The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

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Product Description

As an intelligent woman, you are probably used to learning as much as you can before making major decisions. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions of your life--how you will give birth-it is hard to gather accurate, unbiased information. Surprisingly, much of the research does not support common medical opinion and practice.Birth activist Henci Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth helps you compare and contrast your various options and shows you how to avoid unnecessary procedures, drugs, restrictions, and tests. The book covers: * Cesareans * Breech babies * Inducing labor * Electronic Fetal Monitoring * Rupturing Membranes * Coping with slow labor * Pain medication * Epistiotomy * Vaginal birth after a Ceasarean * Doulas * Deciding on a doctor or midwife * Choosing where to have your baby * and much more . . .

Customer Reviews:

  • Empowering and full of valuable information
    Henci Goer's book "The thinking woman's guide to a better birth" is an amazing book to say the least. The author does not hide her mission which is to provide the reader with information that the mainstream medical establishment refuses to tell you. It has tons of statistics and information that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. It also has tons and tons of additional information and references if you wish to do further exploration. The mainstream medical establishment views pregnancy as something a woman must be saved from and women are taught to believe that giving birth must be a high tech, traumatic event. This book empowers women with information, knowledge and most of all options that you won't find anywhere else. It reminds us that women have been having babies,( and continue to do so almost everywhere else in the world,) in a low tech and non-invasive way with much fewer complications then with high tech medicine. ...more info
  • Great and Empowering Information for All Pregnant Women
    This is a great and very informative book. I highly recommend it to all pregnant women. As stated by many other reviewers, this book is biased. I believe that the bias is based on fact though and not just opinion. Women today should be made aware of the facts regarding today's "traditional" birth that can include IV's, epidural, episiotomy and often a C-section. I think we tend to over-trust doctors without doing our own research. In the last 50 years modern medicine has basically reinvented birth in the United States and turned it into a medical monster requiring tons of intervention. A quick look at birthing traditions before and still today in other countries can really open our eyes to the misleadings of medicine.

    The book covers all the major topics associated with giving birth and lists the pros and cons very clearly with cited references. The specific numbers that Goer lists are several years old but those numbers still continue on the same trend today. The theories and wisdom in her book haven't changed. I would recommend reading this book especially if you are planning an OB delivery in a hospital so that you are educated and can make your own decisions on the birth that you want to have. This book is empowering and educational!...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
  • "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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Far too negative
    I was expecting this book to be not only informative, but empowering to women and positive. It is informative, but so so negative with it's scare tactics about what "really goes on" in a hospital it sounds like it was written by a man. I am choosing to have a natural birth, but I choose to for other reasons, not because I have been frightened into it by now knowing what goes on the medical way. At the end of the day, I have to be open to the possibility of cesarean if it is required and would like to remain positive about that. Reading this book left me disappointed if I was to have a C Section. Don't waste your money or time with this book. Ina May's Guide to a natural birth is not only extremely informative without the negativity, but SO SO wonderfully empowering. It left me looking forward to the labor experience and provided confidence to trust my body. Still the best pregnancy book I have read....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
  • 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
  • Wonderful Read
    An excellent, straightforward pregnancy book for the woman who wants to consider all of her options - without an OB breathing down her neck! Very informative and helpful....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • opinionated bias - do not buy
    i was looking for a good educational book on options during and for childbirth. This book was so negative against actual medical professionals (in OB practice). I couldn't get past the first chapter it was so bad. ...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • What I think...
    This book is a wealth of infomation about birth and the pros and cons of different interventions and routines in the birth process. However, it's biggest fault is making one feel guilty about choosing a hospital birth. But if you want to know how to avoid some of the routine medical procedures and stuff like that this book is a must. ...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Awful Bias opinions
    I was very disappointed with this book. I had initially bought it thinking that I would get facts, but instead I found that it is based on someone's opinions about how they feel everyone should give birth. I would like to get my $10 if it were possible since it was a waste of money that went against my beliefs....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Do NOT give birth without reading this!
    This book is phenomenal. It is so well written, wonderfully structured, fascinating & not difficult to understand. In addition to details on the risks of certain procedures, the book includes helpful facts on how to improve your own outcome.
    Goer says she is "biased" towards natural birth & that made me reluctant to purchase the book at first. However, I think she's wrong - I don't consider that a "bias". That is like saying a nutritionist is "biased" towards eating fruits & veggies! Her "bias" towards natural birth is based on FACT, not personal opinion... *unnecessary* interventions carry risks that natural birth does not have. It's just fact.

