PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH, AND THE NEWBORN by Penny; Janet Whalley & Ann Keppler Simkin
Kirkus Star


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A comprehensive guide to childbirth from conception to the first few weeks of life--from a commendably non-medical point of view. The authors, a physical therapist and two nurses, are with the Childbirth Education Association of Seattle. Focusing throughout on issues of primary importance to parents, they present childbirth as a normal physiologic process; any departures, in the form of medical complications, are dealt with clearly but in perspective. Both physical and emotional questions are covered--with attention to the baby's, mother's, and father/family's needs. Discussing the decision to have a baby, the authors describe the transition in new parents' lives. They then proceed in detail through prenatal care; nutrition, exercise, and other health considerations during pregnancy; preparation for childbirth (no one method is endorsed); labor and birth (including medications); the postpartum period; caring for a newborn; and readying other children for an addition to the family. A real service are the extensive charts on parental options; with the information plainly set out, readers will have a fighting chance of making informed, rational choices throughout the process. (The possibilities for speeding-up birth, for instance, include gravity-enhancing positions; prolonged pushing on command; episiotomy; forceps or vacuum extraction.) All the information is up-to-date, and non-traditional practices are presented on an equal footing. (Midwives get equal time with physicians; warnings against coffee/caffeine consumption during pregnancy are followed by cautions against some herbal teas.) Solid advice from strong consumer advocates--with a slight edge, in different ways, over Shapiro (1983, p. 446), Sher (1983, p. 655), and Shield (1983, p. 764), the pick of the recent pack.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1984
Publisher: Meadowbrook