THE GREAT AMERICAN BIRTH RITE by William & Joanna Woolfolk


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A variously useful compendium of information on the acquisition, clothing, care, feeding, and (if desired) avoidance of children. A lot of this material can be found elsewhere, but the Woolfolks get it all into one manageable package. Somewhere between survey, expose, and consumer manual, this wide-ranging melange of topics and approaches presents statistics, interviews, generalizations, benevolent gossip (in the section on unwed parents), and advice. The Woolfolks cast a mildly skeptical eye on such lucrative businesses as baby food (too much salt. sugar, and starch), maternity and baby clothes (an unnecessarily inflated expense), diapers (they don't think much of the disposable variety), advice manuals (high praise for Dr. Spock), life insurance (they suggest term policies with provision for eventual conversion to cash value policies). The section on pediatric care intimates a surprising hostility by pediatricians toward mothers; the discussion of pregnancy and childbirth emphasizes the much-publicized rancor between tradition-minded obstetricians and increasingly combative patients. There's even a section on home birth and finding a midwife. Oriented toward those with a consumerist, beat-the-system attitude toward parenthood.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1975
Publisher: Dial