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Paperback Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born Book

ISBN: 0802143245

ISBN13: 9780802143242

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

The engaging and eye-opening story of how we and our ancestors entered the world. Through the frigid, blurry January weeks after George was born, I found myself suddenly housebound with time to... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


I have read some of the reviews for this book and I also have read the book itself. As a childbirth professional, I would like to point out that the research itself if you read it and study it, almost always points in the direction of natural birth unless it is a high risk pregnancy. It is hard not to seem biased when the research points in one direction. I for one found this book interesting and I am happy that there is a mainstream book out like this for the public to read. Readers should take a look at the research that Tracy used to see for themselves.

Interesting read

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. My original intent was to save it for a plane ride, but I finished it before we left for the airport. It is a history of birth in America (primarily, though it does touch on different cultures and parts of the world). I should forewarn though that I am a pregnant woman who works in obstetrics, so I had a pretty strong pre-existing interest in this area. While it is clear that the author has a bias toward the "natural" birth, it was still primarily fact-based, and I found it to be quite interesting. I have recommended it to many of my friends and colleagues.

An outstanding survey, this moves beyond the usual medical focus into the lives and experiences of w

This history of childbirth is both a literary and a medical history achievement and belongs in any library strong in either medicine or feminist perspectives. It begins with the author's own family members' birthing experiences and moves to a history of childbirth from ancient ancestors to modern times, providing a concurrent review of changing methods, cultural influences, and childbirth experiences. An outstanding survey, this moves beyond the usual medical focus into the lives and experiences of women giving birth - many a public library will find it a popular acquisition. Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch

Superb coverage of a complex topic

Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, is a comprehensive tour through the (yes, appropriately titled, sometimes surprising!) history of how we are born. The impetus for the book was the author's mother and grandmother's birth stories, combined with Cassidy's own personal experience of a high-tech, modern-day birth that included all the bells and whistles typical of a modern visit from the stork. After her pitocin-augmented, epiduralized, cesarean birth, Tina Cassidy began asking herself, and others, if what she had just undergone was, really, the best for her and her baby. It soon became clear to the author that apparently straight-forward questions revealed unforeseen levels of complexity. Using the investigative curiosity of a seasoned newspaper reporter and editor, Cassidy soon found out that childbirth today, and childbirth throughout history, are complex matters involving religious overtones, societal mores, historical reflections, passionate beliefs, economic incentives, medical advances, political agendas, and polarized opinions on all sides. Some of the questions addressed in this book include - Is childbirth really better today than it was a decade, or a century, or a millennia, ago? Are you better off giving birth at home or in a hospital? Are you better off with an obstetrician or a midwife? Is cesarean section really just another "lifestyle choice" or should it be reserved for truly life-threatening circumstances? Should everyone (or anyone) get an epidural? What - really - is the function of pain in labor? Should everyone (or anyone) be induced? And did you know that raw placenta makes a mighty fine cocktail ingredient? (P. 219 has the full recipe. Cheers.) The answers reflect the remarkably complex nature of maternity, now and historically. However, Birth does not give the answers to these questions - because these are questions for which there is not one correct answer for all women. But Birth does frame the issues so the reader can understand why an essential act that is required for the propagation of our species has become mired in controversy at virtually every turn. Extensively referenced, historically accurate, full of fascinating gems, and drawing on the wisdom and insight of a wide assortment of authoritative figures in today's childbirth arena, Birth is a must-read for those interested in, as the title says - the surprising history of how we are born.

Wonderful, I just hope people read it!

I think one of the reviewers of this book is confused about this book and the difference between the midwifery model of care for a normal, low risk birth and the medical model of care. The author is not idealizing midwives she is simply biased towards the midwifery model of care because of her experience with the medical model. I know of many women who have had similar experiences with the medical model. There simply isn't enough personal attention and support, especially for a first time mom giving birth with this model of care. From my own experience, (with a midwife and a doula as well as my wonderful partner) my first birth was very similar to many of the stories I hear, except I had the support of a patient midwife and doula who were willing to sit back and wait. After pushing for a few hours my midwife suggested a different position to try and with the help of my partner, doula and midwife I pushed out my 9-pound baby boy without a tear. We discovered that his head was molding off to one side or asynclitic, he was essentially "stuck". I very much believe that if I had been under the medical model of care with a nurse coming in offering an epidural every half an hour my son would have been born by cesarean. Instead I had one of the most empowering experiences of my life. One of the first things I said to my husband was that pushing was so difficult and that I really had to focus my energy on one specific area, which my midwife was kind enough to point out to me. I would not have been able to push him out if I wasn't able to feel that area! So there you go. Yes, perhaps some of us are biased towards the midwifery model of care but for good reason! I'd also just like to say that there's a pretty big difference between a healthy American woman getting regular prenatal care and a woman in the third world. I don't know of any one who doesn't appreciate that hospitals and surgeons are available to us, we just want to use them when they are actually needed! Any way just read the book for yourself and come to your own conclusions!
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