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Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth Paperback – June 6, 2006
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About the Author
Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S, an independent consultant on maternity care, has been featured in US News and World Report, Health, Mother Jones, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on Dateline and Good Morning America. He is a former director of Women's and Children's Health for the World Health Organization, and the author/editor of eight books.
Stephanie Gunning is an author, editor, and publishing consultant specializing in books on health, spirituality, and personal growth.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author gives women the voice that they need to be heard in the delivery room, by giving them statistically-based information on when interventions are not necessary (but why they are often forced on us), and also explains the situations in which they could be necessary.
Things such as "failure to progress" (hospitals watch the clock!), routine IVs, why episiotomies should NOT be done (think of how hard it is to rip fabric, and then of how easy it is to rip after you've made a small cut!), electronic fetal monitoring (a stethoscope is just as good... and why!)... He discusses all of these things in an easy-to-understand manner.
He also talks about the differences between midwives & doctors, the importance of doulas, and also the difference between home births with midwives and hospital births with midwives (very big difference!), as well as discusses the option of a midwife-centered birth clinic which has been growing in popularity over the years.
There is also information on the 3 stages of labour, and techniques to successfully manage each of them, including various positions and styles (squatting, birthing stool, waterbirth, and more).
The author headed up many research studies into the effects of evidence-based labour/delivery care, as opposed to "common practice care" and compiled this knowledge in a fascinating book that should be a must-read for all expecting moms and their birth partners.
Even (especially!) if you are planning a hospital birth, as I am, it is worth reading because it goes through each medical procedure ("intervention") and its benefits and risks. This made clear how one intervention can "cascade" to more, but also made clear the circumstances in which I might want certain interventions. It highlighted certain danger areas where an overly cautious caregiver might hook you up with more interventions than you want, but it didn't have a full rebuttal to how to deal with that (perhaps there is none). I thought that demanding a second opinion was not very useful because wouldn't someone else with rights at the same institution just back up the original opinion?
It also has thorough lists of questions to ask a potential provider (OB or midwife or doula) or location (hospital or birth center). The one caveat I would add is that most hospitals in the U.S., at least not where I live, will give the "right" answers to all of Dr. Wagner's questions, such as no time limits on labor, freedom to eat, etc. So don't get your heart set on WHO's ideal model, or you will be :-(.
What was unpleasant, but useful, about the book is that it forces you to think about every contingency and plan to make the worst case scenario as much in line with your wishes as possible. Not something I would have dwelt on but for this book, and probably useful preparation.
This book teaches you that you deserve the best maternal/infant care and what that care should look like (probably not what you think!) and formulate your wishes for to cover every possible complication. It also emphasizes that birth is a dynamic process and doesn't always happen in accordance with our paper plans.