Do a quick search on Amazon and you'll find thousands of books about pregnancy and childbirth (21,701 to be exact, according to my most recent search). You'll even find a ton rated at four stars and up! So how do you choose? You can read some of the reviews to see what others liked about the book. You can also talk to friends and family to learn what books they liked best and why.
Or, you can stop what you're doing, forget about spending hours researching the best book, and get your hands on Giving Birth with Confidence, 3rd Edition right now. Seriously though, this book is different (and I'm not just saying that because it's a book from Lamaze) -- and it's worth your time to read first. I wouldn't call it "the only pregnancy and birth book you'll need" because there are many other worthy books out there. But if you're looking for a place to start, this is it. And throughout pregnancy, consider it your North Star.
This book is for you if:
- You're planning to get pregnant soon
- You just found out you are pregnant
- You're about to give birth
- You want to know more about your choices in labor and birth
- You don't know how to choose a good doctor or midwife
- You want your birth to safe and healthy
- You feel confident about birth
- You feel terrified of birth
- You like to prepare
- You don't care much about preparing but figured you should read something
What I love about this book -- and I think you will too:
Giving Birth with Confidence isn't a medical textbook filled with jargon and diagrams; it isn't a book that catalogs all of the possible complications or pitfalls of pregnancy; heck, it doesn't even give you a list of what foods not to eat or how to time your contractions! Why? Because you can get that information anywhere, and frankly, it's not what is most important for you to have a safe and healthy birth.
Instead, authors Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, FAAN, and Charlotte DeVries take the best, current research on how to have a safe and healthy birth and present it in an easy-to-understand way, leaving you with practical and actionable steps put into practice right away. Giving Birth with Confidence uncomplicates birth, allowing you to feel empowered, informed, and confident rather than overwhelmed and fearful. The book's tone often takes on a feel of awe and wonder over the process of birth -- it's like listening to a circle of wise elders sharing information that's been passed down from generation to generation. The authors give us a peak into what we have inherently known for centuries about birth, and how that knowing coincides perfectly with best research on healthy practices for birth.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book are the many, many real-life stories and snippets from women who've been through it all before. You'll find birth stories, scenarios involving caregiver communication issues, reflections on various kinds of experiences of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and more.
From a more practical standpoint, I appreciated the many in-line suggestions for more in-depth reading on certain topics, as well as a the multimedia catalog of recommended resources in the back of the book. I also enjoyed the many sections that listed in bullet point form different choices and information, as that format always makes it easier to digest. The layout of the book also makes it so you can choose to read cover-to-cover (the first two chapters provide helpful information that lays the framework for the history of and current state of birth and maternity care) or jump around to get specific information quickly.
Here's what you'll get from reading this book:
Giving Birth with Confidence addresses the issues, actions, and choices that have the most impact on your birth outcome and experience, including:
- Choosing a caregiver and place of birth
- Understanding and how to prevent routine practices that may do more harm than good during your birth
- Effective communication strategies to get the safe, healthy birth you want
- Proven techniques to reduce labor pain
- An in-depth catalog of birth choices to review and include on your birth plan
- A healthy start to your postpartum period
- Specific food suggestions to fulfill needed nutrition requirements for pregnancy
- Demystifying the many different prenatal tests available
Giving Birth with Confidence breaks away from many of the standard "what to fear when you're expecting" style of pregnancy and birth books because it encourages you to rethink "standard." If you're making choices based on what everyone else does or because it's always been done that way, then it's not really a choice. Becoming informed on true choice, which is what this book provides, allows you to plan, prepare, and experience your birth from a place of power and likely, more peace, both of which help add up to healthier birth outcomes and a more satisfying birth experience. Even if you think you've read all the birth books you need, take a look at Giving Birth with Confidence -- you won't regret it.