Book Reviews

This last week I finished reading The Best Birth by Sarah McMoyler and Armin Brott as well as Easy Labor by William Camann and Kathryn J. Alexander.

The Best Birth book is currently one of my favorite childbirth books. McMoyler and Brott spent a lot of time discussing how husbands can be involved in the birth process. In addition, they covered various pain coping methods including both natural methods and medication options. I felt like this was one of the most balanced books I’d read. It seems like many books try to push either all natural childbirth or just assume you’ll choose an epidural. I liked that the focus of this book is “healthy mother, healthy baby” and however you choose to get that result is okay. McMoyler also has a DVD called The Best Birth. Unfortunately, it’s not available in any libraries but I liked her book enough that I’m probably going to go ahead and buy the DVD. The only downside I encountered in the book is they didn’t recommend using doulas. The reason given is that your husband should be providing the support that a doula usually does. She also mentioned that some doctors/hospitals are uncomfortable with them. However, this isn’t true in my case, I’ve already checked.

I’m a little nervous about only having my husband to help me through labor. I know the nurses and doctors will be there to help me but they need to split their attention between me and all the other women on the maternity floor. It would be nice to have another person focusing just on me and my husband. Instead of hiring a labor doula, McMoyler suggestions hiring one to help with postpartum care. This does make a lot of sense to me but at the same time I think I might want additional support during the labor. I haven’t decided one way or the other yet. I’ll probably need to discuss this with my husband more and see what he thinks. In any case, I would have appreciated it if the book covered where a doula would fit in if you wanted to have one with you.

Before reading The Best Birth, I read Easy Labor. This book had a lot of information especially regarding pain medication options. It did include descriptions of Lamaze, the Bradley Method, Hynotherapy, and more but I felt like most of the space was devoted to pain medication and other possible medical interventions. Even though I didn’t like it as well as The Best Birth, I think it provides the most thorough information about pain options. Even if I decide not to use pain medication, I think it’s useful to understand the pros and cons so one can make an informed decision since it seems labor almost never goes according to plan 🙂 Camann and Alexander were also featured on an episode of Pregtastic. I really enjoy listening to the Pregtastic podcasts as they have many experts on to talk about pregnancy related issues as well as the chance to hear many womens’ birth stories.

3 thoughts on “Book Reviews

  1. Mandy

    Thanks for sharing the book reviews. Last spring I read “Baby Catcher”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s written by a midwife about her experiences, many at home deliveries, but some in the hospital as well. I liked that each experience was different, and that it thus points out that each patient and their styles and needs are different. I think I learned a lot just from reading her experiences.

    I’m going to try to borrow “The Best Birth”.

    Two of my close friends have given birth recently. Both had planned to use a midwife with a hospital delivery (different states though). Both deliveries were early and not as expected, and both ended up being delivered by physicians. The first girl said you don’t need birthing classes because the nurses-midwife will tell you everything you need to know. The second girl said that no one told her anything of what to do and she was clueless because she hadn’t taken any classes or done much research. I know that’s not the case with you.:-)

    Midwives recommend doulas, but I didn’t know hospitals are uncomfortable with them. After reading “Baby Catcher” it seems like many times women know what women need in labor and delivery more than men do. I always thought I would just want my husband there, but now my mind is open to the idea of maybe having a woman helping me as well. Regarding hiring help afterwards – I know that’s something my husband can handle, and if he’s away at work or running my errands, my family is certainly close enough to help me with whatever I might need. I’d rather have the help for the actual labor.

    As another aside, I’m curious what you thought of the Bradly method vs lamaz. I’ve heard some say Lamaz doesn’t really do anything and is useless. I know little about the Bradly method, but am interested in it. I don’t think I will be able to take a class in it here before our birth though, so I might just have to read the book about it.

  2. Kiesa

    I think doulas are becoming more and more acceptable in traditional medical establishments. None of the hospitals in our area have a problem with them but we also live in a pretty liberal part of Colorado.

    I suspect that Lamaz works very well for some people and not for others (I think Jaeger’s mom used Lamaze and it worked for her). I’ve liked almost everything I’ve read about the Bradley method. It seems to have a much more holistic approach to childbirth than a lot of other methods. For example, I believe they often cover nutrition in pregnancy, not just stuff that happens at the actual delivery. One of my former co-workers loved the Bradley method (she had 3 children with it). However, from my understanding, they are strongly against any type of medical intervention so I’m not sure their philosophy fits with mine. I’m kind of a hoping to have a good review of the common methods so when the time comes, I can pick the one that feels right to me 🙂

    It doesn’t seem like there are many classes that teach the Bradley method and the ones that do are pretty expensive (of course, the classes tend to last longer than the other methods also). I was thinking about getting a book that talked about it. However, the husband involvement is really important and I’m not sure I could convince Jaeger to read it so I’m not sure how much good it would do. I looked for DVDs discussing the Bradley method but didn’t find much available.

  3. Mandy

    I think the husband involvement is important too, and that’s something that I need to consider as well. My husband hates reading, so the chances of him reading something about birth is next to impossible. My brother and his wife said the class idea is good because the husband gets the same information as the wife in that setting, and that makes sense to me. The person who teaches the Bradley method here is having a baby soon and there was some doubt whether she’d offer another class before my due date, but I haven’t called to check yet. I like your idea of gathering lots of information to choose what’s best for you. I keep saying (especially about pregnancy and birth) that information is power. I put in a request for the next available copy of “The Best Birth” at the library, and I’ll try and get my hands on the Bradley book as well.


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