The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

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The newest procedures. The latest information. The complete rundown on modern pregnancy and childbirth...for women who want the facts.

Every intelligent, informed woman is used to gathering the most complete information she can get before making a decision. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions in her life--how she will give birth--it can be tough to get the complete picture, even from an obstetrician. Surprisingly, much of the latest research goes against common medical opinion. Certified Lamaze instructor and activist Henci Goer brings women the carefully researched facts they'll want to have. Based on the latest medical studies and literature, The Thinking Woman's Guide To A Better Birth offers clear, concise information on tests, procedures and treatments--and gives advice about:* cesareans * ultrasound * gestational diabetes * breech babies * inducing labor * IVs * electronic fetal monitoring * ruptured membranes * epidurals * episiotomies * vaginal birth after a cesarean * midwives and obstetricians * alternative birthing methods * choosing a birth location * drugs and delivery * elective induction * professional labor support * and much more

* Author is a certified Lamaze instructor and doula who counsels women on their childbirth experiences
* Author belongs to the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
* Drawn upon the most up-to-date medical literature and studies
* Written in an accessible, understandable style, explaining technical medical terms
* Gives advice to women who were dissatisfied with their first birth experience

Customer Reviews:

  • Great book and a lots of good information. To the point
    But remember, it's one sided. Take everything with a grain of salt. She's very passionate about natural birth.
    Definitely a must read though...more info
  • A biased book: the "Thinking Woman" wants to know BOTH sides!
    I was very disappointed with the content and overall tone of this book. I went to the library looking to find an unbiased guide of what to expect during the birth of my child, and instead came back with a very anti-medical diatribe that tells women why they should NOT have certain procedures. I wanted to be able to read about what to expect, and then MAKE DECISIONS FOR MYSELF. I question why this book was titled "The Thinking Woman's Guide" now, as it really gives you nothing to think about as much as it bestows guilt.

    Goer fails to play devil's advocate on the side of obstetrics, again and again stating that there are no "pros" to some procedures and tests. Oddly enough, the blurb on the book's back cover reads "But when it comes to one of the most important decisions of your life - how you will give birth - it is hard to garther accurate, unbiased information." Interesting how Goer falls into the trap of bias herself....more info
  • Crucial for the health of your unborn child.
    This book is incredibly well researched and presents the most realistic look at what a new mother can and should expect in giving birth in the US.
    And because it carefully presents thorough information, it equips women to make their own decisions and be able to talk knowledgeably with their obstetricians.

    Using this book can make a big difference in the health and life of your baby!...more info
  • Don't read this book unless you want to be unecessarily terrified.
    This book made me so scared that I briefly considered having an abortion. This woman has some serious biases clearly based on her own bad experience. Don't buy this book. It is way too biased to be helpful. ...more info
  • "What is going on?"
    My second baby is due very soon - I have been to 4 practices before finding one that would allow me to have a natural child birth. All because they suspect a "big" baby.

    This book is a must read for anyone who wants to learn the answer to the question, "Why not just get an epidural?" - - or address the statement "I'd just as soon have a c-section before going through all the pain of a natural birth". Mothers who want a natural birth are too often made to feel they are foolish for embracing the pain and process of delivering the way of the cavewoman (this is what I call it).

    Compared to "What to Expect when You're Expecting", I felt this was a most accurate portrayal of the pros AND cons of epidural, episiotomy, c-section, induction and an array of other topics. Many other mainstream books out there don't tell the dirty truth, they just water down the topics and make it seem like no matter what you do you have made the right decision. It's simply not true. The last thing a mother needs to wonder or say at the hospital is "What is going on?". I think this book is essential to inform a woman of her rights and responsibilities when bringing another life into this world....more info
  • So much better than "What to Expect..."
    I'm recommending this book as an alternative to "What to Expect..." It's written for a more intelligent audience, as the title implies, and it gives the evidence with the idea that the pregnant woman should be armed with information to make her own decisions. If you're not inclined to just trust doctors, this is the book for you....more info
  • Unbalanced. Unhelpful.
    This books is not helpful if you are an impending mother who wants to get balanced information about birth and the different options. I had to stop reading this book as all it did was make me feel guilt and apprehension about giving birth in a hospital - albeit with a supportive, non-interventionist obstetrician.

