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on May 17, 2004
This book makes "What To Expect When You're Expecting" look like a cookbook. During my first prenatal appointment, my midwife suggested this book to me and I thought it would be another pregnancy book in the library of childbirth; but it truly stands out. Oddly enough, I, my sister and 3 good friends are pregnant at the same time. I've looked through their books with lots of questions, they looked through this one and couldn't believe how informative it is! I found that other books are very scary when it comes to little things that happen during pregnancy, but this book helps you realize that EVERYTHING that is happening to you is natural, wondering, can be expected and what to do about it (except the truly serious subjects i.e. miscarriage). It conquers everything from conception to reinstating sex after birth, even grieving processes if you've lost a pregnancy or gone through still birth. If you truly want to have a pregnancy book that doesn't stir a panic with every symptom, a book that allows and encourages you to enjoy every minute of this wonderful time, this is the book for you.
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on November 18, 2003
That is 5+++++++++ ......

I purchased this book as an informative book to help me with my first pregnancy .... it is a very detailed, thorough book and I felt it a great help during my pregnancy as my partner and I followed the week by week pictures and information so that we knew (how or rather) what our baby was up to!
Pregnancy should be a straightforward process but unfortunately it is not always that way and you definitely need to be able to refer to information that can help you in an emergency.
When I had spot bleeding in my 7 month of pregnancy I went straight to the section in the book that talks about spotting and what could be happening and it encouraged me to go to my local hospital which was very, very, very fortunate because I was actually in labour and my baby was coming!!!!!!!!!!
Without this book for guidance I may have had my 3 month premature baby at home and she would never have survived! I thank this book for it's existence and wonderful advice! For this very reason, I recommend this book to any first time mums .... or any expecting mums out there .... just so you know, I chose not to read the section on "things that can go wrong" in your pregnancy but thank goodness it was there because I really needed it in the end!
Goodluck in your pregnancy and good reading, Kristina
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on January 7, 2000
I bought this book while alone and pregnant living in Japan. It was with out a doubt the most informative book I read. I first bought what to expect, stressed myself out trying to eat by their meal plan, and was really offended by their bordering on racist remarks about beliefs of other cultures ( such as sleeping with babies or using babycarriers.) Kitzinger's book helped me to feel confident that I was healthy and able to take on the challanges of pregnancy and childbirth. I did not think that she was too new age in fact she opened my eyes to medicated childbirth as well as water births. I remember reading the part about alcohol, and I feel that it comes from a British perspective. I think that in the U.S. people tend to take things to extremes, and I do not think that having one glass of wine or beer is harmful. If anything I think that it is better to mellow out with a glass of wine then to be stressed out through out one's pregnancy. All in all this is the book I recomend to everyone, the pictures of the different childbirths are themselves worthy of buying the book. The last thing that I would like to point out to the person who wrote such a nasty review is that Shelia Kitzinger is a mother of 5, and an anthropologist who studied childbirth practice all around the world. I think that she is quite qualified to write a book on childbirth.
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on May 25, 2002
I bought almost every pregnancy book around and this is THE one I felt was the most balanced. It doesn't preach to you that there is ONLY one way; it presents the facts and offers good advice. It doesn't leave you feeling cold and remote from the whole pregnancy experience; it actively involves you and empowers you. I can't understand why anyone at all would buy the "What to Expect" series - they just made me feel incompetent, inept, and uncomfortable. This book was obviously written by someone who want to share what an amazing experience pregnancy can be.
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on July 24, 2002
After reading these reviews here I bought and read this book during the last 3 months of my first pregnancy. It lived up to my expectations and then some. The bonus was that my husband also got a lot out of it and he said he wished he had read it cover to cover much earlier. Note: he decided to start reading it while I was in the early stages of labor at home, he said the "cramming" helped him tremendously to be a better birth partner and I have to agree with him.
If you find many of the birth books out there a bit patronizing or superficial ("what to expect...") and if you want to consider alternative or natural options for birthing without having them shoved down your throat then this book is definitely for you.
For me it offered the perfect combination of information (detailed) and anecdotes so that it was fairly easy to read. Having said that, if you are looking for cute baby pictures and a "sound bite" style of writing then this may not be the book for you. It is for those that are willing to invest some time reading and thinking about how they want to manage their own pregnancy and birth experience. Some may find a few of the photos of women giving birth rather direct, but hey that is what childbirth looks like and it certainly helped me to deal with my fears and expectations about the event.
In the end I had a natural childbirth(on a birthing stool) that I felt in control of and would not have changed anything about. I am sure that my positive mindset had much to do with the preparation I did reading this book. If I have a second child I will pull this book out first and put away the others.
There is nothing man-hating (my husband would have picked up on that in a heartbeat) or anti-Dr about this book. She just presents the facts and information as they are without bias. The fact is that the rest of the developed world (outside the US) has significantly lower C-section rates, medicated birth rates etc... and just as low infant mortality rates so maybe we should listen up and learn something from our European friends?!
