At first, this book seemed like it would be all about home births. I have nothing against this option, but it isn’t what we’ve chosen so I didn’t want to read a whole book that doesn’t apply to me.
However, I was pleased to find that only the first chapter really dealt with home birth, and the issues presented could be applied to hospital births too, such as learning all you can about the “physical, psychological and emotional process of labor, birth and postpartum recovery.” The following chapters were great surveys of things like labor pain medications, herbs, natural labor and pain management, VBAC, homebirth (okay I guess there’s one more chapter on this but I skipped it), waterbirth, birth plans and breastfeeding. Lots of information!
The book doesn’t go too in depth about any one subject in particular (although the chapter on waterbirth was excellent and information). Rather, each chapter brings up the many subtopics with some high-level information on each and encouragement for the reader to research further if desired.
Some chapters have workbooks at the end to help you have a quick glance and checklist to questions to ask a potential physician or midwife and all the things you need to include in a birth plan. Since this book has so much information (over 300 pages worth!) it helps to have these quick-reference pages so that you don’t have to read the entire chapter over again in order to get your checklist.
The chapter on labor pain medications was a bit hit-and-miss, to be honest. It is quite clear that the author is not a fan of the epidural or other serious pain management drugs. She frequently refers to the possibility of a “blue, floppy baby” as the result of using these types of medications. Now, I had already decided to do my absolute best to forgo these drugs this time and rely on natural methods exclusively. But if I hadn’t already made that choice I would probably be scared out of my mind at this point! I mean, the whole childbirth thing is terrifying enough as it is (that’s the only reason I had an epidural the first time around!) that it just seems wrong to add further anxiety. However, it is good to know your options and the benefits and risks of each choice, which I believe is the author’s only intent with the warnings in this chapter.
Overall this is a great book about all things birth. I’m glad I’ll have it around as a reference guide as childbirth looms in my future.
Next review: Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from Our Top Writers