    Reviewers are correct in saying that the book has research to back up its statements but research can generally be found to support any view on things such as this, particularly given that no true statistical studies can be done due to ethical considerations of assigning women to birth methods.

    The book also uses things that are "negatives" of hospitals (lots of equipment) as "positives" of birthing centers (equipment to deal with emergencies).

    ...more info
  • very negative and scarey
    I read this book, expecting to find information on natural healthy childbirth. However, the author largely focuses on the negatives of hospitalized births with OBs. It is informative and well researched, but left me feeling that I would have to be on the offensive in order to make sure I had a natural birth and avoid unnecessary interventions. I would greatly have preferred to hear more positive options, what women CAN do, what choices and tools we DO have. And so, I much preferred Birthing From Within by Pam England and have given it to several friends.Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation...more info
  • Ought to be on every pregnant woman's reading list early
    I recommend this to everyone I know who is pregnant - whether or not it's their first child. Women have a right to know what technology can and can not do in order to make "informed choices" about their birthing expectations and experience. (This is the "everywoman's" conterpart to Ms. Goer's more practitioner-oriented *Obstetrical Myths vs. Research Realities,* for any more "tech-y" or medically literate readers.)...more info
  • An Absolute Gem
    This is a classic. Rather than spout her birth philosophy, Goer analyses the studies out there, condenses them into layman's terms, and lets you choose what works for you and your birth. Don't think that you are going to learn everything you need to know in a hospital birth class. If you are ready to dive into the wealth of information out there, this is the book for you....more info
  • An ablsolute read for every mother and father to be
    This is one of the best pregnacy books I've read. If YOU really want to be in control of your body and your babys health, this book has the answers the hopitals do not....more info
  • The Book every pregnant woman needs to read!
    This book is AWESOME, it has so much great info in it. It literally covers everything that you might encounter in your pregnancy and birth and gives objective reviews about BOTH sides of the issue, not just one like most books do. It will tell you the pros and cons of every choice you make, and gives astounding statistics on the rates of c-sections and much more. This book is a must have for all of those wanting or expecting a baby, and for those doulas and midwives who want to learn more or just have a good book around to reference!

    Rach...more info
  • Great Book For All Women!
    One of the most needed books about women's health care during pregnancy, labor and birth. I highly recommend this book and or buy it as gifts for pregnant friends.

    ...more info
  • L&D Nurse and Doula says MUST HAVE!!!
    This is my #1 recommendation for any mother, no matter their background. This goes FAR beyond the layman's 'What to Expect' book offers. If you value knowing your options, this is a must read. Congratulations on your journey!
    ~ Every woman deserves a Doula~
    - HBP...more info
  • READ this BOOK
    All women pregnant, thinking about or trying to get pregnant must read this book. This book educates us on all the procedures and situations that arise during pregnancy and childbirth. It gives you the pros and cons - leaving you to decide what is right for you and your baby. ...more info
  • Great Source of Information
    I really like this book, it is full of information on Hospital Birth and this book is what made me feel confident enough to switch to a Birth Center...The author is definitley one sided but it has a lot of stats and good information....more info
  • Best Information on Childbirth Options
    I read this book from cover to cover, even the references have more information. If you want to learn how to have a healthy & safe birth, or if you are feeling a little bit patronized by your doctor, this book is vital. I especially liked the chapters on breech, IVs, risks of c-sections, episiotomies, and the intervention rate comparisons between hospitals, birthing centers and home births. It is very fascinating to learn that OBs and hospitals have made births less safe, and you can have a safe birth at home with a midwife....more info
  • Promotes thinking and consumer awareness!
    The points I want to make in my review are thus: the book doesn't expect you to necessarily go out and approach your childbirth with a prescribed way...but rather the opposite. It inspires you to do your own thinking instead of taking your doctor's/aunt's/mother's word for it. When reading it, it's one of those "things that make you go hmmmm"...which is why it's called the thinking woman's guide...
    Second, and this is probably the most important thing I got out of it, it made me realize that in choosing my OB, I am a consumer, and I have the right to seek out an OB who would support my VBAC choices and respect the fact that I had already made myself a well-informed person. The first OB I had chosen ended up to be the wrong choice...her protocol was definitely not proven to be the best avenue for a VBAC, something I learned through my research...and the doc I ended up with was far more knowledgeable on VBACs.The VBAC Companion: The Expectant Mother's Guide to Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I didn't use much out of Goer's book, but I'm thankful it gave me the confidence to make well-informed choices....more info
  • Even if you're not interested in homebirth (or can't have one)
    This book does a great job of looking at obstetric myths and realities and warning mothers about the various medical advice and interventions they will face; especially if you will be birthing in a hospital, read this to know what to expect, and what/how to refuse!...more info
  • An extreem portrait of American doctors
    While the facts maybe true, I felt there is no need to portray the situation in black-and-white (Doctors are bad, home birth is good). IMHO a thinking woman will not accept such a one-sided view, and will want to understand both sides....more info
  • This is on my "must read" list for all new parents- not to be missed
    It doesn't really explain the birthing process so it is an "advanced read"; read it only after you have a basic understanding of the birth process. The book really explains the pros and cons of standard interventions that occur in a normal hospital birth and how to make wise, informed choices for yourself. In my opinion, if more moms read this the c-section rate would be lower (without sacrificing a healthy baby and healthy mom) and women would be more inspired to take responsibility for their body and baby. There is so much good info in here!

