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Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care Paperback – April 8, 2008
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Then I read this book. “Pushed” synthesized everything I’d learned into a format that validated my own experiences and knowledge and made that information accessible to other people who have not walked this path.
As I reflect on my birth experiences, one of the foremost thoughts in my mind is that expectant mothers are lacking critical information about birth in this country, but they don’t know it. They don’t know what they don’t know. As a first time mom, I surely didn’t. I still struggle with the idea that this lack of knowledge, of awareness, exists and the challenge of how we can bridge that gap.
This book is a bright step in that direction. This is the information that women don’t know they need but desperately do. I say with confidence that if I had read this book before my first child was born, my early birth experiences and primary transition to motherhood would have much more positive than they were. My naivety caused me a lot of suffering.
Birth is a pivotal experience for a woman, and it’s monumentally important in ways besides providing her with a baby. When a baby is born, so is a mother, and the way the birth unfolds will affect her entire life. Women deserve to feel empowered in this experience. Their lives, their identities, and their motherhood depends on it.
Empowerment starts with knowledge, and that knowledge is here.
I was so offended at my first birth and delivery of my son 2 years ago...I filled out a birth plan and was bull-dozed and I was laughed at for it and manipulated by the nurses...I had no idea I was going to be induced when they asked me to come in after my water broke-even though I had not had any contractions I could feel. I thought I was going to get checked and sent home until labor progressed. Thats what you see in movies-women waiting to check in until they are having regular contractions...and thats about the most accessible information the average woman probably gets prior to delivery...films.
I thought I had prepared-I asked my OB questions (I really had no idea what to ask-and no additional info was ever offered by her or the office) I had attended a few classes at the hospital-pointless-none of it helped with reality-it was all theoretical and best case scenariol-like college is in preparing you to go out and get a job-pretty impractical and naive.
Anyways, I had no idea that pretty much everyone gets put on pitocin in the hospital which then requires and epidural because of the abject misery when contractions have no beginning or end. You just can't relax to dilate. I had a ton of people checking my dilation-gross, painful, and embarrassing...I had threats of c-section less than 8 hours after I arrived-less than 14 hours after my water broke...I was given some unheard of terminology scare tactic phraseology they called "a sticky baby" to justify such an insane intervention in a labor as simple and as healthy as mine. My delivery made me tear thanks to the coached pushing-2 pushes as hard as I could...not ideal. At least the hospital had a no episiotomy standard. ANyway-I felt totally let down, I had no idea of what would happen-I naively thought I could go there, labor naturally and deliver a baby without meds.
The experience was so life altering for me, I became obsessed with avoiding medical intervention and people associated with those fields...I changed my diet and lifestyle, committed myself to researching everything myself instead of blindly accepting pharmaceutical or physician offered drugs...I became the most unexpected version of myself-almost some kind of hippy. I'm a much happier person now, being able to beat and treat prettymuch any ailment or issues my family has naturally-especially things that had been misdiagnosed for years by medical professionals...so midwifery was a logical choice for my future pregnancies.
Reading this book was so necessary for me-so needed, so validating and empowering. As I am pregnant with my second-I know that a hospital birth is totally out of the question for me. I am so embittered to modern healthcare and the plain ignorance, arrogance and defiance of medical people I won't step foot in a hospital again unless my hand gets chopped off or my kids lose fingers or limbs. I picked this book up on a whim from the library at my midwife's office-I then purchased it and wrote notes and underlined everything amazing-which was a lot. I am willingly paying 1500 out of pocket to be delivered by and be seen by a midwife as opposed to hospital and obgyn care...and that is with my insurance covering the other 4500 in fees.
If in the future I can't afford a midwife (where I live you can't get one for under 5 grand) I feel I am prepared to deal with a few alternative scenarios to avoid any hospital madness. I purchased this for my sister who is TTC and will purchase it again for anyone who I know who gets pregnant.
I only wish the author would release another edition with more recent information and statistics as I am sure there is more to be learned and more changes since 2006. This book should be revised every 5 years or so for the posterity of the avg american woman.
I am also very grateful that my State-California-has some very midwife friendly policies that have influenced my insurance group positively-enabling me to get appropriate care for my low risk pregnancy.
Thank you Ms. Block for all your work and for giving mothers and mothers-to-be full disclosure-without which there is no freedom of choice.
I have since given birth to my second son...I went all natural, with a birthing center delivery and all my prenatal care was done by midwives...contrasting the two pregnancies and birth experiences I've had- I can see one big element the second birth lacked...this was the medical attitude of pregnancy as a scary, major medical intervention that required expert care. From the veteran midwives and staff I was given dependable, understanding support instead... I felt so calm, natural and confident receiving midwife provided care, I had support in my choices and empathy... I never got that from any care provider during my first pregnancy.
Chiropractics and My diet played a huge roll in making my second pregnancy almost symptom free, and the symptoms I had were higher energy, better mood, less weight gain and a few leg cramps...
my labor was only 4&1/2 hours from the first sense of contraction to delivery, was natural and calm...and felt so easy and exciting. This book gave me peace of mind that I was choosing a safe, natural method....it gave me confidence that my labor would be instinctual and that my body would know what to do. I labored without fear, with relaxation and calm serenity until the three pushes my body instigated on its own... I was so full of energy and excitement immediately after delivery and this lasted for days. It's been over two months and the excitement over the happy labor and delivery is still very present. The aftercare post delivery was calm, non invasive and simple. my new baby and I were left alone by the staff to nurse and relax. They brought me my food, poured me drinks and took my blood pressure later. I was mobile in a few hours and doing my regular activities in two days...making n g food, washing diaper laundry, taking care of my toddler...Though I did have help at home. Basically, I didn't feel exhausted or weak like before. I healed incredibly fast and was happy and bonded to my baby. I am so thankful for this book. I've bought another copy for another pregnant mom...I just can't recommend it enough.
Eye-opening, and full of citations. If you enjoyed the documentary "The Business of Being Born", this is very similar, but way better and more extensive.
The only drawback is that it was written 12 years ago, and many things it describes have (thankfully) now changed (at least in Massachusetts!). However, unfortunately many others have not.
Top international reviews
I recommend this book to everyone!