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Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide
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Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,293 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Paperback, Fourth Edition
Published by Meadowbrook Press (first published March 1st 1984)
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Mar 23, 2009 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are pregnant or considering pregnancy
Recommended to Laura by: my midwife, and my birth-class instructor
Shelves: baby-stuff
What I love about this book is the acknowledgment that not all pain management techniques work for all women. Rather than present one comprehensive 'system' (a la Hypnobirthing, Bradley, etc), she suggests several methods for dealing with childbirth pain, and is non-judgmental about the use of medication as well. To me this is much more helpful - I can become familiar with several techniques and focus on the ones I like. In comparison, Hypnobirthing is presented (in the book Hypnobirthing) as th ...more
Very good overview of pregnancy, birth, and having a newborn (as one would expect given the title). Likely most helpful for first time moms. It does seem to lean toward supporting natural child birth and breastfeeding, so some people might be turned off by the tone of the book, but it does seem to try to respectfully discuss medicated birth options and formula feeding as well. The book is written very neutrally with references to fathers and partners, and I would imagine a same sex couple would ...more
The Switzerland of pregnancy and childbirth books, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn clearly lays out all pregnancy and birth options without obviously favoring one side or the other in the medical versus natural debate. In fact, this is the only baby book I've encountered that when discussing circumcision doesn't immediately follow the statement that it is not medically necessary by basically saying that anyone who doesn't circumcise her son is a bad, sadistic, heartless mother.

If you are
Kylin Larsson
This is one of the most helpful pregnancy books I've read. Though I'm sure my body knows how to give birth, my brain appreciates all the information and reassurance I can find. The six authors include Penny Simpkin, who is famous in the birthing world for her practical non-Western approach to birth support advice. The book has a good balance of biological / medical information and natural pain management methods.

The first few chapters go over the physical aspects of pregnancy and prenatal care.
This was the best complete guide to pregnancy/birth that I’ve read. This book is a great, basic, modern birth book. I like that it’s unbiased and provides options that would appeal to all women, from the natural home birth to the mom that wants an epidural before she gets to the hospital. The depth at which the authors went when it came to explaining pain and how to cope, explaining breathing techniques, were extremely valuable! The breathing graphs were something I had never seen and I think so ...more
This book concentrates a lot on pre-pregnancy, which I didn't need since I was already pregnant. but it did have a wealth of very helpful and useful information for labor and delivery, which is what i mostly got out of reading this book.
Comprehensive and thorough, unbiased almost to a fault (sometimes it reads like a textbook). Highly recommended for people like me who don't know shit about birthing and babies.
TONS of information! Everything I could want to know and more about pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn. I'm using it as a reference when I have questions, not a sit-and-get.
Erika RS
This is the last of the general pregnancy books that I had on my list to read. I probably didn't need to read it. Not because I didn't learn anything — I did, and there were several areas where this book was better than the others I read — but I think three general pregnancy books reaches the points of diminishing returns. So now you know =)

But on to judging this book on its own merits! In many ways this was my favorite of the three books. I still prefer the tone of the Our Bodies, Ourselves pre
Christy Ford
After checking out stacks and stacks of pregnancy books from the library, this is the one I purchased. It isn't a perfect, be-all-end-all resource to everything you'd ever want to know, but it avoids most of the pitfalls of pregnancy books, and has solid, usable information, including the best explanations of medical interventions I have found.

First, the book treats the reader with respect. It is amazing how uncommon this is in pregnancy literature. It assumes that while the mother may not know
I think this guide was excellent. I like how it was structured; it made it easy for me to look up questions I had throughout my pregnancy. I like that it just gave the most basic and important information that you need to know. This allows you to to read other books that more specifically suit your ideals about specific topics. For instance, I chose to also read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method to learn more about childbirth and how I want to prepare for it. But ...more
Nicole Tarpey
I love this book, both as a full read and as a reference. I'm one of those people that get anxiety about the unknown, so I love that it takes the approach of walking the reader through both the common and uncommon pregnancy. Additionally, I love the approach that statistically, most of us will have healthy, successful pregnancies, and we can do it without a ton of intervention. I definitely need that kind of reassurance.
Elizabeth Merchant
This giant book might be more ideally suited for a doula, spouse, or other birth partner than it is for a mother-to-be, but that's fine. I've just read it as a doula-in-training, and I do feel as though I've gotten an education. I found it easy-to-follow, yet full of vital information.

