As you may have seen on the "about me" section of my website I am currently working on my certification through the Midwifery College of Utah. One of the books on the required reading list is "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" written by Henci Goer.
Writing this blog at the end of the year I can confidently say this is the best birth related book I read all year!
As a "thinking woman" myself I greatly appreciate how well researched and put together all of the information in this book is. It takes extremely important topics that I care about and puts them all in one place for me, and then if I have more questions or want to know more about one of the topics, I can easily reference articles from medical journals and studies where Henci got a lot of her information. The book is written in such a captivating manner that you hardly notice everything she says is backed by medical research.
The main theme of this book is that women are strong and capable of making sound, healthy decisions for themselves and their babies. With that frame of mind laid out in the introduction, the book reviews the following topics:
*The Cesarean Epidemic (one of my favorite topics is "how to avoid an unnecessary cesarean section)
*Full term breech babies (3-4% of all full-term babies are unable to settle into a head down position in time for delivery)
*Inducing Labor (including a list of common induction methods with pros and cons)
*IVs (she answers the question of "why can't I have food and water during labor?")
*Electronic Fetal Monitoring ("Even as studies failed to find EFM beneficial, usage steadily rose...")
*Artificial Rupture of Membranes (amniotomy) (can shorten labor by an hour, but what are the cons?)
*Slow Labor (How do we know if it is "slow"? And who decided that?)
*Narcotics and Epidurals (how to help a laboring woman decide whether to have pain medication was especially interesting)
*Episiotomy (What is it for? How is it done? Why?)
*Repeat Cesareans and VBACs (women should not be disqualified from VBAC because they have more than one prior cesarean section).
*Doulas ("If you want an expert to help you and your partner meet one of life's greatest and most rewarding challenges, you will have to bring her with you.")
*OB's, Midwives, and Family Practitioners (and what what to expect when you work with them)
*The Birth Place (a great comparison of hospitals, birth centers, and home births)
As you can see, Henci Goer covers many many topics that are likely on your mind, she answers questions that you are probably seeking answers to, and she does it in a way that encourages your own exploration of values and needs. It feels as though she is holding your hand as you research to find what will work best for you, showing you her library of information, but is not forcing you to make a decision based on her biases or feelings.