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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  359 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews

Pregnancy and birth are as ordinary and extraordinary as breathing, thinking, or loving. But as soon as you announce you're expecting, you may be bombarded with advice from every angle -- well-meaning friends, rel

Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Touchstone
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(showing 1-30 of 681)
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Apr 22, 2010 Hannah rated it really liked it
I love this book for its empowering tone, blessedly non-gendered assumptions about your co-parent-to-be and attention on birth as the main event, with less emphasis on morning sickness and cankles than most books of this genre. I feel especially compelled to praise this book because it is the ONLY one of the non-queer-specific pregnancy books we own or have read that even acknowledges the existence of same-sex expectant parents, and it is so lovely not to have to switch pronouns all the time whe ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
Out of all of the pregnancy and birth books I've read (and there's been a few now), this is so far my favorite. I found it informative without being overly wordy or technical, filled with useful information, and providing a realistic view of birth for someone like myself who is interested in a natural birth but plans on doing so in a hospital setting, as opposed to many of the natural birthing books I have read which seem to have an unrealistic expectation that women will birth at home or on a c ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Kat rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, pregnancy
Three cheers for feminist pregnancy books. While it's not the most informative guide in terms of nitty-gritty medical and nutritional stuff, it's an excellent overview for the "progressive" pregnant gal out there, and gives equal attention and respect to alternative birthing methods, same-sex partners, etc. I would say there's definitely more of an emphasis on birth than pregnancy. While it certainly leans more towards natural birth, overall it's not as judgmental of medical intervention as some ...more
Erika RS
Jan 20, 2014 Erika RS rated it really liked it
This was the first book about pregnancy I read so, of course, it is going to influence me more than books I read later. That said, it still stands out as a good book on the topic of pregnancy, labor, and the early postpartum period.

I appreciate the balance the authors of this book struck between being clear as to which choices they considered best but still discussing multiple options and the situations under which those alternatives might be best. One example prevalent throughout the book is th
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This book is a MUST OWN for any woman who is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. It is by far the best book I have found on the market - it relies on evidence based science and personal testimonies - not weird didactic stereotypes and vague flowery descriptions. This is a pregnancy book that will give you the tools to make the best decisions for YOU instead of guilting you into doing something based on the ideology of the writer/s. It presents the pros and cons of hospital birth vs homebi ...more
Oct 05, 2008 B rated it it was ok
Shelves: being-mom
2.5 - 2.75 stars.
I was again surprised and excited to find this one at our little local library (it was just published a few months ago) ...After hearing a great interview with one of the editors on the radio, i was really looking forward to a new go-to pregancy recource text, but boohoo, this was not what i was hoping for.

Yes, it provides a sensitive, thoughtful, open minded perspective on pregnancy with a pleasant bias toward midwifery - but practically speaking, it doesn't provide new or espe
Disclaimer to friends and family: no, I'm not pregnant, yet. But you know me, I like to Research All The Things!

I really, really liked this book. It gives a very good overview of the issues involved in pregnancy and childbirth, without getting too bogged down -- I think it's a really great one to read when you're first pregnant or considering pregnancy, to give you an idea of what areas require more research. I LOVE the inclusive language, and that a lot of different family situations are repres
Jul 24, 2009 Carli rated it really liked it
This is a great pregnancy and childbirth resource in the same vein as the original Our Bodies, Ourselves. It is gives women and their partners accurate information on all (or at least many of) their options, not just the medical establishment standard.

It discusses pain relief using nitrous oxide-- common in the UK but extremely rare here in the US; use of doulas and other birth assistants; and the social and political context for supporting mothers and families (e.g., mentions that the US is on
Jul 16, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is a great resource! I sped through it as a refresher during my second pregnancy. There is so much useful information in this book. I ended up getting out a notebook and made a list of questions for my midwives, either to remind myself or to learn something new about their services. I'm glad I picked this one from the library.
Maryann J-D
Oct 05, 2013 Maryann J-D rated it really liked it
Shelves: oh-baby
*Disclaimer to friends and family: I'm
reading up/doing research. I'll let you know when there's something to announce! :)*

now, to the actual review: an informative book with a great look at the nitty gritty of pregnancy, with a focus on natural options. sometimes it's a little *too* focused on natural options -- or rather, gives the short shrift to medical options. (i.e. obgyn vs. midwife, hospital vs. birthing center) I am all for as natural as possible, but would love to still know what medica
May 23, 2009 Crystal rated it it was ok
The information was ok, but I was a little disturbed by the liberal viewpoint. E.G. the story about a couple whose baby could have been blind, deaf, and mentally retarded, so they felt completely ok with their abortion (which is not ok with me, what if that baby had been fine? Is life less meaningful because you have a disability?) And then there was the "if your partner is male sex can introduce prostaglandins to induce labor..." I know their are people out their who have same-gender partners, ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
I tried to read this book from cover to cover but I think it would have been better to have used it as a reference book. It addresses many issues that a pregnant woman can run into, so if she has a particular question, she can likely find a section addressing it in the book. I was able to use it to decide on what kind of testing I wanted for my baby when she was still in my uterus. I read too much about potential problems, so the book also scared me and made me cry several times. That is why I'd ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
My favorite pregnancy book. Not repetitive, just the facts, very thorough, while still broken up into sections easily enough that I could skip sections that didn't apply to me.
Jan 01, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This was by far my favorite pregnancy/birth book read! This was extremely informative and not hard to get into.
Jun 30, 2010 April rated it really liked it
There are some really great aspects of this book that I like right off the bat, namely, the tone that information is presented in rather than told to you. I appreciate the equal attention to midwives, home births, and hospital options as well as all of forms of childbirth classes and pain management techniques.
But...there are some aspects that I was a little disappointed with. The section on prenatal vitamins and minerals was poor in my opinion. There are other recommendations that I feel they
May 05, 2009 Rasheedah rated it it was amazing
One of the best pregnancy and birthing resources out there. No need for all the month by month detailed stuff that many pregnancy books have. You can find that all on the internet and it varies so much from woman to woman. This book has the nitty gritty details on all the health and procedural options you should be thinking about, how to live, mental health, birthing options and recommendations...and it is quite feminist and ethnically sensitive in its approach. It even gives you examples of the ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Faith rated it really liked it
One of the most informative book on pregnancy and birth. It can be a little overwhelming and might be best read in stages. But the Boston Women's Health Collective is THE authority when it comes to women's health books. An excellent addition to any pregnant woman's must read list.