    I only wish 2 things...1. that the book had been updated more recently (protocols, drugs, etc change a lot in the medical community so you may get a little bit of out of date info or run into scenarios that just aren't likely to happen nowadays)
    and 2. that there were a better description of how to get your care providers to discuss alternatives with you. It's one thing to read the book and understand her research on a practical level. But, the Dr. or midwife can throw some emotional ideas into the mix that can make Goer's points seem less important. (For example, I was planning a delivery without unnecessary interventions. Baby was healthy according to NST, FMs, and BPPs but Dr. said, "if you were my wife I would induce labor" since I was a few days late. No mom wants to risk her baby's health for her own desires. And no matter that I knew inducing was more likely to cause problems than waiting a few more days in my case the Dr. really was trying to play on the vulnerabilites and uncertainties of expectant parents.) All the common sense and book smarts can fly out the window when dealing with the emotional aspects of parenting. Goer should offer more information on what other alternatives there are and why they could be valid. The book does this but the format could be a bit more "parent/ user" friendly. Sometimes I worry that Goer makes things clear with, "this is what you should do and this is what you shouldn't do," but doesn't give a mom much direction.

    (Hope I didn't ramble too much- I kind of get on a roll when I am talking about childbirth. :))

    ...more info
  • Good for research information
    Like many other reviewers said this book is biased. The author gives this disclaimer at the beginning and how her purpose for the book is in hoping to revert her readers to her opinions and beliefs. I found it good for offering up research statistics and pros and cons of all interventions during childbirth. It's good to read and read other things and then decide what choices are right for you. ...more info
  • helpful, but a bit over the top
    I recommend this for finding a good base in understanding conventional vs natural birthing methods. She makes several good arguments for natural birthing methods and supports most of them with research. I found the book helpful in my search for information, especially the pro/con lists supplied at the end of certain segments. However, I felt that she went a bit overboard in some cases, almost resorting to scare tactics and guilt trips (on mother to be) in making her argument against conventional or mainstream methods....more info
  • evidence-based care
    This is one of the best sources of information about childbirth. The information presented is entirely supported by medical research--unlike some other pregnancy/birth books! It's a bit dry to read, but definitely worthwhile....more info
  • Not Eye Opening .... Eye Popping!
    I purchased this book on recommendation from a LLL friend (note: it is NOT LLL sponsored, though), when attending LLL classes with my pregnant sister. I had already had two babies - not in the US, but in England. I wanted to know what my sister's labor and delivery were going to be like so I could prepare myself (I was my sister's unofficial doula).

