Tag Archives: the thinking woman’s guide to a better birth

Gentle Birth Choices: Book Review

I’m kicking off a week of book reviews in honor of March being National Reading Month! The first book I’m going to review for the week is Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper.

via sunrisewellness.org

This is not the first, but one of the first books I read on birthing naturally. (The first was The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.) It is a great book to introduce the concepts of gentle, natural birthing and I highly recommend it for anyone on the fence. It also includes a DVD which is great, too.

If I hadn’t already been convinced that I wanted a water birth, this book definitely would have done the job! There is a whole chapter dedicated to water birth detailing the reasons for choosing one and the history behind water birthing. It was fantastic and probably my favorite part of the book.

There is an important chapter dedicated to discussing the medicalization of childbirth. It was eye-opening for me even though I’d already done some research and reading about this topic. The section on “Twilight Sleep” almost brought me to tears.

The chapter on Dispelling the Medical Myths is fantastic and reminds me of  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. This section alone is worth reading the book in my opinion. It is followed up by a lovely chapter on a different way to birth, A Gentle Revolution and then a chapter on Midwifery.

The appendices are full of helpful information including questions to ask a doctor or midwife and a sample birth plan.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the book:

“A gentle birth relies on the understanding that labor is part of a mysterious continuum of physiological events, beginning with conception and continuing well into the first year of life. Mother and baby, inseparable and interdependent, work together as a unit from the fertilization of the egg until weaning from breastfeeding takes place. Mothers the world over know that the physical and psychological connections that bind our children to us last a lifetime.”


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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