The "newborn" aspect of things was not as thoroughly covered as I expected it to be, based on the amount of room given to everything else, so I can't recommend it as an "only book you'll ever need"; even a minimali
There are sooooo many pregnancy reference books -- trust me, I think I have read them all and have the library fines to prove it. Anyways, this is the only one I liked enough to buy. It's rather pro-natural-childbirth, so if that's not your thing it might not be The One for you.
If you are pregnant and reading a month-by-month guide, you might want to pick this book up by your third trimester. Simkin just overviews pregnancy by each trimester. What she really focuses on is labor and delivery, far more than any month-by-month guide. It's well worth it.
Comprehensive on several different pre- and post-natal topics, perhaps. But the tone didn't sit right with me, particularly in the childbirth section, which is the main reason I read this (it was given out as part of my labor & delivery class). While other reviewers have praised this as non-judgmental about the use of medicines, I didn't find it so. I felt the pro-doula, less-med-friendly perspective of the author was evident throughout. There are some helpful charts, diagrams, and illustrat ...more
A really excellent birth preparation course, in book form. Simkin presents the facts, and the pros and cons of various choices, in a much less biased way than most "natural birth" proponents, but without the pro-intervention blinders typical of mainstream medico types. The description says, "if you only buy one childbirth book, this is the one" and I wholeheartedly agree. The perfect read for anyone who wants to have the birth experience SHE wants -- whether that means unassisted at home in a bi ...more
I appreciate the no-nonsense approach of the authors and the useful checklists. I even photocopied one and took it with me to a prenatal pediatrician interview! I have marked many pages in the book to refer to as we approach the birth and postpartum. I feel much better prepared for a natural childbirth having read about the stages of labor and techniques for getting through them. My husband read The Birth Partner at the same time I read this and they made good companion texts - one written for m ...more
Isla McKetta
So packed with useful information I wonder if I'll ever be able to remember any of it. This book focuses heavily on labor. We'll see in a few months if that's a good thing :)
I have read this book before when I was pregnant with my other children and its a very informative book that you can return to for all stages of pregnancy and childbirth. Im sure I will be taking it out again over the next few months!
I really like how this book covers many different options and ways of doing things, recognizing that there are several different ways that women respond to pregnancy, labor, birth, and a newborn and there is not just one way of handling each woman's situation. Lots of information. Worth the read.
This is a great book if you are interested in a natural birth. There are strengthening exercises and relaxation exercises to practice ahead of time so you enter labor more prepared. After reading this book, I don't know if I would be interested in natural birth without preparing like this ahead of time. The book also notes these exercises are great for coping with contractions before the medications kick in (or if you are one of the unlucky few that get limited relief from meds). I can't persona ...more
This is another one I was very pleased with. If I were to buy only one reference book on this topic for my own library, this would be the one. Far better than "What to Expect" in every way. It has a much more laid-back presentation, presenting fair and balanced views of all the options available rather than assuming you're automatically having a hospital birth with all the trimmings. It doesn't spend a lot of time focusing on the pregnancy part, but the childbirth/labour section was easily the b ...more
This was the first book I read once we got pregnant, and it's the one I keep going back to when I have a specific question. Good information presented in a no-nonsense way. Not judgmental or condescending (unlike the What to Expect series, of which I couldn't even make it through the Kindle samples before deleting them in disgust).

Edited 3/27/12 to add: I still think this is the best pregnancy & baby book I read. In fact, the babe is 3 months old now, and it's still the book I turn to when I
In the last days of our pregnancy and in the first days our parenthood, this book has been my go-to resource.

PCN is written on an informed consent model. Information and education is the primary focus; the authors' opinions appear only subtly, indirectly. We were committed to natural childbirth, and found this book helpful. However, I could also see PCN being welcome to parents planning a medical-model birth, as PCN provides fairly unbiased information about both models.

I highly recommend it to
Informative book that read quickly. I didn't care for the cutesy examples given (just tell me that I'll be emotional about strange things, don't list off sappy images like a child being helped and whatnot). I did learn some new things, which eased some of my worries about being pregnant. Of course, the book constantly tells the reader to consult with your medical care provider, and I probably could have found out any information I needed from my midwife (but she's great; some people aren't so lu ...more
Well done. This covers lots of information about pregnancy (what is happening to the mother and the fetus, nutrition, exercise, drugs to avoid, etc), childbirth (choices of where to deliver, how to handle emergency situations, different positions or techniques to use, childbirth education), and caring for a newborn. I especially liked the charts that summarized information in a way that is easy to refer to. I also liked the guide to writing a birth plan, kind of like a checklist.
Covers the same terrain as most pregnancy and birth books, but has a unique, empowering perspective. Provides simple tools for recording fetal movement (kick count, contractions,sleep cycles, etc. as well as worksheets to help you plan for birth. Also describes very hands-on techniques for easing/supporting birth. A mostly encyclopedic approach, with lots of helpful tables where information is organized at a glance. This may be the one birth book I buy.
A third talks about pregnancy, a third about childbirth and a third about the newborn. I like the pictures and graphs that are used, they make the words and explanations more memorable. Definitely don't appreciate all the scare talk that comes with most pregnancy manuals, but this one has a balanced lean between hospital and home birth. I'm hoping for a home birth! Overall, a pretty good book to pick and read a chapter here and there.
No, I'm not pregnant.

I read this book as part of certification as a childbirth educator. It is very good overview of helpful information for pregnancy and postpartum. It focuses a lot on different comfort measures to cope with labor pain and use of a alternative care (midwife, home birth, etc.) without demonizing the medical field which I really appreciated.

It is a great reference book for pregnancy and postpartum.
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