Monday, August 16, 2010

Best Birth Book Review

I just finished reading Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake (yes, you read that right) and Abby Epstein. I originally wanted to read this book because I wanted to know more about my birth options - both traditional (i.e., methods typically used in a hospital setting) and natural. The tag-line, "Know all your options, discover the natural choices, and take back the birth experience", sure sounded promising.

Although I think this book did cover all the bases the tag-line suggests (from obstetricians to midwives/doulas, from C-sections to fully natural birth, from hospital births to home births, and everything in between), it was far too biased for my liking. Even though the authors repeated statements that implied any decision is the right decision as long as the mother (or couple) knows all the options, it definitely gave the impression that natural birth is the way to go for everyone.

The authors tended to use scare tactics and statistics - not referenced in the text (although there is a list of references in the back) - to help push women toward the natural birth methods. Now, I do understand why they are doing this. After all, most of the information out there is biased the other way (against midwives, natural/home births, etc.), but I was hoping they wouldn't stoop to the same tactics.

What I was hoping for was to read positive birth stories that encompassed all types of births. That, if a woman made an educated decision, the birth would be be a good experience (no matter what methods she decided to use). Most of the book did not meet my expectations in this regard. However, I did enjoy the last section (Take Back Your Birth), as it seemed more in line with what I was hoping for.

I do think the overall idea of this book is a good one, but I think it could have been done with a more positive outlook, using less scare tactics, and have properly cited references. I'd rate this book 2.5 out of 5, but I would recommend it as a starting place for women who really want to know about their birth options.