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

If you only read one book during pregnancy about childbirth, read this one! The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer is the book that helped me make the decision to go with a birth center for the birth of my baby. There is so much helpful information about childbirth and what your options are.

It isn’t the kind of book you have to read cover-to-cover. It has chapters on various childbirth topics so you can go straight to what interests you easily. The back of the book includes info on all the research and studies to back up what is contained in the book.

The table of contents is as follows:

Introduction: Obstetric Management: What’s Wrong with This Picture?

1. The Cesarean Epidemic: Obstetrics on the Cutting Edge

2. The Full-Term Breech Baby: Cesarean Section is Not the Only Answer

3. Induction of Labor: Mother Nature Knows Best

4. IVs: “Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink”

5. Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Cesarean for Fetal Distress: The Machine that Goes Ping!

6. When Doctors Break the Membranes: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Break It

7. Slow Labor: Patience Is a Virtue

8. Epidurals and Narcotics: A Shot in the Dark

9. Episiotomy: The Unkindest Cut

10. Elective Repeat Cesarean Section: Just Say No

11. Professional Labor Support: Mothering the Mother

12. Obstetricians, Midwives, and Family Practitioners: Someone to Watch Over You

13. The Place of Birth: Location, Location, Location

Here are some excerpts from the book:

“Obstetricians work within the medical model, a model that says drugs and procedures are the answer to whatever goes wrong. However, labor difficulties usually resolve themselves with tincture of time or simple remedies. Sterner, riskier measures are rarely required.”

“While my intent is to enlighten you and to offer strategies to meet a wide range of individual needs, you may also find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the many possibilities I present and their various trade-offs. Think of them merely as jumping-off points for discussions with your doctor or midwife — and, in fact, how he or she reacts to your raising these issues can tell you whether you have the right person. You can, of course, also leave all or most decisions up to your caregiver. That is a perfectly valid choice. The important thing is that it be a conscious choice, not one you felt constrained to make.”

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