Good for first time moms who have no clue what's going on (that would be me) because it's informative without being judgmental. And it leads you to more questions with your health care provider and/or partner about wha
Karin Labelle
May 15, 2008 Karin Labelle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody that is pregnant
Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth This came around at the perfect time! There are millions of books on this topic, so it's nice to have a trusted source to go to. So much better than the classic "What to Expect" series. Among other things, they don't assume your birth partner is a male or even your life partner.

They focus on birth as a natural process, encourage doulas, and limited medical intervention. They do all this without pressuring and judgement.
Dec 16, 2010 Stevie rated it really liked it
I kinda wish I could give this four and a half. Anyway, it's nice to read a book about pregnancy that isn't panic-driven or judgmental, and accepts that maybe some women don't want to be jacked up full of drugs when they give birth. I liked the sidebars of stories from real women on a variety of topics. I do wish it had more information week-by-week, rather than one chapter devoted to the experience of pregnancy, but it's a minor quibble.
Oct 21, 2011 Tricia rated it it was amazing
An excellent, complete resource on pregnancy and childbirth. The book presents a lot of factual information and goes to great lengths to present all viewpoints and gives the pros and cons on topics such as prenatal testing, medical interventions, using drugs and/or epidurals and breastfeeding. I found it especially valuable after a class where the instructor was judgmental toward those who were not 100 percent committed to natural childbirth.
Caitlin Boyd
Apr 02, 2014 Caitlin Boyd rated it really liked it
A good one to read early in the third trimester.
Sep 13, 2011 Jael rated it liked it
I admit, I skimmed in parts of this book... I liked the feel of it overall simply because it was very balanced as far as discussing pros and cons of everything, and reassuring that it's okay to make choices that suit you and not base the success of your birth experience on other people's... yours can be just as much a success with different choices: epidural or not, hospital or not, et cetera.
Alison Shiloh
Mar 28, 2011 Alison Shiloh rated it it was amazing
After starting to read and shelving several pregnancy books, this is my definitive favorite. In the same style of Our Bodies, Ourselves, this book offers clear and detailed information on the range of options for pre-natal care, birth preparation, and interventions during labor and delivery. The book includes first-hand narratives throughout which give voice to the facts and figures presented.
Jan 25, 2015 Kathryn rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've turned to the general "Our Bodies, Ourselves" book for years, so this was the first book I read after learning I was pregnant. Yikes! I was dismayed to find it belongs in the category of scary pregnancy books - "Everything you eat will harm your baby and Obstetricians aren't there to help you." I was sorry I read it and wouldn't recommend it.
Jul 10, 2010 Agnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: pregnancy
Definitely one of the best childbirth books I read. It certainly has a slant toward natural childbirth, but also lays out all of the options clearly and provides a lot of useful information. The focus is much more on birth and all of the options that go along with it, than on pregnancy. Bill also read this one and liked it.
I appreciate the liberal viewpoints taken with the book, it just can come as a slight surprise to turn a page and see illustrations of sex positions m/f and f/f can practice while pregnant.
Still, the book has a bias towards midwifery, medication-free births, etc., and tries to discourage otherwise.
Tonya Jenusaitis
Mar 27, 2008 Tonya Jenusaitis rated it really liked it
Recmomended by my midwife. Again, lots of information and stories from "real" women about every aspect gross and wonderful. I got this as an Easter present and I am very happy with it. Great supplement to any pregnancy reader.
May 09, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mine
This book was given to me by my midwifery practice, and I found it a very informative, quick read. I'd definitely recommend it. (Disclaimer: I skipped the chapter on Childbearing Loss, in hopes it will never apply to me.)
May 04, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Lots of good information in an overview format. Answers a lot of questions and gives you a good list of questions to ask doctors, midwives, and hospitals. And, yes, I am pregnant with number 3, due in December.

Jenn Raley
Aug 02, 2014 Jenn Raley rated it really liked it
Shelves: family
Really good resource. I think I preferred the other book I read alongside this one ("Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn" by Simkin et al) but this one had a bit more personal tone to it.
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Our Bodies Ourselves is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization focused on women's health. We aim to combine women's personal stories with reliable, up-to-date health information, while examining the social and political influences on women's health and well-being.
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