    I was intrigued and frightened at the same time. Labor and delivery in the US was a whole different ball-game than in the rest of the world and I did not like it at all (I was also gearing up for my own 3rd baby - to be born in the good 'ol US of A).

    In the US, you NEED to be your own advocate - and advocate for your unborn baby - otherwise, you will be steamrollered by the OBs and other hospital staff. Read this book! Knowledge is indeed power and you need this knowledge - and this power - if you want to have your baby your way, not someone else's. No one will volunteer this stuff - you have to figure it out for yourself. Empower yourself and you will have the birth you want, not a birth that is in time for your OB's vacation....more info
  • helpful info, but biased
    I bought the book based on the title and some of the reviews that I had read, expecting a book that would provide the pros and cons of different scenarios and allow the reader to come to her own decision. The book did provide some interesting info and stats, but it was so full of anti-OB rhetoric that sifting through the bias made it hard to come to any sort of informed decision....more info
  • Good but One-Sided
    This is an excellent book, well written, informative, obviously researched, and full of details, down to the names of the medicines used in birth. The problem is that the author is staunchly pro-natural birth, and this can make her writing seem very one sided. I used this book for a thesis, and her views were very interesting. But read this book with open eyes: it's an excellent book, but written with very strong opinions in mind. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just something to consider....more info
  • Alarming Info
    After reading this book, it is alarming the medical risks pregnant woman are unknowingly taking in the United States. I learned what routine medical interventions can do more harm than good. Now my husband and I can make informed decisions with full understanding of the side effects before the overwhelming time of labor. The book explains that sometimes the cure is worse than the symptom. My only warning is that the book can be distressing for pregnant woman who may have limited options for the birth and that it may be helpful if the husband, a family member or friend read the book. ...more info
  • For the Thinking Woman who wants a natural birth
    If you're anti-medical establishment and definitely thinking of having a natural birth, then this book is perfect for you. If, however, you're looking for an unbiased book, this is not the book for you. While full of helpful information, the author is very up front about being an advocate for natural birthing, and doesn't have much positive to say about medical practices or practitioners (OB/GYNs, hospital nurses, etc). For those who want a balanced look at both sides, this book doesn't quite cut it....more info
  • Too technical for me
    I didn't need such a technical guide..I was expecting it to be written freindlier....more info
  • Why the big chip on the shoulder?
    One of the most frustrating things about buying and reading parenting or pregnancy books has been the proseltizing, condescening, and dogmatic views so many authors take. Parenting books would have you believe any other parenting method than their own is tantamount to child abuse. Pregnancy books would have you believe drinking a Coke or dying your hair should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This book is the same - OB/GYNs are money grubbers who compromise what is best for mothers and babies, while midwives are all-knowing, altruistic souls who always do the right thing. The author makes no bones about it in the introduction. The author does quote studies, but uses studies showing negative benefit of some action or treatment to argue that the opposite must be superior - lack of data be damned. If you want a "thinking" guide, look elsewhere. If you need reassurance that "natural" childbirth is gonna make you and your baby superior to everyone else, go nuts with this one. ...more info
  • A must for all pregnant women, doulas and childbirth educators.
    What a wonderful book to read! The author covers EVERYTHING you need to know in order to make wise choices and empower your control during labor and delivery and make this special experience of birthing your child a pleasant one to remember. I love the fact that everything is backed up by researches. This book completely opened my eyes to what really happens in hospitals during labor and delivery. How emergencies are "created" unnecessarily by procedures that seems harmless to the mother or baby, but in reality make no sense most of the time. In the book there are more natural and safer alternatives to a lot of the procedures. The author also uses a lot of humor which makes the book fun and easy to read....more info
  • A must-read for all women
    This book is filled with information that never makes the news- after you read this you will cringe at most media representations of birth. I read it for my doula certification and I had a bias toward hospital birth before I read the book, and it has changed my mind. Every woman has the power to have a natural birth, and should be encouraged to do so even in a hospital....more info
  • Not what I was expecting
    What I was expecting with this book was a clear, unbiased look at various birthing options so a "thinking woman" could understand everything and make a good choice for herself and also more info on VBACs. This author considers a "thinking woman" to be one that wants a natural, unmedicated childbirth, attended by a midwife, at a birthing center or at home. If this is you, you can be assured that this book backs your stance and provides scary statistics to make you believe that birthing in a hospital with an OB is an irresponsible and dangerous choice at best. Although my plan for my birth experience was an "all natural" one and I can agree with this author's bias, I find the way she wrote this book, that I can't take it seriously and have actually returned it. I would highly recommend "Birth After Cesarean" for a factual look at VBAC (though I wish they had an updated version) and would look elsewhere for a "thinking woman's" guide....more info
  • Required Reading!
    This book is a must read for anyone expecting a baby or expecting to become pregnant. Henci is a thoughtful woman who had spent years researching her subject. She gives you nothing but the facts.
    This book has the information you won't get in most doctor's offices.
    Are you a thinking woman?...more info
  • I love this book
    I am about to give birth to my second (both homebirths), and I found this book very empowering. I recommend it to all of my pregnant friends....more info
  • Author was hung up on her own bad birth expiriance
    The author was hung up on her own horable birth expiriances right from the start she did not share her story till very late in the book but you already knew it when you got there. Not a bad book but very bias against VBAC even though the author trys not to be....more info
  • Eye opening!
    This book does a great job of both explaining the problems surrounding birth in the US today and then backing up the explanations with scientific studies. I felt angry after reading this book that I did not have it before my first child was born, I would have done things so differently. I also felt grateful that I found it had it before my second!
    Though childbirth is seen as scary, it doesn't have to be. Educate yourself so you don't have to deal with regrets! ...more info
  • Great reference if you are pregnant or planning to be
    This is a fantastic book, full of information - including the references to where she got her data from, which is very important. Some authors just pull stuff out of their... I mean, they make stuff up, or they may as well be if there are no references to provide the evidence for what they are saying.

