Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An amazing pro-birth book
on September 19, 2001
There are two kind of women out there: Those who want a traditional doctor who will "take care of everything for them" along with a traditional hospital birth with lots of medication options and an episiotomy, and those who want something more personal--who want their own body to do the work, who want help from experienced women and who want an intimate, memorable experience they can share with their partner. This is a book for the second type of woman. Those who are a little more, ahem, "traditional" should get "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (a book that I happen to think treats women like morons). "The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth" is an amazing, amazing book. It is so pro-family--talking about the importance of including husbands and even other family members if you should so choose. I am baffled by the anti-man comments in another review...this book is so incredibly pro-husband! In fact, it is my own husband's favorite pregnancy book. I'm also baffled by the criticism of waterbirth. Yes, the book does touch on waterbirth, which may sound strange to a middle-American, but is a very popular option in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle and other modern American cities--as well as a popular option in England, Canada, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, etc. That said, the book also objectively--Kintzinger does no bashing--discusses hospital-style procedures such as forcep deliver, episiotomy, epidurals, etc. Kitzinger is a big believer in having supportive, experienced, compassionate people around you, which is why she is such a fan of midwives, but she also discusses how to find such support in the hopsital among nurses and doctors.She even has pictures of a woman giving birth in a hospital using physical positions other than the flat-on-the-back position we all associate with hopsitals. As for the alcohol criticism, it's true. Kitzinger does say alcohol is okay in very small amounts. Before you get all hot and bothered, it's important to remember that Kitzinger is a European, a Brit. Having had personal, direct experience with French midwives, I know that not every country shares America's belief that women need completely abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Most European midwives and doctors do say small amounts of alcohol are safe once you're past the first trimester. (In fact, I was told by a French doctor to have one two three glasses of red wine each week to "strengthen my blood" and "raise my iron levels." So go figure.) As for alcohol units, an earlier reviewer's translation isn't quite correct: In Britain a unit isn't an entire glass of wine, bottle of beer, etc. It's more akin to a half-filled small wine glass...what would only be a few ounces. Something to think about before everyone starts witch hunting! It's important to remember that not everyone wants the kind of hopsital births their American mothers had--and to appreciate that there are terrific options out there for us all. This book is a godsend for those of us who prefer options!