    READ UP!!!! OBs are still doing dumb, senseless things like telling women they can't drink during labor. Even world-class hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins Bayview here in Baltimore, still does this. FIND OUT what the policies are & select a caregiver who practices based on the SCIENCE... not tradition! I'm so glad I did. (& switched out of Hopkins.)...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A must-read for all pregnant women!
    This is a wonderful book - a pleasant relief from the doom-and-gloom of what to expect books. It is well documented with references from medical literature. Birth can be wonderful if you are prepared!...more info
  • Wonderful, almost complete resource for expectant parents
    This is the book I wish I'd had when I was preparing for my first birth. It's a hefty, fully supported resource for informed decision making, covering nearly every situation a birthing woman might face. I was initially put off by the title, wishing it had simply been called Guide to a Better Birth (aren't all women "thinking" women?) But since the author challenges mainstream thought and medical dogma at every turn of the page, perhaps the title is fair warning: prepare to put on your thinking cap!

    Henci Goer is upfront about her bias toward natural birth, and after reading this meticulously researched book it's hard to imagine how anyone could come away not fully convinced. She methodically demonstrates how many of the complications and dangers associated with medically micro-managed pregnancy and birth are iatrogenic (doctor caused) and avoidable.

    I was particularly inspired by the clear information in support of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, pronounced V-Back) and the way the author gets right to the point: "The VBAC-lash is a particularly glaring instance of doctors abandoning their duty to patients and opting to look out for themselves at their patients' expense." (p. 166) Every woman contemplating elective or repeat cesarean needs this information. Goer makes it clear that cesareans, while necessary in some cases, are being done too often and are always a risky choice, never to be entered into lightly.

    My only criticism is that she doesn't delve deeply enough into Group Beta Strep (GBS). Goer states that between 10% and 30% of healthy women are colonized with GBS. But she doesn't tell the reader what GBS is (a normal part of some people's body flora) or stress the point that colonization is NOT the same as infection. She tells us what the CDC recommends: screening for all women at 35 to 37 weeks and routine antibiotics in labor for all GBS positive mothers. She ends the section by saying, ". . . the fall in GBS infections in preterm infants has been more than offset by a rise in deadly, penicillin resistant E-coli infections." Unfortunately, she leaves us with that chilling thought, and offers no alternative ideas about how to approach GBS. Since colonization is so common, there will be many mothers who want to know about alternatives to antibiotics and how to further minimize the already low risk of infecting their babies. There are natural, holistic remedies for reducing or eliminating beta strep colonization and protecting against infection. She also doesn't mention that babies sometimes develop GBS infections in the hospital even after their mothers test negative for beta strep. Since about a quarter of women will deal with group B strep and possibly have it affect their birth plans, I wish Goer had treated it with the significance it deserves.
    ...more info
  • good information
    I think that this is a no fuss way to describe things. It doesnt beet around the bush on information that is important. A must for any doula or wanna be:)...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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Just a good book.
    I do like this book. I am pro homebirth etc IF that is what the mother wants, most of all, I am pro birthing choice.

    Anyway, I didn't find the book was telling me what to think, it was giving me information, I could either take that information or ignore it, simple really.

    I would much rather have some idea about birth and the intervenions including the possible side effects and go into labour informed, rather than go into labour having no idea about things or only the basics and wonder why x, y and z went wrong (unfortunutely, due to unnecessary interventions, my first birth was pretty damned rotten, I wish I had had this book back then).