    As for the criticism that it is "not balanced": I don't know what she was supposed to do. Say that there are some good things about routine episiotomy (when there aren't any)? Say there that from one perspective, it's good that almost 1 in 3 births in the US are by C-section (when of course it's not good)? The facts are the facts and they are unequivocably in favour of a more natural birth, when at all possible (which is the vast majority of the time). She provides the empirical evidence for this position. Try finding empirical evidence (not just somebody's word for it) that the US C-section rate is just right, or that routine episiotomy is necessary, or that women should not be allowed to eat or drink during the hard work of labour. Although something may seem like "common sense" to a doctor, that doesn't make it a good idea.

    Yes, it's wonderful that C-sections exist for the few emergency cases in which they are required. Obstetricians are wonderful for that kind of surgery. But midwives are empirically proven to be safer birth attendants at low risk births. There is no way to be more "balanced" than that.

    The book is getting a little old now, however, and for a more up-to-date companion, I recommend the wonderful "Born in the USA" by Marsden Wagner.

    If you're reading this while pregnant: Have a safe and beautiful birth for you and you baby!...more info
  • Could it be any more condescending? WHO exactly IS the Thinking Woman?
    I got mostly through the intro of this book and was immediately infuriated. I sent this book right back to the store.

    In the intro, it says natural is better, breast is best, I am not going to pretend that my goal is anything other than to convert you to my way of thinking. So hello? Who exactly IS this thinking woman? I don't think it's the reader because it sounds like they will be told what to think, period, end of story. I do not appreciate condescending tones in informational books. They make it emotional when I am purely in search of facts. It's true, I have never done this before and I am not an expert. But at the same time, I am not an idiot. I can read and comprehend. I can participate in discussions and form my own opinions and beliefs. Thanks for being straightforward with me, but I didn't buy this book to see one point of view. I bought it to see what my options were. I firmly believe there is no one right answer to all of this, and I would like the leeway to see all the answers in a factual way to decide what I want to do. I will do the best I can, but I will not be put into a mold, thank you very much! Not any mold. Not the modern woman's "give me drugs now" mold, and not the natural woman's "hypnobirthing" mold, probably not Bradley or Lamaze either. I will decide what to pursue after I am finished gathering information.

