sign me up for that c-section!

Being a rather speedy reader, last night I read about half of this book I just bought: DELIVER THIS: MAKE THE CHILDBIRTH CHOICE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU by Marisa Cohen.

It's a very friendly book, a la the Girlfriend's Guide series, and it attempts to avoid judgment of various childbirth choices at all costs. This is a laudable goal in many ways, but the problem is that she's talking about serious medical issues, like elective c-sections. The "judgment" is in the research, which is pretty voluminous on a lot of the topics she covers in the book, but instead of analyzing all this research and giving readers the facts (or her informed opinion based on the facts), she just throws a study in here and there at random and draws no conclusions. Without good, solid info about this stuff, women aren't actually making "choices" at all, but are instead just gettin' along and going along.

If I knew nothing about childbirth, and this were the first book I read, I would definitely conclude that any woman who does not sign up for an epidural -- or perhaps even an elective c-section - before she even hits the last trimester is slightly, well, nutty. Actually, even though I do know a lot about childbirth, the book still left me wondering why I am even considering anything other than a standard hospital birth.

See, I had an epidural with all 3 of my previous births. Two went very well, with no problems. But number three went horribly awry, and left me with back pain and a lump on my spine for two years (of course my doctor refused to believe it was the epidural that caused the lump or the back pain). So this time I am thinking I would like a waterbirth, preferably NOT in a hospital, but after reading most of this book last night, I am feeling slightly insane for even considering such a thing. In the book, women who have a home birth, or even an unmedicated birth of any type, are portrayed as being slightly and unhealthily paranoid (about doctors and hospitals) and just plain different from "normal" women. The book makes it sound like only a wildly eccentric woman with a chip on her shoulder and the endurance of a marathon runner would even consider an unmedicated birth.

As for c-sections, she makes them sound pretty damn appealing. Recovery sounds like no big deal, compared to the horror of the pain of a vaginal birth, and the risk of complications are minimized.

I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has read this new book and hear your thoughts. Comment below.


dewi said...

"maybe the reason we all feel such an elevated level of risk when it comes to childbirth is that we are constantly bombarded with scary stories about what can go wrong."

Hi Kate,
The above is a quote from Amazon that the author posted this week.

You should post your excellent review on Amazon. It seems the author does not have a clue her book is contributing to the culture of fear mongering surrounding birth.

Michelle said...

I've not read the book and I'm fairly certain it would make me crazy if I did! :) Sadly it sounds like she didn't include much of the research supporting homebirths and their safety (as safe as, and sometimes moreso, than hospital births). Even willy-nilly, some of those tidbits may have gone farther toward making hers a fair and balanced book.

Anonymous said...

A voice from the other side...

My labor-class teacher said births with anesthesia "just weren't the same" -- i.e., not as good.

Women get TONS of pressure to do the natural thing. I know many who copped superior attitudes because of how they gave birth. And there's plenty of propaganda that says the anesthesia crosses the placenta, which it doesn't.

Those of us who had happy births with anesthesia are rarely validated. With my first birth, I didn't know what I was going to do. And after laboring with no progress for 22 hours, I got the shot. My daughter was born two hours later. I did the same thing with my second child, and have no regrets.

People really should be able to choose their method of birth. Anesthesia is not a failure. A C-section is not a failure. Many women and children have died during childbirth, and I am very glad people have as many options as they do. The goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Anything else is a lot of hot air.

Jane and Sydney said...

hay Mizz katie ...I just wanted to say hi....So hi !!!! ♥ ~SYDNEY~ ♥

Anonymous said...

Haven't read the book, but I really dislike the whole "women's bodies are DIFFERENT now" theory of childbirth.

Sheesh. Ignore the idiots, stick with real research, and trust your gut.


Anonymous said...

I have not given birth, so I'm not sure how much my two cents is actually worth, but when that happens down the road, I'll definitely do it in a hospital with anesthesia. My family has a history of problems with birth, and I don't want to take the chance of doing it any other way and then having to rush to the hospital maternity ward if there are complications. Most of my family ended up having to have a C-section for safety reasons. I hope I don't, but if the doctor says I should, I'll do whatever I can to make the birth safest for my baby. But every woman and her body is different, and you should always chose what's best for you.


Anonymous said...

Katie, Does the auther work for any pharmaceutical companies? Worth checking. A confident, natural-birthing mother makes a terrible consumer. Read Penny Simpkin's book. Read Ina May Gaskin's book: "Your body is not a lemon!" Your body-trust and pregnancy-joy will return. Best wishes, pregnant sister.