Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Review: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

I wanted to read this book because so many people have recommended it for pregnant mothers, but when I borrowed this book last week, I was told that this book probably wasn't something I needed to read.

After having read it, I agree that I didn't really need to read it myself, but I know why it's so highly recommended. It's a great starting point for birth research. It goes over the research, pros, and cons of cesareans, epidurals, inductions, various birth professionals, etc. It gives a good overview of how birth is handled. I definitely see its virtues as a book for pregnant women.

As for myself, though, as I read through it, I just kept saying, "I knew that already." I didn't really learn all that much from the book overall. I did learn little tidbits of things that I didn't bother researching because it didn't pertain to me, though. For example, I didn't know that the FDA had issued a warning about vacuum extraction in 1998. And here it is 10 years later and I personally know women who have had vacuum extraction births in the past 2 years. Why are the doctors still doing this when the FDA has advised against it? Do the doctors not know? Do they just not care?

Also, I think this book would be improved if they had a newer edition. For example, in the paragraph discussing the risks of a cesarean to the baby, she doesn't discuss the mortality rate. This research has been done since the publication of the book, so I don't blame her for not putting it in, but I think a newer addition with some of the more recent research would be beneficial.

Also, I thought her outlook on unassisted birth was a little grim, noting that out-of-hospital births are safer with a trained and knowledgeable attendant. When discussing the safety of UC, you run into a lot of statistical issues. First, an unattended out-of-hospital birth varies from planned UC to can't-get-to-the-hospital-on-time birth. States don't differentiate between these two scenarios when keeping track of vital statistics. Also, UC is underreported because there are people out there afraid to admit that they UCed because of fear of CPS or other state departments. You can't really get clean statistics on UC. And finally, why can't the mother be considered a "trained attendant?" I would say that most women who UC don't take the decision lightly and do months or years of research and know how to recognize complications and judge for themselves whether or not the complication is serious.

But overall, I thought this was a thorough book for anyone who needs a place to start their birth research. If you need a good overview of birth, this is a great book for that.

1 comment:

  1. That does look like a good one. Did you ever get your hands on John Robbins "Reclaiming Our Health"? I read that after my first baby and thought it was great. It is not just about health, but about women. My favorite chapter was titled the Goddess in Stirrups.


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