    I feel like it is CRUCIAL for women to get an overview of the various methods and to select a strategy based on whether it is something within their personality to do. Otherwise, I feel like it will be a waste of time when everything goes down as one will have to work as hard to "do the method" while already be working hard to get babies out.

    I would not recommend this book if you are on the lookout for multi-faceted, non-biased, factual information. Intead, check out "The Birth That's Right for You" by Amen Ness. That book really gives you the lowdown on the birth process and a lot of different points of view on how women might cope based on their personality. It isn't a side-by-side comparison on the different methods, but it is a realistic starting point and is chock full of information to better help a woman understand what she is in for....more info
  • The first 80% stinks; the last 20% is for "thinking women."
    Henci Goer's is the book recommended to any woman who needs an introduction to the pros and cons of birthing in a hospital using the medical model (OB is always right, epidural, episiotomy, c-section, etc). She is comprehensive, as you can tell from the Table of Contents. For every issue under the sun, she presents pros and cons. Although her only scientific background is her bachelor's degree and an unusual amount of reading on the subject, you do feel that she knows what she's talking about, in general. She has a bias, but she admits it upfront: she wants you to be afraid of turning your body over to a medical system that doesn't trust it and doesn't trust you, either.

    The problem with the book, what makes the first 80% of it so utterly unreadable to me, is how she presents her content. She divides the book into "prose" and "science." The last 20% of the book is all of the journal citations and her reviews of particular articles and their conclusions. The vast majority of thousands of journal articles she cites are all from reputable scientific journals, and that part of the book is worth the purchase price.

    However, the first 80% of the book is without footnotes. When she makes a statement, she'll say something like "studies indicate..." or "research shows..." without indicating what studies and which research. Not all research is good research. Further, without a specific citation, I cannot go back and double check her conclusions against the original research. This is a very unorthodox approach and smacks of not wanting to be proven incorrect on any of her points.

    If you're not a particularly critical reader of scientific research, this book will be perfect for you. But if you have any kind of scientific background or are a critical reader, I would read the last 20% of the book and leave the text to the others....more info
  • Demystify childbirth! You can make informed decisions!
    Some believe this book is too negative on hospital births or obstetrics care; however, the author says in the intro that she prefers the midwifery model of care (as do most expectant mothers). The reality is that many women who read this book may want a natural birth to take place at the hospital. If you were to watch the cable shows on childbirth, talk to all your friends who have given birth, you will find that what Goer presents in this book is the norm for what occurs in obstetrics care. So, if you are someone like me who wants a natural birth and the only feasible choice is obstetrics care and hospital have to realize that natural births are not the norm in this model. That's where this book comes into play. I now know what to (typically) expect at the hospital. I know why my Doctor might suggest interventions. I know the pros and cons of such interventions. I know where I'm willing to draw the line on intervention. Finally, I feel empowered to be my own best advocate in having the natural birth experience I want. I recommend this book to any expectant mother. Get informed! ...more info
  • Not fair balanced, a bit scary, but still informative
    This book is informative but it's so pro-natural childbirth that it tends to totally discount medical science and interventions. Although I feel childbirth should be a natural process and that modern medicine can interfere (mainly with precautionary measures), I still appreciate the necessity and value of obstetrics and medical doctors. Parts of this book are so extreme it seems as if the author feels obstetrics is a ridiculous and unnecessary medical field. It really turned me off to the book as a whole. It also seems that some parts were written to frighten people and make them suspicious of their physician/health care professionals, which I don't think is helpful or healthy. Other parts, however, are very informative and help you understand your options to help achieve natural childbirth. I think the book is helpful, but proceed with an open mind. . . and caution....more info
  • Biased because the facts are clear!!
    This book is incredibly well supported by tons of research, and roughly 1/3 of it is literature reviews for the research used. It's easy to read and ought to make women realize that childbirth is natural, their bodies were designed to give birth, and that the vast majority of women can have their babies without medical intervention. Birth in America is a travesty, most OBs don't know what normal birth looks like so they can't assist a woman in giving birth naturally. There's a reason that the US has such abominable birth stats - and that all the developed countries whose stats are much better use midwives for healthy women's prenatal care and births! ...more info
  • Excellent Book for the thinking Woman

    I recommend this book. Henci Goer wrote this book using research and statistics to provide the reader with concise, factual, easy to read information. Topics covered in the book include
    * whether to use a Midwife or a Doctor for pregnancy and birth,
    * Doula's
    * Testing
    * Epidurals
    * Episiotomys
    * Birth options
    * Breech babies
    * Electronic fetal monitoring
    she addresses the national epidemic of cesarean birth and so much more.

