Couples contemplating childbirth at home will find both basic information and unbounded encouragement in this quite personal...

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HOME BIRTH

Couples contemplating childbirth at home will find both basic information and unbounded encouragement in this quite personal report. Gilgoff covers most contingencies, from medical issues and legal considerations to hot water and ice chips, and even suggests ways of answering tactless inquiries. Like Suzanne Arms in Immaculate Deception (1975), she repudiates the medical approach to childbirth, the ""hospital mentality"" which serves doctors instead of patients, keeps mothers passive and newborns out of reach, and she champions the role of the midwife or other experienced birth attendant (with emergency backup available). And, like most recent observers of pregnancy and childbirth, she criticizes American obstetrical practice: high cesarean rates and routine episiotomies, the required lithotomy position and little personalized care, the widespread use of drugs and fetal monitors, and, until recently, the preoccupation with weight gain rather than nutritional values. Consumer pressure, she avows, has already influenced hospital policies, but no hospital has the built-in advantages of home, glowingly described here. Her tone, however, will dismay some readers: as in Immaculate Deception, midwives are invariably ""selfless"" and informed while doctors and nurses are uppity and ignorant. Also, some claims are outsized and unsubstantiated: Gilgoff believes that separation of mother and child in the hours after birth ""may cause the permanent mal-adjustment of the new child, the family, and even society as a whole."" A concise listing of danger signs might have been included, especially for first-time parents. Overall, though, a usable and heartening reference.

Pub Date: July 7, 1978

ISBN: 0595007430

Page Count: -

Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1978