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Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake
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Your Best Birth

by Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This book definitely slants towards drug free and home births, but I really appreciated having an entire book devoted to the actual birth process. So many pregnancy books only have a chapter or two on birth. I also found the list of questions to ask really helpful. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
I think this book is much more relevant to an American audience. In Australia many of our maternity wards are staffed predominantly by midwives, and there just isn't the huge litigation problem that pushes doctors onto such a medical system. ( )
  Karyn_Ainsworth | Dec 29, 2014 |
According to the authors of Your Best Birth, the U.S. tends toward a model of childbirth that is far too focused on the medical, on bypassing the natural process of childbirth in favor of a managed, controlled and clinical production. Childbirth, in the U.S., is an emergency -- a crisis -- requiring constant monitoring and frequent intervention in the form of epidurals, episiotomies and c-sections. Indeed, the c-section rate in this country is much higher than it would be if the operation was performed for lifesaving reasons alone.

In Your Best Birth, we are taken through a "typical" hospital birth as well as several alternative birth experiences. The stories are a mixed bag: some warm memories of a supportive, natural and beautiful experience. And, some regretful looks back at a loss of control over the birth experience in the hospital. Also, a lot of stories that fall somewhere in between, which is probably where most of us end up.

The authors are careful not to vilify doctors, who have the skills to save lives when that becomes necessary. Still, they point out that a healthy fear of malpractice suits leads to a focus on "covering the bases," on opting for intervention when nature is likely to have done just fine.

There is a strong message in this book that a home birth, attended by a midwife who has arrangements with a local hospital -- just in case -- is far preferable to a hospital birth.

The truth is, some hospitals are more enlightened than others. Some are very progressive and have their own birthing centers, support alternative pain management, and avoid c-sections when they can. But many Americans are locked into a particular hospital due to their health insurance. And many Americans can't afford the luxury of hiring their own midwives and doulas. They go where they must go, and receive services from those who happen to be on duty. Even in that situation, though, Your Best Birth has valuable advice about creating a birth plan and deciding in advance just what to insist upon in the hospital. (When is an epidural okay, if ever? Is an IV drip okay, or only one that allows the laboring woman to remain mobile? Is it OK to take the baby away to be weighed and checked out right away? Specify!)

My wife and I thought this was a valuable read, and it helped to balance out the other childbirth books we're reading, in which many of these issues are cast in a much less worrying light. As a result of reading this book, we're checking out all our options: home birth, a doula, a midwife, etc., and we'll make an informed decision.

Only one thing really bugged me about Your Best Birth. I understand that women are the main audience for this book. But in the part of the book where the authors give readers suggestions on how to introduce a male partner to these issues, why oh why don't they recommend that the partner read the book? Instead, the authors throw in a weird comment about some men not liking to read. That wasn't cool. I'm a guy, I read the book, and now I feel prepared to support my wife in a much more informed, grounded way.

Every woman expecting a child here in the U.S. should read this book. The expecting woman's partner should read it, too, in combination with other books on childbirth and pregnancy. Whether you give birth in a hospital, at home, in a birthing center, or on an L.A. freeway at rush hour, you'll be glad to understand the decisions to be made and the choices you have, so they don't overwhelm you when you're already in labor!
( )
  ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
Easy to read, but very, very biased toward natural birth, as much as it pretended to be otherwise. Demonizes medical interventions quite a bit, and doesn't mention any downsides at all to the "amazing super-empowering birth goddess" way of thought. Talks a lot about medicine wanting only to take your birth away from you. Decent read, but the bias left a bad aftertaste. ( )
  papertygers | Sep 26, 2013 |
Yes, I've been reading this for the obvious reasons.

On the whole, there's a lot of good information here that's worth thinking about, though there is an obvious bias for a much crunchier style of birth than I'd feel comfortable with (there are a lot of stories of home births, for instance, and while it's a fine option for a lot of people, it's not for me). Still, a good resource to pick up just to know what the options are, and what "normal" things could complicate the experience. I probably won't follow a lot of the advice they're offering, but it is making me think more about things I'd already rejected, and that's always a good thing.

***
[edit:] Now I'm finished with this. As I said, some information is great--it's really helpful to know the many ways in which the medical establishment might try to push a C-section, and the circumstances under which I should actually consider consenting--but much of the delivery (ha! pun not intended, I swear) is an oddly sanctimonious uber-crunchy campaign to make sure everyone attempts a home birth with a midwife.

Great for exploring your options; not so great as a how-to bible. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The authors discuss the pros and cons of such interventions as episiotomies, epidurals and electronic monitors, and encourage women to carefully question their practitioners and hospital personnel. Above all, the authors advocate a safe and empowered birth, whether one chooses a hospital, home or birth center.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lake, RickiAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Epstein, AbbyAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Moritz, JacquesForewordmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For our sons, Milo, Owen, and Matteo
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On a recent, beautiful fall day in New York City, my family and I went for a walk around Gramercy Park. (Foreword)
My pregnancies were miraculous times in my life. (Preface)
Let's say right up front that we are not writing a book that tells you that you should birth your baby in a particular way. (Introduction)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446538132, Hardcover)

The national C-section rate is at an all-time high of 31 percent. Are all these C-sections necessary, or are some of them done simply for the sake of convenience? Inductions seem to be the norm, but are they always needed? Today, expectant mothers are often left feeling powerless, as their instincts are replaced by drugs and routine medical procedures.

What you are about to discover is that you have a choice, and you have the power to plan the kind of birth that's right for you-whether it is at a birth center, a hospital, or at home. In YOUR BEST BIRTH, internationally known advocates of informed choice Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein inspire women to take back the birth experience, with essential advice on:
· Positive and negative effects of epidurals, Pitocin, and other drugs and interventions
· Inducing vs. allowing your labor to progress naturally
· The truth behind our country's staggering C-section rate
· Assembling your birth team and creating your birth plan.

With chapters such as "Obstetricians: Finding Dr. Right," "Epidurals: You Haven't Got Time for the Pain," and "Electronic Monitors: Reading between the Lines," Lake and Epstein will encourage you to consider whatever your doctor, mother, and best friend may suggest in a new light. The book also includes inspiring birth stories, including those from well-known personalities, such as Laila Ali and Cindy Crawford. Packed with crucial advice from childbirth professionals, and delivered in a down-to-earth, engaging voice, YOUR BEST BIRTH is sure to renew your confidence and put the control back where it belongs: with parents-to-be!

"Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake have taken a wonderful and constructive approach to ensuring an optimal birthing experience. Their language creates a 'climate of confidence' for pregnant women and their families, who must make key decisions about where, how and with whom to give birth in a health care system often unresponsive to our needs. This book is like a good friend giving wise counsel." --Judy Norsigian, co-editor of Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth and Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The national C-section rate is at an all-time high. Are all these C-sections necessary? Inductions seem to be the norm, but are they always needed? Today, expectant mothers are often left feeling powerless, as their instincts are replaced by drugs and routine medical procedures. This book shows that you have a choice, and you have the power to plan the kind of birth that's right for you--whether at a birth center, a hospital, or at home. Advocates of informed choice Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein inspire women to take back the birth experience, with essential advice on: positive and negative effects of epidurals, Pitocin, and other drugs and interventions; inducing vs. allowing your labor to progress naturally; the truth behind the staggering C-section rate; assembling your birth team and creating your birth plan. Also includes inspiring birth stories, including well-known personalities, such as Laila Ali and Cindy Crawford.--From publisher description.… (more)

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