    Henci Goer is an award winning medical writer and international speaker specializing in birth issues. Henci has written Obstetric Myth vs Research Reality, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, she has also written consumer pamphlets and articles in various magazines. Henci worked as a Doula for over 20 years and as a Lamaze Instructor for 10 years.

    This is a great book to add to the bookshelf of a Labor Doula, pregnant woman and anyone interested in learning more about the science behind the tests, medications and procedures that are often used throughout pregnancy, labor and birth.

    This is a book that should be used as a resource throughout pregnancy.The insightful information provided will assist the reader in making decisions. This book provides the pros and cons to the medical procedures and interventions that are often recommended during pregnancy and labor.

    ...more info
  • Not an "All Approaches to Birth are Equal" Book
    You will NOT like this book if you're looking for a book that presents all options as being equal. You will not read, "When it comes to giving birth, you could do "A." That's a great choice. Or you could do "B," which is just as good. And then there's "C", and if you choose to give birth that way, well that's as good as "A" or "B"." Do not buy this book if you want all your "options" laid out as perfectly equal and beneficial choices for birth. The author clearly states that she is not "neutral" and that she is no more objective than anyone else about what makes for optimal care.

    The author clearly states that she believes that "midwifery care is superior to medical management for low- and moderate-risk pregnant women" and that obstetricians are specialists who should only care for women who have high-risk pregnancies. She claims that her book "establishes that the routine or indiscriminate use of medical tests, procedures, drugs and restrictions - the hallmark of obstetric management - does far more harm than good." This claim she backs up with an amazing amount of studies and research.

    This book will cause you to think about all the things you thought were "normal" and "necessary" parts of labor and birth. It will make you question why the huge majority of Western women are cared for by obstetricians and deliver in hospitals, when most of them have healthy pregnancies. And if the author accomplishes her goal, it will give you the ability to decide what is right for you.

    You WILL like this book if you believe childbirth to be a fundamentally normal and healthy event in a woman's life, not to be treated as a medical procedure that needs to be "managed." You will like this book if you want to learn how to avoid all unnecessary interventions and to start small when intervention becomes necessary.

    You don't need to be planning a homebirth with a midwife in order for this book to be beneficial. If you simply want to be empowered to have birth that is individualized to YOU, where your labor and delivery is respected as a personal experience, and where you have the right to make informed decisions about the procedures you and your baby are subjected to, read this book.

    If you want to play a more passive role in your birth and have it "managed" for you by a specialist, don't bother with this book....more info
  • good reference
    This book was recommended to me by my doula. I did not read this book cover to cover, but used it as a reference to look up various terms and interventions. It was nice to have some more info other than the typical "everyone does it so it must be safe" that I was hearing.
    In the end, my goal was a natural birth in a hospital setting with as few interventions as possible. To prepare for this, my husband and I took a 12 week Bradley course and read the book Natural Childbirth the Bradley way. I had a successful, natural delivery and was glad I had done all the research.
    I recommend this book for all pregnant women. Even if you plan to use more interventions than I did, you should still read up on any possible risks involved so you can make the best choices for you....more info
  • A challenge to thinking women
    I heartily recommend this book. Be aware, however, that it is not a "Giggles and Grins" kind of book designed to make you feel good (the Girlfriend's Guide and What to Expect books are good for those who are content turning over their bodies to the "experts"). When you have information, you are responsible to do something with it - even ignore it. If you are pregnant and you want to manage this normal and significant part of your life, this is a must-read.

    The author definitely has a point of view, and it is one that you are not likely to hear other places. This makes it more valuable for decision-making - you learn another side to the many issues involved in childbearing.

