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Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the…

Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the… (2009)

by Mark Sloan

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One day I may come back to this but it's just not happening now. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
From the moment I first started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. It is by far the most insightful, informative and interesting book I have ever read on pregnancy and child birth. It goes far beyond anything ever written on the subject and is so much fun to read. Dr. Sloan has a wonderful sense of humor and I found myself laughing out loud at the hysterical situations and experiences he has had through the years. I especially enjoyed reading the scientific history of childbirth and how the process evolved through the centuries. The only disapointment I had with this book is that it hadn't been written sooner! My children have all grown and I couldn't help wonder if I would have been a more confident and calmer parent had I read this years ago. I highly recommend this to anyone who is thinking of having a family, is pregnant or is looking for a great gift for a parent-to-be. ( )
1 vote Claddaghgirl | Feb 8, 2010 |
This is a marvelous, well-written book, with lots of fascinating history (some not easily found elsewhere). The discussion of nitrous oxide as a method of pain relief during labor will send many women to their hospitals demanding that we reinstate this valuable option now available in most other industrialized countries. Mostly, it is invaluable to see a thoughtful pediatrician reflect upon what how our current, excessively medicalized approach to birth affects our lives. ( )
  JudyNorsigian | Feb 7, 2010 |
Marvelous stuff. I have to admit, however, that if it had not been placed in my hands, I would not have known about it and therefore not have sought it out. Perhaps there is some marketing omission here. Back to the book - it was enthralling. It is great storytelling, great social history and really good information. The first chapter got my interest immediately and, although something pulled me away from it for a while, when I got back to it, I found it hard to put down. The book reads easily and has stuff of such interest that it should be considered by English teachers as "required reading for subsequent discussion purposes". There is much to discuss: the information itself, the writing style of Dr. Sloan and the argument presentation. There is much more about our babies that will be of real interest to a "general interest" reader and not just a medical history buff. I sure hope we get to see more from the good doctor - perhaps a first week or a first month or a first year. Something like that. He would know best where to go next. I hope that he does and that I get to find out about it somehow. I'll buy it - or them. ( )
1 vote gmillar | Jul 1, 2009 |
Birth Day is a unique and fascinating look at the history and physiology of pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy. Dr. Sloan approaches the topic from a wide variety of perspectives -- he explains evolutionary, anthropological, and social factors that have shaped the modern birth experience. Sloan keeps a remarkably even hand about hot-button topics such as pain relief in labor, labor support, and circumcision. This book provides more useful information about pregnancy and labor than any other pregnancy book I have found so far. I highly recommend this book to expectant mothers, new parents, grandparents (great for explaining how the experience of birth has changed over the last century), and anyone else interested in history, biology, or medicine. ( )
  verbafacio | Jun 1, 2009 |
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For Elisabeth, Claire and John, without whose love I would have no story to tell; for my mother, Peg, who birthed seven big-headed Sloan babies, and my father, Barney, who got Mom to the hospital on time, every time; and to James Bernard Sloan, the brother I never knew.
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I delivered twenty babies in the summer of 1977. I was hardly more than a baby myself.....
"Get that damn baby out of me!" she shrieked, glaring at me over the top of her belly. "Get it out now or I'll cut you!".
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345502868, Hardcover)

I delivered twenty babies in the summer of 1977. I was hardly more than a baby myself, just turned twenty-four and starting my third year of medical school.”—from Birth Day

So began Mark Sloan’s three-decades-long exploration of the wonders and oddities of human childbirth. Pediatrician, husband, and father, the author has attended nearly three thousand births since that long-ago summer, encountering everything from routine deliveries to tense labor-room dramas. In Birth Day, Sloan draws on his personal and professional experience to weave the strands of memoir, history, science, and culture into a fascinating—and often funny—tapestry of this fundamental human passage.

Birth Day takes the reader on a remarkable journey, from the dawn of human history to the quiet efficiency of a modern operating room; from Aristotle and Julius Caesar to a trailblazing, cross-dressing British army surgeon; from a recent past filled with the horrors of childbirth gone wrong to a present day, in which every pregnancy is expected to end happily. Some of Birth Day’s many topics include

• The evolution of human childbirth—or, why do gorillas have it so easy?
• The first five minutes of life—scuba divers, astronauts, and the amazing adaptations that transform a fetus into an air-breathing, out-in-the-world baby
• Cesarean section—a look at its origins, its future, and how it came to be the most frequently performed operation in American hospitals
• Pain and politics—the age-old quest for painless childbirth, starring Adam and Eve, Queen Victoria, a nineteenth-century medical brawl, and the rise of today’s “epidural monoculture”
• Daddies—raging paternal hormones, hidden anxieties, and the emotional evolution of men (including the author, his father, and grandfather) as they approach fatherhood
• The five senses at birth—does light enter the womb? how loud is it in there? what is a newborn baby searching for with those first anxious glances?
• A tour of the newborn body—springy skulls, hairy ears, innies and outies, the advantages (and disadvantages) of looking like your father, and why the United States is one of the world’s most circumcised nations

Delightfully instructive and entertaining, Birth Day offers a fresh, sometimes irreverent take on a universally familiar topic. Warm, reassuring, and packed with stories from the author’s work and life, this unique book is one pediatrician’s meditation on the hiding-in-plain-sight marvels of human birth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An engaging study of the entire childbirth experience draws on the latest medical advances and research into human birth to examine all of the factors that converge to produce a child and to trace the history of birthing methods, neonatal care and resuscitation, the use of painkillers, and more.… (more)

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