ICAN Book Club: A Good Birth – Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D.


Every second Wednesday, our blog features a book review as part of our Book Club series! Check here to discover the latest books on topics such as pregnancy, labor, postpartum, and recovery from birth. If you have read the featured book or if you just finished a new and exciting book, please feel free to leave your comments and title suggestions below or email blog@ican-online.org.

A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience 


Dr. Anne Lyerly interviewed more than a hundred women to identify five common themes about childbirth that can lead to a “good birth,” no matter the circumstances or mode of delivery. These concepts are Agency, Personal Security, Connectedness, Respect, and Knowledge.

In the book, she focuses on how to prepare and recover from a birth experience by understanding these core concepts of birth. Through understanding the emotional and mental hurdles birthing women face in these categories, Dr. Lyerly feels a woman can come to a deeper, more meaningful knowledge about the hows and whys of her own birth, whether it is upcoming or past. Birth has unexpected circumstances, it has risks, and it cannot be controlled but by acknowledging the emotional and mental aspects of that prior to birth, or after if necessary, a woman can come to a peace and less traumatic view of her birth story.

Many ICAN members, unfortunately, experience traumatic birth circumstances and it is one of the main reasons women find ICAN after a birth. In order to support recovery from a cesarean, planned or unplanned, it is vital to acknowledge and understand the emotional and mental trauma and Dr. Lyerly has really made that her focus – since birth circumstances cannot be controlled and planned for every possibility, in order to experience a “good birth,” it is important to have a foundation of knowing yourself, your guidelines, and your expectations in each of her five categories to find that positive and profound experience all women deserve.

I definitely recommend this book for all members who are struggling with unexpected birth circumstances – whether it is the need to plan for a cesarean or if it is just acknowledged as a possibility – knowing beforehand how you want to approach your birth emotionally and mentally goes a long way to lessening any potential trauma. If a woman is struggling with a traumatizing or just unexpected birth outcome, this book will help her on her journey to finding the positive in her birth story.

Reviewer: Amanda Beck, ICAN of Vancouver


Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD, MA is an obstetrician/gynecologist, researcher, bioethicist and author. She practiced general obstetrics and gynecology for more than a decade at Duke and Johns Hopkins before joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics and Professor with appointments in the departments of Social Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In her writing and research, she tackles morally complicated issues in women’s health and reproduction, always trying to always bring the viewpoints of those most affected by how medicine is practiced to the debates that surround their care. AnneLyerly.com

1 Comment

  1. Tina Stanley October 8, 2017 11:49 pm  Reply

    As an ICAN Chapter leader, I wish there was an easy way to share this on our Facebook page. Is there? I don’t see how to do it. Thanks, I like this feature!

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