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on July 28, 2000
When I became pregnant with my son, my cousin loaned me this book to read on pregnancy and childbirth. I loved the information that I gleaned. This information allowed me to make decisions on the kind of birth that I wanted. Although Ms. Kitzinger mentioned obstetritions and midwives as caregivers without too much bias either way, I decided to switch to a nurse-midwife halfway through because my desires were more in harmony with her philosophies. Due to this book, I was able to approach birth and labor without any fear and although the twelve hours of labor were hard, my drug-free birth was extremely rewarding. I didn't have an episiotomy, experienced only a small surface tear, and I was able to function without any pain after about three days. My recovery time was very fast and I felt so good. Knowledge is empowering. As for those people who have reviewed this book as extremely biased, well I doubt they have read anything except "What to Expect When You are Expecting". I assure you there are books so much more biased that you can consider Ms. Kitzinger's book more akin to an encyclopedia on pregnancy and childbirth. In response to a reviewer above a drug-free labor for many hours will not make you too tired to push. The urge to push is completely instinctive and it would require more strength not to push. I promise that a 15 centimeter head can fit through an opening that does have the ability to open more than 10 centimeters. Just to emphasize the point, my sister-in-law just delivered a 9 lb 4 oz. baby boy with a surface tear that only required four stitches. Just as Ms. Kitzinger suggests, our bodies are capable of childbirth without intervention and allowing the natural processes to occur, will in most cases, create a safe and extremely rewarding birth.
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on April 22, 2000
I recntly attended a baby shower with three generations of woman who each have had several children. After talking with them and many elderly women in my community about pregnancy and childbirth, I feel incredibly luck to have this book available to me and other women in my generation. It was only a short itme ago when these women had no books to read about this subject and if they were lucky they had a pamflet giving the most juvenile and conservative information. During my own pregancy just one year ago I found this book to be the most helpful and validating to my own opinions.
I have read many books regarding getting pregnant like Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I have read books about being pregnant such as What to Expect When You are Expcting, The Complete Book to Pregnancy and Childbirth, and Your Pregnancy Week by Week.I of course have also read many books about parenting ranging from Dr.Sears Baby Book, Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child to the Baby wise series and What to Expect the First Year and Toddler Years. All these books have valid points and intersting ideas. To be educated and well informed you need to read all sides, views and ideas!
Shelia does a wonderful job giving a well rounded scope of information pulling from all resources available. As an anthropologist or even if she were a doctor she gave us a knowledgable and well designed book reagring such a wonderful experience as preganacy and childbirth! I found it to always be my favorite general information book during my pregnancy.
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on March 26, 2000
I just don't understand all these reviews that says that Ms. Kitzinger hates men and doctors! I found nothing in her book hateful! She may be a tad pro-natural birth, but probably only because she had natural births herself. Honestly, I thought she was VERY unbiased. She presents all of your different options for location of birth, pain medication versus natural methods, waterbirth, etc., in a pretty neutral manner. And some of the things that she says about doctor's visits is VERY TRUE, such as the woman feeling like she's on the birth mill. I feel that way at regular doctor's appointments sometimes when I sit for 45 minutes and the doctor sees me for a hasty five minutes. Who doesn't feel like they are on a medical assembly line when this happens?
She also talks to you like you are a competent adult capable of making informed decisions instead of a drooling idiot, unlike SOME pregnancy and birth books (What to Expect When You're Expecting comes to mind.)
Oh, and by the way, for that reviewer down there who thinks that waterbirth is backwards and New-Agey and uncommon; I think you would be surprised to learn how many women from all walks of life are now choosing this method of birth. It's not just for hippies in tye-dyed clothing, like you seem to think it is. And it is very safe.
First-time mothers, if you want to know all your options and weigh the pros and cons of each choice you will have to make regarding pregnancy and birth, GET THIS BOOK. Also try Dr. Sears "The Birth Book". Pregnancy and birth are not diseases, and you ARE competent enough to make your own choices regarding them.
Enjoy your pregnancy and the birth of your baby!
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on October 11, 1999
I've read a lot of books about childbirth while preparing to give birth, and I got this one because my midwife specifically recommended I read "anything" by Sheila Kitzinger. Of all the books I've read, this one ranks as one of my two favorites.
I like the author's attitude about birth: it is a natural, normal physiological process in the overwhelming majority of cases, and should be treated as such.
The pros and cons of drugs and other interventions are also presented, and while Ms. Kitzinger is undoubtedly pro-natural, I really would not say she is anti-doctor (as some have claimed). She is anti-routine-intervention, and anti-unecessary-intervention, but otherwise I feel that she's simply presenting facts for readers to consider.
As the only way to make an intelligent, informed decision about your body and your experience of birth is to be informed, I feel this book goes a very long way toward providing necessary and helpful information to women and their partners.
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on September 29, 1999
Ms. Kitzinger's book was recommended during my childbirth class and is very helpful in its description of medical terms, procedures, and fetal development. Looking at the other reviews, I, too, thought that there could be no way any pregnancy book would condone drinking alcohol during pregnancy. However, I went home and continued reading the book and came across the section on drugs and was horrified to see that she does. After talking about the potentially harmful effects of alcohol during pregnancy, Ms. Kitzinger goes on to say that most women can drink moderately and have "perfect babies". She says to limit yourself to 10 units of alcohol per week and spread it out during the week; one unit being a glass of wine or half a pint of beer. That sounds like an awful lot of alcohol even if it is spread out during the week, who should take the risk? I don't have the book with me so I don't know what page exactly but it was in the section about drugs during pregnancy. Besides this, I agree with most of what Ms. Kitzinger says and truly enjoy the pictures that illustrate different positions to take during labor, and relaxation exercises. Like any other book, take the information that makes sense to you and discard what doesn't. Still a valuable book.
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