Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein Lake and Epstein start this positive and empowering look at birth with explaining how even a woman in love with her Tylenol PM could want to try for a natural birth, and their own birth stories. It’s first and foremost about opening up choices about birth, including choosing your place (hospital, birth center or home), care provider (OB, GP or midwife), and back-up team. (They even suggest finding a doula first, who can help you pinpoint your birth style and direct you to doctors and midwives in the area who share your philosophy.) Though they don’t hesitate to point out that the U.S. is at the bottom of the world charts in terms of maternal and infant safety during birth, they focus more on what women can do than on the depressing statistics. They talk about what interventions are out there, risks, and when they are really appropriate. The C-Section chapter talks about both medically unsound reasons to do them as well as ways to make your c-section as gentle as positive as possible if it turns out that you do need one. They talk about communicating with providers and hospital staff, birth for survivors of sexual abuse, different (and more American-focused) birth class/philosophy options, and postpartum care. They include profiles of “birth goddesses”, including birth activists, celebrity moms who opted for natural births, and regular women with amazing births.
One review I read (Library Journal, I think, but maybe Booklist) said that since the authors seemed to think that hospitals cared more about avoiding litigation and following hospital policies than individuals, this shouldn’t be the only book libraries carry on the topic. I would really like to know where the reviewer gave birth to come up with a different opinion on modern birth. This book reflects the reality of modern birth in America, from my point of view and the many other mothers I’ve talked to. And it does it in a way that will leave you feeling more informed, confident and excited about birth.