Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (medically updated)

My goal this year is once a month is to post on a new birth or mothering book that i have read or am reading. To start off the year I wanted to share with you one of my new favorite pregnancy guides, it’s called Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (medically updated)

The book covers topics from the pregnancy itself to prenatal care, nutrition, drugs, medication, environmental hazards, excercise, planning for birth and post partum, perceived Pain, Labor, interventions, Cesarean birth and VBACS, Labor medications, caring for baby, breastfeeding, and siblings and birth. 

I felt that the book itself was a great overview of pregnancy and everything it includes. It didn’t go into a ton of detail as a 1st time mom might want when wondering what is happening each week or month of her pregnancy. 

My favorite part of the whole book was the chapter on pain in childbirth. I loved that it refered to pain not as a guarantee but a product of the birthing moms perception. It lists factors that could create pain in childbirth such as fear, media, stories from other moms, reduced oxygen supply, general health of the mom, size and position of the baby, freedom to move about, fatigue, sense of aloneness and security. The book goes onto say that with proper preparation, personalized comfort measures, and strong labor support the perception of pain can be diminished and even nonexistent.

Besides assuring women that pain isn’t a necessity and is purely perception there were two other areas that i marked as very informative.

The first was on childbirth education classes. The book explains the different types of classes, the how when and who of starting each class. It explains how in the 1980 childbirth education began to moved from private individual educators to the hospitals. Along with this the classes shifted from the 1970s philosophy of natural birth to more of an endorsement of hospital practices and philosophy. This continued into the 1990s as common OB practices began to include episiotomies, IVS, and labor drugs became more widespread. Also as time passed and peoples schedules busy these classes also became “crash courses” and important concepts such as “informed choice were de-emphasized, as was training in self-help and non-drug methods of pain relief.” I found this to be rather interesting, that with a change in the most easily accessible childbirth classes also came a change in birthing practices. what would a change the opposite way do? What would happen if classes like Hypnobabies and Bradley who emphasize informed consent and labor preparation became more accessible and available in hospitals, what would then happen to the birthing philosophy of our country?

The Last topic that i wanted to share that touched me about this book was its discussion of induction. The thing i liked about this book was that it wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, it didn’t give the same version of pregnancy and labor that you find in most books, the books that protect and defend hospital policies and the idea that labor is somehow an awful thing. instead this book promoted the idea that labor is what we want it to be, and that we should make our own choices about what labor should be. So when i got to inductions i was excited to see what it would share about valid reasons to induce  and not induce labor.One of the reasons the book offered up was size of the baby, which “hope has not been borne out in scientific investigations” due to an error margin of “as much as 10 percent”. Other reasons convenience for mom and doctor, and medically necessity. But the book does also note that a lot of times an induction will be done because there is no clear reason not to induce, generally this is done between 37 and 42 weeks. But it warns that….

1) babies have their own “feto-placental clock”, this influences the baby’s readiness, the difference between a few days or week(s) of maturing before birth could be beneficial to the baby’s health or brain development.

2) induction is NOT risk free and the risk of cesarean are higher for those who are induced, especially in first time moms and for those women who aren’t effaced or dilated.

3) induction could be a much longer, painful, and more laborsome process then waiting for your body. inductions can take anywhere from 6 hours to 3 days, usually require other interventions other than the induction medication, a lot of times there is no food for mom, and contractions can be on top of each other leaving no time for rest.

Well those were my favorite parts of this book, but i would recommend reading it for yourself, there is so much more valuable information in it. It seemed to me to be pretty straightforward and not incredibly bias to either birth choice, it just presented pregnancy, childbirth, and newborns in a very straight forward manner.


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