Sunday, September 20, 2009

Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein

I'm currently reading Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, a pleasant surprise from my local library. I love that they're getting current birth books; occasionally I'll forward them a list of books I think they should have on hand and I've had good luck with seeing them on the shelves before too long. It helps that I tell them that I'll be referring my clients to the library to find the books.

Oops, went off on a tangent there- hope it's helpful to someone anyway. :)

So I'm reading this book finally- I did see the Business of Being Born and I know that I will eventually own a copy and lend it to clients. I'm enjoying the book thoroughly; it tells the story that as of yet, I've not seen another book explore. Ricki and Abby do a brilliant job making the complex maze of maternity care in our country seem to make some kind of sense (even if it's not what you wanted to hear), without vilifying anyone. The maternity system is what it is - it's easy to point at everyone else as the reason but the reality is that we have all brought it to this place, and now we must keep shifting.

One thing I read that I thought had a great foundation (if only needing a few tweaks, for my taste) was talking to women about what questions to ask when you visit the hospital where you will give birth. Rather than asking questions that are easy to gloss over, "Do you have birthing tubs?", asking something more specific to what you want to know, "What percentage mothers use the tub for pain relief in labor?" It's easy to hear "Yes, we have tubs," and then run with the idea that if they have tubs, it must mean that they use them- but it may not necessarily be true.

This book isn't about what your uterus is going to do in labor, it's more like a handbook for navigating the political side of birth to get what you want. I know birth professionals have been quietly coaching our clients with this information, how to talk to your provider to find out what you really want to know, how to avoid routine procedures you don't want, how to ask for what you do want, how to craft a birth plan that will communicate effectively for you... it's a huge boon birth professionals to be able to point clients to this book - easy to both read and comprehend - and it's a boon as well to the women who will see a familiar face in Ricki, and pick it up just to hear what she has to say.