Book Reviews by ICAN

By: Nancy Wainer Cohen

From the co-author of Silent Knife, this book revisits cesarean prevention, planning for VBAC, and setting yourself up for the birth you want.

By: Penny Simkin, et al

A complete pregnancy and childbirth guide on the market, The Complete Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn has established itself as a leading prenatal training manual with nearly 350,000 copies sold since 1984. A preferred alternative to What to Expect When You're Expecting, the revised and expanded edition includes the information on risky pregnancies, in vitro fertilization, new medications and anesthesia, and more.

By: Jennifer Block

This up-to-date book takes a critical look at the active management (as opposed to expectant management) of birth in the United States and other parts of the world with many well-researched statistics and facts mixed with a sensible approach. The author asks important questions about why birth has become so medicalized and presents the answers to this from parents, organizations, and professionals, providing important insight on the subjects that most influence fads in the management of birth. Just who are really making the decisions- women, or the medical profession? What are the reasons behind these decisions- evidence-based safety, or convenience and liability? Are cesareans really safer than vaginal birth, or is the active management of medicalized birth what makes vaginal birth less appealing?

By: Lynn Madsen

Madsen's book focuses on an aspect of childbirth that is all too often ignored: the emotional aftermath. Few women planning a pregnancy or anticipating childbirth would dispute that the birth of a healthy child is their primary concern. Even when this happy outcome is achieved, however, the process of childbirth itself can wreak havoc on a woman's emotional and physiological well-being--especially when unforeseen medical complications or interventions change the expected course of labor and birth. This book is a crucial resource for women working through a traumatic birth experience.

By: Sheila Kitzinger

Bestselling author Sheila Kitzinger, the world's foremost birth educator and activist, explores the universal experience of pregnancy and childbirth in this splendid book, beautifully illustrated with hundreds of photographs. With an intimate, informative style that both enlightens and engages her readers, Kitzinger looks closely at feelings and emotions in pregnancy, the physical and spiritual experience of giving birth, and the bonds that are traditionally formed between mothers and midwives.

By: Nancy Cohen & Lois Estner

Often referred to as 'the bible of cesarean prevention,' Silent Knife discusses both the technical and emotional aspects of a cesarean and of Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Written in a style that leaves you feeling as if you're having a conversation with the author, readers often find within the pages a safe place to process their birth experiences, and learn how to plan a birth experience with a high likelihood of satisfaction and a low likelihood of needing surgical intervention.

By: Ina May Gaskin

Famous midwife Ina May Gaskin and fellow midwives talk about their role in starting up The Farm (a hippy commune in Tennessee) and how they learned about assisting birth. The first section details the experiences of parents and midwives during the birth experience. The second section is a technical manual for midwives, nurses, and doctors. Includes information on prenatal care and nutrition, labor, delivery-techniques, care of the new baby, and breast-feeding.

By: William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.

In this helpful resource guide, the Searses teach readers what they need to know to take control of their own birthings. The Birth Book is divided into three parts: "Preparing for Birth," "Easing Pain in Labor," and "Experiencing Birth." You'll find details about vaginal births; cesareans; VBACs; water births; home births; best birthing positions; drugs; pain; how to design your own birth plan; the humor, chemistry, and sexuality of birth; and pages and pages of birth stories.

By: Penny Simkin

A must-read for anyone who will ever be providing birth support, The Birth Partner looks at important ways a support person can aid and encourage a laboring mother. Some topics discussed include preparing for birth, the stages of labor, what to expect from the birth attendant, information on interventions, and tips for emergency situations.

By: Rosen & Thomas

The assumption that a cesarean delivery is safer than vaginal birth is a myth. Dr. Mortimer Rosen and freelance writer Lillian Thomas use numerous examples from Rosen's three decades of practice and experience to help determine when a cesarean is necessary, when it is unnecessary or unwise, and when the decision is a judgement call.

By: Maureen Connolly and Dana Sullivan

This book helps women to know what to expect with a cesarean section, touches on both the physical and emotional aspects of healing, gives suggestions for pain management, and also provides a section on post-cesarean workouts. Although this book does a good job of providing general information, 'The Essential C-Section Guide' is anti-homebirth, without providing any evidence to support why they make such a stringent recommendation. ICAN believes that it is an individual woman's right and responsibility to make an informed decision on which birthing environment is best and safest for her and her baby. Please refer to the White Paper on Choosing Your Birthplace, found here: Otherwise, the tips for healing can be incredibly helpful.

By: Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries

The Official Lamaze Guide is an accessible read that contends birth is a normal, healthy process, increases confidence by mythbusting the current cultural norm that pregnancy and birth are inherently filled with risk, utilizes evidenced-based, accurate and up-to-date information on common interventions and their effects (that mom and baby are often put at increased risk).

By: Common Knowledge Trust

This multi-media kit (including an audio cassette, VHS video, and book) is full of essential preparations for your birthing body. This kit provides you with the knowledge you need to understand your unique body structure and how it works. The exercises provide practical, realistic ways to prepare yourself for the amazing experience of childbirth. Once you've mapped your pelvis, done the important hip lift and rocked your sacrum, you'll discover how the slightest tension can block flexible movement of your bony structure and soft tissue. Using the kit you will learn how to relax this tension and create more room for your baby. The more you do, the more you'll know, the more confident and self assured you'll feel.

By: Michel Odent

Why do all cultures ritually disrupt the first contact between mother and new-born baby? Why has there hitherto been an evolutionary advantage in developing human potential for aggression rather than the capacity to love? Until recently love was the realm of poets, artists and philosophers. Latterly it has been studied from multiple scientific perspectives. Michel Odent argues that the specialist approach has overlooked the importance of love as a potential new strategy for human survival, and that the old survival strategy, the domination of nature and other human groups, is no longer appropriate. By weaving together data from a multitude of disciplines, Michel Odent is able to offer a number of insightful and exciting explanations, and makes the case for the adoption of radical new strategies for human survival.

By: Henci Goer

Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. This book helps you compare and contrast your various options and shows you how to avoid unnecessary procedures, drugs, restrictions and tests. A popular favorite that helps you learn how to take charge of your birth!

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