    Anyway, read the book (in its entirety) and use the information as you best see fit. ...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
  • 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
  • Good information, negative tone
    I didn't enjoy this book at all. I thought it had great information, but it was conveyed in such a negative light. The medical profession was portrayed as evil bloodsucking beings who want nothing but to ruin your magical birthing experience and damage your baby. I stopped reading it because while I want to be informed, I also trust my doctor. I had a fabulous birth experience in a hospital anyway and my daughter is not a fire monster....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
  • 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
  • Very well researched
    I am preparing for the birth of my first child. My husband and I are both from academic research backgrounds, and do not give much weight to any "data" which does not have a legitimate scientific source. This book was exactly what I wanted in a birthing book: real facts from someone who knows how to review medical literature. I do not have access to all the medical journals and wanted someone to synthesize the information for us. Henci does this.
    Yes, she is admittedly biased against the hospital model of delivery. She states this openly in the introduction, and invites you to read on with that in mind. This book does not offer any advice on pain management, meditation, hypnosis, etc. But what it does do it is give you scientifically sound peer-reviewed research to support your decision to go natural. This helped me commit to natural delivery, and now I'm reading other books for help with the HOW. If you're like me and want someone to present you with the SCIENCE you need, read this book. ...more info
  • awesome info.
    This my fourth pregnancy so basically my fourth time around reading childbirth books. It is the best book I've read. I absolutely love the literature summaries. I would highly recommend it. I was having a hard time finding a book that wasn't geared toward first or second time moms. This is def. a good read no matter what child you're having....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
  • 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
  • Informative, but an eye-roller
    First, I must preference that you have to read this book with blinders on. The author does not hide the fact that she is very much in favor or a completely natural childbirthing experience and that she does not like hospitals and OBs...and that's that.

    The good points about this book are the ideas that you don't HAVE to have medical interventions for your labor, even if you labor in a hospital. Most of the time, the docs don't HAVE to break your water, you don't HAVE to have an IV drip, you don't HAVE to have Pitocin... If you've never been around hospitals much, it's nice to know that you do have a choice. This book bring that point home.

    However, in my opinion, this book was just a to anti-medical for me. I studied the sciences in school, and I know that there comes a time when 1000's of years of medicine are better than the "old ways." As I read the book, I skipped a lot of the text where the author goes on about how each procedure is unnecessary and sometimes plain wrong. Granted, sometimes OBs get a bit too antsy about giving out meds and speeding up your labor, but a quick chat with your OB before delivery should make that a moot point. Most doctors want what the patient wants -- a delivery that satisfies the mother's idea of a good birth experience -- and are willing to listen to what the patient wants. It's all about communication.

    Bottom line...if you'd like to know more about the different procedures and interventions that can happen during L&D, then this book is good. But read it like the title tell you, as a "thinking woman." It's up to you to make your own judgment about each procedure and how you want your birth to be. Talk to your OB about what you read and then form your opinions. ...more info
  • Smart way to get ready
    This book is great! It really answered a lot of questions regarding epidurals, IVs, and other medical procedures that are used during labor. I feel more educated about the decisions I have made for my birth plan....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
  • Excellent!!!
    This is a must have for all pregnant women! I will be buying this book as a shower gift for now on!...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
  • Inform yourself, but check the copyright year
    I chose not to purchase this book based, ironically enough, on the positive recommendations. It sounds as if this book may be in need of an update, as episiotomies and other interventions are no longer 'routine' in many places, and many hospitals work cooperatively with midwives and doulas. Anesthesia has also changed a lot in the past 8 years since this book was published. While it may be good resource for prompting questions to your OB and hospital, it would be best to look for more up-to-date facts. I have found that this is true of many of these 'expecting' type books....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
  • 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
  • Best book ever
    Thank goodness for A Thinking Woman's Guide. I mean really folks. Finally a book that talks about the science and keeps it in perspective with risk. I'm glad that Goer is the statistical researcher that she is. Great book. Highly recommended. ...more info


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