    It is well-worth the effort to read this book and follow the references. Newer studies are out and some other books have been updated or published reflecting their results. However, the conclusions drawn in this book are still valid, and you can rely on them.
    ...more info
  • Not for a woman who wants a medicated birth
    This book was very much against hospital births and epidurals. I didn't like that the author assumed every woman would want to birth HER WAY. An epidural birth can still be a very wonderful birth experience. I got to enjoy my medicated VBAC because I was not in any pain and I could concentrate on what I was there to do - push out and birth a baby. I know women who have done birthing both ways and they were successful either way you look at it. You can be a THINKING WOMAN and still have a wonderful epidural or hospital birth. Reading this book is fine if you want a home birth or an unmedicated birth. ...more info
  • NON Thinking Woman's Guide
    I got this book as a gift. Was extremely put off by the author's biased opinion. She goes as far to say that female doctors in obstetrics just follow the male herd's opinion and have no mind of their own. If you have a mind of your own, get a different book - one that will lay out both sides of the argument in a non-biased manner. Also, be mindful of the fact that the information concerning obstetrics in the book is at least 15 years out of date....more info
  • Solid Book if you are looking for info on natural birth
    Is this book slanted? Yes! All books are toward the authors's opinion. Henci Goer is obviously a natural childbirth advocate!!! If nothing else, this book aids parents in understanding what topics are controversial in the natural birth/labor process and has helped my husband and I know what questions to ask and what topics should be covered to be prepared for a natural birth in a hospital. I do not think it should be your only resource, but it is recommended if you are looking into natural childbirth. ...more info
  • Preachy and biased...
    I only give it 1 star because there are some informative parts. But mostly it was very preachy, anti-doctor/hospital and very one sided. "My way or the highway"-like.

    The author doesn't believe that a hospital birth is any good and the best way to birth is at home or a birthing center. Obstretricans are evil. All that stuff.

    There were a few moments of helpfulness when the author would discuss generalities or procedures...but other than that, useless. Borrow from a library but do not support this author!...more info
  • Great, informative book!
    I loved this book.

    The research is a little out of date, because it was published in 1999 (and it frequently cites sources from the early 90s), but from what I know of c-section and induction statistics, it is still very relevant.

    The author is very biased, but she admits it. (And her studies back her up! Anyone else read the appendices?) But I didn't feel like her biases overwhelmed her research. She even included sections about how to make make interventions more comfortable for yourself if you end up needing them. Meaning, she acknowledged that sometimes certain procedures (c-sections, epidurals, induction, etc) are necessary, and there are ways to make the experience easier on yourself. I found that very comforting and empowering.

    In short, I guess this book isn't for everyone. My doctor-trusting mom wouldn't like it, for instance. However, if you question medical professionals, especially when it comes to women's health, or want a completely natural birth and don't know if you'll be able to get one in a hospital, read this book. Knowledge is power. ...more info
  • Very Informative- but some things are not up to date
    A friend recommended this book to me. She was going the all natural homebirth route. I, on the other hand, will be delivering via hospital with the assistance of an epidural. I found this book VERY informative and honest. It it written by a Midwife, not an OB, so some of her views are a bit slanted toward MW's- which didn't really bother me. I think every woman should really know all of her options going into L&D and know ways to avoid a medically unncessary c-section. (If for nothing else, that chapter was worth the whole book for me!). It also lists all pros & cons for options during L&D. The only reason I give this book 4 stars, not 5, is because there are a few things she recommends/suggests that are totally out of date and behind medically. When I shared my Birthing Plan with my care provider after reading the book, I learned that a couple of the things the author highly recommended, our practice hasn't done- or seen done- in over 20 years! (such as limiting IV fluid, mediolaterally episiotomy, etc). So, just follow up with additional research by talking with your MW or OB when creating your Birth Plan and do not take Henci Goer's word 100%. This being said, I would still HIGHLY recommend this book for any first time mom... even dad!...more info
  • A little over the top, but good info
    This book provides the other side of the story as it relates to common birth practices in hospitals today. Definitely good information, but you can't take everything at face value. The author takes an emotional (angry) tone, and that emotion seems to have clouded some of her ability to be objective about the facts. Read it, and make up your own mind....more info


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