Book Review: Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Childbirth

complete-idiots-guide-to-natural-childbirthI’m sure y’all know this already, but I’ll state the obvious anyway: There are a lot of parenting books out there.  Like, billions.  If you have the misfortune of wandering into the parenting section of the bookstore, you’ll probably react the same way I did: Raise your hands in surrender and back away slowly.

So, I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve read recently.  Some of the best books I’ve ever read were recommendations from other people, so I thought I’d throw my opinionated hat into the ring too.

When I was preparing to bring Aidan into the world, I started searching out natural birthing resources.  Everyone raved about “The Business of Being Born“, so I watched that.  It didn’t really float my boat, seeing as how it was literally steeped in bias and near-dogma, so I thought I’d back the truck up and instead of looking into why I should do natural childbirth (because everyone’s got their own hang-ups about labor and the only hang-ups that really matter are your own) I’d look into how it works.

I’ve always loved learning, and I tend to cope better with things when I understand how they work, so I figured that would be a good place to start.  Away to the library I went, and I returned with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Childbirth.  I liked the title and figured I’d give it a shot.

I’m so glad I did.  This book was fabulous!  Don’t let the title fool you into thinking it’ll be formulaic and disingenuous, it’s well-written, it explains the whole process in an accessible way (even when you’ve got pregnancy hormones clouding your brain), and it steers pretty clear of trying to influence you about why you should labor naturally.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was how it explained the role of hormones during labor.  Once I was able to grasp how labor worked, it really helped put into context the various coping methods I’d heard about.  It’s all well and good to hear about how important it is to stay relaxed during labor, but what made the difference for me was learning about how oxytocin (the hormone the makes your uterus contract) is counteracted by adrenaline (the hormone that’s released when you’re tense or afraid).

The end of the book was a little soft for me, all about the first moments with the baby and how special that time is (I kinda missed out on that, thanks to heavy bleeding and stitches, so maybe I’m just bitter?) but the first 3/4 of the book were immensely helpful.

I could see this book being helpful even if you aren’t planning a natural childbirth, especially if you’re the kind of person who feels more comfortable and confident when you’re well educated about what’s going to be happening.

So there’s my two cents.  More to come soon!

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