Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging break and books to read

We're out of town visiting family over Thanksgiving week, so I am trying to limit my time online. Don't expect much here until we're back home.

If you want some good reading material over the holiday, I'd suggest the following (all of which I am currently reading, and most of which I hope to review or discuss in the near future):

Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship by Kathleen Fahy, Maralyn Foureur, and Carolyn Hastie. Some of it is very very theoretical--even a bit hard for me to get through--but I especially loved the chapters on birth territory and on mindbodyspirit architecture. I'd highly recommend this book, and a few of the chapters in particular, for anyone designing a maternity wing or freestanding maternity center.

Proactive Support of Labor: The Challenge of Normal Childbirth by Paul Reuwer, Hein Bruinse, and Arie Franx. I challenge you to read the whole thing, cover to cover, before reacting to what they're saying. When I realized the authors were promoting the Dublin version of "active management of labor," I had the impulse to stop reading or at least to argue against it in my mind as I read. But I read the whole thing and found myself intrigued and challenged by their arguments. I'll write more about this book in the future, but their approach made me realize that the "birth spectrum" that so many in the birth world tend to talk about--ranging from a medicalized "technocratic" approach on one end, to a midwifery or "holistic" approach on the other--is sometimes entirely inadequate. This book, for example, promotes a style of maternity care that really doesn't fit anywhere on the spectrum. Some of the proposed practices might be seen as very medicalized, while others are extremely concerned with the woman's subjective, emotional experience of labor, of helping as many women as possible have spontaneous, vaginal, and non-traumatic births. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book once you've read it.

Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America by Jacqueline H. Wolf. Just started reading this today and I am loving it. A very thorough, nuanced, fascinating examination of obstetric anesthesia in the US, from the early days of ether and chloroform to modern attitudes about epidurals and the value of labor pain.

Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth by Mark Sloan. I haven't read this yet, but it's next on my list.

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen at the Lamaze Conference, and I loved her presentation about the Seven Natural Laws. She was kind enough to send me a copy of her book to review, which I hope to get to soon.

I'm also watching Orgasmic Birth for the third time over the break, in preparation for writing a review of the film. I hope to show it to several sisters/sisters-in-law (and perhaps an adventurous brother-in-law?) and see what they think of it. I also will feature an interview or Q&A session with the filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro.


  1. Yay...more books to add to my wish list!!! (I already have about 25 books on it.) I own Breastfeeding Made Simple. It was my first breastfeeding book. I learned a lot from it and still enjoy referring to it even now!

  2. Thanks for the book recommendations! I've heard of Breastfeeding Made Simple but not the rest. I need to watch Orgasmic Birth.

  3. Comment not related to post:
    Just wanted to let you know I posted a link to your blog on my most recent blog post.

  4. Oh, lovely! I've already requested that my library pick up the first two (my own book budget is currently used up), and now I'll have some others to suggest as well. Thank you!

  5. My mother bought me a copy of "Breastfeeding made simple" - it was the only breastfeeding book I used during my 18 month nursing relationship with my son. I loved it. The only minus was the lack of an index - it was really annoying to have to flip through every page to find the "mastitis" section, for example. But otherwise it was clear and full of good, helpful information.

  6. The first 2 are quite expensive, so definitely ILL them.

  7. I own "Orgasmic Birth" and have watched it several times. It wasn't what I expected when I first watched it (neither in a good or bad way), so I am VERY excited to hear your thoughts on it!


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