The Birth Book

My fifth (and last) required reading for my Labor Doula Certification and first required reading for my Postpartum Labor Doula Certification is The Birth Book – Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth written by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.  Fortunately, there are a couple of books that are on both lists of required readings, so I am definitely going to be reading those ones.  The way that I have chosen which books to read is by going on Amazon and reading the reviews.  Most, if not all, of the books I have picked have higher than a four star rating.  Anything four stars and under, I will most likely save and read at my leisure.  Again, I will also be making my posts while I read the book instead of waiting until I have completed the book … the task is less daunting this way and seems to help me absorb more as well.

So far, I am really enjoying this book.  I wasn’t sure that I would, but I have found that my thought process is pretty much running right alongside the information contained in this book.  Here are some quotes that have really stood out at me:

“Determining the birth you want and finding out how to get it is what this book is all about.  This is a system-fixing, not a system-bashing, book.”

“Being back in a hospital setting with this baby’s birth, we saw with fresh awareness how much still needs to be improved in the typical hospital birth.  For instance, the nurse in charge was very reluctant to allow our baby’s mother the freedom to choose her own comfortable positions during her labor, and certainly would not allow her to use any alternative position for giving birth.  After all, it would not be”convenient for the doctor,” the nurse insisted.  But this informed birth mother persisted, “Who’s having the baby – me or the doctor?””

“Ten Tips for a Safe and Satisfying Birth
1.  Trust your body.  By understanding how your body labors to give birth, and how you can work with it instead of against it, you lower your chances of having to suffer or be drugged to give birth.
2.  Use pregnancy as a time to prepare.  Preparing for birth means being “studied up:”  learning about all of the childbirth options available to you, selecting what best fits your birth-experience goal and your individual obstetrical situation, coming to birth equipped with a philosophy and a plan for the birth you want, and having the wisdom to be flexible to adjust if, due to circumstances beyond your control, your birth does not go according to plan.
3.  Take responsibility for your birth choices.  If you don’t, someone else will take over and make your choices for you.
4.  Formulate your own birth philosophy.  A woman who chooses to make full use of modern epidural anesthesia may feel satisfied with her birth experience.  Another woman’s dream birth experience may be a drug-free labor and a drug-free baby.  Both of these women achieved the birth they wanted.  Both deserve bragging rights.
5.  Choose your birth attendants and birth place wisely.  There is no one right place to birth a baby – only the right place to birth your baby.
6.  Explore the best positions for your birth.  There is no one right position for laboring and giving birth; there is only the one that works best for you.
7.  Use technology wisely.  For the majority of women, birth is not a medical matter; it is a natural, biological event.  If used wisely, technology can detect problems and provide solutions should nature fail.  If abused, technology can actually become the problem.  In birth, nature causes fewer complications than humans do.
8.  Learn some of the many self-care techniques to ease the discomforts of labor.  It is neither safe nor healthy for a woman to be disconnected from her sensations during labor.  Pain has a purpose.  It compels a woman to do something to relieve it, and in making helpful adjustments that help her baby’s well-being.
9.  Learn ways to help your labor progress.  “Failure to progress” is frequently cited as the reason for a cesarean birth – but the problem is usually avoidable.
10.  You can prevent a cesarean section – most of the time.”

“Note that in 1890 (as in 1990) there was no proof that births attended by doctors were any safer than home births attended by skilled midwives.  Mothers and doctors just perceived them to be safer, a perception that continues to this day.”

“Rather than dealing with the root causes of pain (fear and tension), hospitals played on the fear of pain and offered drugs as a way to cover it up.”

“The motto of the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA):  “Freedom of choice through knowledge of alternatives.””

“Over the past twenty years physicians’ premiums for malpractice insurance have tripled, as has the number of surgical births.  Doing what’s best for mother and baby used to be the basis for an obstetrician’s decisions.  Now the main objective seems to be staying out of legal trouble.  We believe that until obstetricians receive some relief from the fear of being sued and a better way is found to compensate birth injuries, mothers will not get the births they want.”

“The benefit to the consumer will be an upgrading of care as obstetricians, professional labor assistants, and midwives work together to give each mother the safest and most satisfying birth.”

“Taking responsibility for your birth decisions increases your chances of having a satisfying birth.”

“It took us three births to realize that, with all due respect to the medical profession, the majority of laboring women, especially first-time moms, need more than an obstetrician has to offer.  With our last five babies we had the ideal:  a midwife and an obstetrician working as a team.  We took the roles of each literally:  obstetrician means “one who stands by” and midwife means “with woman.”  One is not better or more qualified than the other.  They are different professionals with different philosophies and different roles.”

“The midwife’s philosophy is different from the obstetrician’s – not better, not less, just different.  An obstetrician manages labor; the midwife supports labor.  The obstetrician makes things happen; the midwife lets things happen.  The doctor trusts technology and is wary of nature.  The midwife trusts nature and is cautious about technology.  The obstetrician fears a birth may go wrong.  The midwife expects the birth will go right.”

“With an obstetrician-only attended birth, many mothers do not get the personal attention they pay for, such as in this birth scenario:  You enter the hospital in labor and are evaluated by the obstetrical nurse.  Meanwhile, the doctor is back in his or her office juggling the schedule hoping to be there in time for your birth yet relying on the nurses to keep posted on your progress.  The machine monitors your progress in the hospital, the doctor monitors your progress by phone, and a vaulable pair of hands is missing.  The [doula] will supply this missing ingredient.”

“Prepared Childbirth – meaning anything goes as long as mother has a positive birth experience.”

To see other posts regarding this book, click here and here.

~ by cmb0414 on April 2, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Birth Book”

  1. […] –  “Birth-savvy mothers who value totally unmedicated and intervention-free birthing have a new term for it – “Pure Birth.”  William Sears and Martha Sears, The Birth Book […]

  2. “Freedom of choice through knowledge of alternatives”….I LOVE this phrase!

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing Ten Tips for a Safe and Satisfying Birth.

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