and helpful for them to understand the mental/emotional side of birth for both the mother and father.
The further I read the more interesting the book is for me and telling me some things I don't already know.