- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Meadowbrook; Original edition (July 31, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780743212410
- ISBN-13: 978-0743212410
- ASIN: 074321241X
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 336 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (medically updated) Paperback – July 31, 2008
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About the Author
Penny Simkin, a physical therapist, has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1968. She trains childbirth educators, doulas, and doula-trainers and frequently conducts workshops for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
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For full disclosure, I approached this first pregnancy considering a natural childbirth but open to using drugs if needed. Since I come from a family of physicians I was skeptical of going too far off the holistic deep-end. I wanted to stay within a comfort zone that balanced following my body and practicing the best evidence-based medicine. After reading many Amazon reviews, I bought this book and was very very happy in its approach to preparing for and giving birth. The book does a great job of showing the range of options. For example, The book provides at least 3 sample birth plans ranging from mothers who wanted and epidural to mothers who wanted to give birth in a birthing center.
A potential con is if you're interested in week by week drawings of your little fetus and getting updates on what fruit or vegetable s/he is, then you'll need to augment this book with the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Book or sign up for Baby Center's week by week email. Penny Simkin's book will cover general fetus development and what you can expect in each phase of your pregnancy but invests much more in the types of proactive exercises you can be doing to prepare for the birthing process. There is also a section at the end on how to prepare for the newborn, breastfeed and other aspects of basic newborn care.
The book has simple pictures to illustrate techniques. My husband and I started about 2 months before our due date by spending 5-30 minutes each night practicing some of the suggested natural birthing management techniques. There were so many different techniques but the book did a great job of suggesting short routines so that we could work on a few techniques each night. It was great "us" time too!
In addition, there are also sections on possible interventions such as a c-section, different drug options, membrane stripping, etc. It was great to be exposed to these possibilities early on so that I could make the appropriate decision and refer back to the book as needed.
I highly recommend this book for people that are looking for a little more information on what you can do proactively as you're preparing for your childbirth. The book is supportive of both drug-assisted and drug-free deliveries. We lucked out and had a drug-free delivery - I really surprised myself! It was a fantastic experience and this book really helped me prepare.
As far as the Newborn section-I am finding it to be very helpful and informative just as the rest of the book has been. If you only go with one Pregnancy/Childbirth book-this is the one I would invest in. (And I had about 9 between the ones I bought and ones that were given to me).
This book is a great overview of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn - just as you would expect from the title. This book begins with information on interviewing doctors, evaluating hospitals, and choosing a doula. I printed many of the handouts on http://www.pcnguide.com/ to help me with this process.
The sections on pregnancy and fetal development were not as detailed as other books. I supplemented with reading from other books and pregnancy aps on my iphone. This book doesn't have a weekly summary of fetal changes, but instead features a more of an overview of developments each trimester. I found the exercises and stretches useful.
The real value of this book lies in the labor and delivery section. Admittedly, it is a little biased toward natural delivery, but does include information on interventions. I was considering a natural birth when reading this book, but I was also open to intervention if I got in over my head. I printed the chart of coping techniques featured in this book, studied them, and included them in the documents I brought to the hospital. This book was also very helpful in writing my birth plan and featured a few examples of plans (from mothers with different goals). I used many of the strategies in this book to have the natural, in-hospital birth I wanted. Luckily for me, I had a normal, uncomplicated labor. Even if it had gone differently, this book gave an overview of interventions: why they might be recommended, what happens, and potential side effects.
Overall, I highly recommend this book especially if you are considering a natural birth or if you want a different view than the typical hospital birthing class.