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Sunday, January 03, 2010

"Your Best Birth" - a review

As I am pregnant again I have been doing quite a lot of reading about birth. Not because I think that I need to know more about the process of, I think I have that down having 2 natural births at's more the different perspectives on birth and the ways that various authors choose to represent those perspectives.
I just finished "Your Best Birth" by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. While I enjoyed the film, "The Business of Being Born" I was a bit skeptical about the validity of a book written by a talk show host on natural birth.
I am happy to report that I was so completely wrong.
This book is written like your best friend is giving you the low down on birth (in America). It has a uniquely casual feel that I have not encountered in pregnancy and birth books before. She tells it like it is, doesn't sugar coat anything, but also keeps her views very natural. It is a lovely balance. The free birthing hippie, the home-birth loving professional, and the mom who has to birth in a hospital would all enjoy this book. She does outline the risks involved in drugs and interventions and caesarians, but does so in a way of having been there. (she had one hospital birth with intervention, and a home birth no interventions, and her co-writer Abby had an emergency C-section for the birth of her son Milo who had a congenital defect in utero).
The fact that these women have had such varied birth experiences themselves makes them even more approachable, and you don't feel judged by them, they are open minded.
I really felt that the message in the book was that Ricki and Abby just want to inform women, and help them achieve the empowered births that they experienced, but the also do not want to hold the woman's hand. They want her to take responsibility for her own birth and her own experience coming into motherhood.
I think that this book is meant to be a starting point for pregnant moms, as they give a lot of information, but the tone is conversational so if a mother wanted to get more information she would have to do some more research on her own. Ricky and Abby had thought of that as well, they have 6 pages of resources in the back including questions to ask your provider, and steps to creating a birth plan. They also go through all of the philosophies of birth, such as Bradley, Birthing from Within, and Lamaze (just to name a few) but do not go deep into the techniques allowing the mom to do more investigating to see what technique is a best fit for her, her partner and her baby.
In all I would rate this book very high and would recommend it again.


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