The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth
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The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  737 ratings  ·  78 reviews
This new edition of The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth has been extensively revised to reflect scientific advances and cultural trends. Here, candidly and reasonably presented, is all the information expectant parents need to make their own decisions about everything--from which tests to allow to how to handle pain to where to give birth. 300 photos, drawings &...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1980)
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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May GaskinThe Baby Book by William SearsThe Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci GoerTaking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni WeschlerSpiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
Books for Expectant Parents
7th out of 175 books — 112 voters
The Birth Partner by Penny SimkinIna May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May GaskinThe Doula Book by John H. KennellPregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny SimkinBreastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett
Birth Doula DONA Required Reading
9th out of 27 books — 16 voters

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Liz Adnitt
Fantastic, inspiring and very empowering. A good friend sent me a copy whilst I was pregnant for the first time and it gave me the confidence to opt for a home waterbirth. Although there is a lot about homebirth and natural, drug-free birthing in this book, she also helps you make informed choices about all the other options. This helped greatly as I did end up being transferred to hospital after a long labour at home where I was able to continue birthing naturally with an obstetrician present w...more
I liked many things about this book. The descriptions of pregnancy and labor, while a bit textbook-ish, were detailed and precise and not alarmist. I liked the diagrams and pictures, and having everything clearly laid out. I also think the sections on natural ways to control pain and discomfort during pregnancy and labor will be helpful later, and I'm going to make my husband read the sections on massage and relaxing touch.
However, this was definitely not an unbiased book. I felt that although t...more
This is a great pregnancy reference book with wonderful photojournalism of both home and hospital births. There are an absolute ton of helpful photographs of pregnancy and postpartum exercises, positions during labor, and diagrams to aid understanding the anatomy and process of pregnancy, labor and birth. Sheila Kitzinger covers a wider range of topics than the average pregnancy book, and also includes tidbits from her social anthropology background providing insight as to how women all over the...more
This was the first pregnancy and childbirth book I had ever read. I read it after having 1 or 2 kids (I can't remember), so I had some first hand experience with birth by the time I had read it. I thought it was a great book. This author gives a fair view of the birth and she tells you what your choices are in a hospital or at home. I was a great book to learn from a professional "choices" women have while they are in well as pregnancy and postpartum information which was helpful.
(Non-Fiction Childbirth) I only read the childbirth part of this book, as I've done my research on pregnancy. I found it to be really helpful. This book offers good advice on breathing through labor, relaxing using visualizations, and movements to try during labor. They also provide useful information on the stages of labor and medical interventions.
A good comprehensive guide to pregnancy and childbirth, while it's not my favorite, I think any woman could pick up this book and feel prepared. I thought Kitzinger had interesting perspectives on pain management in labor, that is when my highlighter did the most work. I read this book as a part of my childbirth educator curriculum.
I liked this book it discussed pregnancy and birth in many dimensions - the medical, physical, and emotional. It was a good balance between using language for any mother and citing actual studies. I liked the "inserts" showing different exercises and positions and also the birth stories. It even covers water birth.
This book offered a lot of useful information about the labor and delivery portion of the pregnancy & childbirth process, much of which is missing from other pregnancy books. After reading it, I feel much better prepared for delivery. I'd highly recommend this book for any pregnant person.
I don't know if I'd say this is exactly a complete book on Pregnancy, but it is very thorough on childbirth, mentioning all the different options women have today from a hospital birth to birthing center to home birth, and ways to prepare for each and what to expect during and after.
Jun 09, 2009 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: baby
Excellent - Sheila Kitzinger is a social anthropologist and writes this pregnancy/childbirth book from a very woman-centred perspective. Very well researched and surprisingly evidence based. Overall, I found this book to be informative and reassuring.
Sassy, practical, and a nice balance between hippie and medical establishment. Much of what I read here was echoed in pregnancy prep classes. A good all around preparation for the blessed event...or at least I hope so.
Seems to hit all the right notes...and definitely sounds like it's written by a trained soc anth with 5 kids of her own. Anyway we'll see...
Real answers and not as "cutsie" as the others. I appreciate that... this is serious business after all.
Andrea Porter
A very empowering and useful book. I'd highly recommend this to any pregnant woman.
I ended up liking this book more by the end than I had expected to in the beginning. I'd looked it up because I'd read so many reviews that praised it for being unbiased and neutral in regards to your birth & parenting choices, which is what I was looking for in a pregnancy book. However, while Ms. Kitzinger does present a less-biased view than SOME, it's still abundantly clear throughout the book what her views are, and often her tone comes off as extremely patronizing or condescending, rat...more
I liked this book for the detail it went into, also the list of abbreviations at the front was very useful for decoding my hospital chart. I had always felt it was written in some crazy language and no one wanted me to know what it said.
I did, however feel totally brainwashed in favour of natural vaginal birthing, without medical interventions after reading it, and I felt it read too much into the feminist theory aspect of midwifery. There were whole paragraphs which pointed out how medical jarg...more
Jami Dwyer
I was starving for information about my options if something goes wrong during childbirth.

But it seemed like books about childbirth fell into two camps:
1. Doctors wanna cut you because it's fast and insurance pays more! Neverever let them! ("Pushed", "Misconceptions", "Spiritual Midwifery")
2. Here's a gob of conventional wisdom. Why bother reading it, when you can just put your paralyzed legs in the stirrups and do what the hospital tells you? ("What To Expect When You're Expecting", "Girlfri...more
At times, this book has a definite agenda (such as saying that circumcision is tantamount to mutilation); but overall, it was the most comprehensive and useful overview of what might happen during labor. It focuses more on the end of pregnancy and especially on the birthing process, which was extremely helpful as I was trying to make decisions about my own birth plan. It goes in-depth on ways to have natural birth, but is also fair in explaining how epidurals, c-sections and other interventions...more
Good if you want a more touchy-feely description of pregnancy and birth. For being pro-homebirth I am surprised there wasn't more information about natural pain management in birth. She seemed to take the approach that for detailed information you should go to a childbirth preparation class (probably partially because she is a childbirth educator). Some good information, but I think I prefer Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn for it's breadth of information. I guess it just depends on whether...more
An excellent overview of pregnancy, labor, and birth with the neutral tone and format of a textbook. At the very beginning there is a handy pregnancy week by week guide, and at the end there is a glossary and an index.

Because of its textbook style, The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth includes things that other birth books may leave out such as illustrations of a vaginal breech delivery and photographs of labor positions in a home birth pool. It is a good resource for those in search...more
May 30, 2012 Monica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any mom to be. Any new mom. Anyone thinking about having children.
Best book so far. Awesome detail and pictures. The author tells you like it is; which is honestly, what I needed. I'm tired of reading "Pregnancy is the best time in your life" or "You will have this magical glow". This books tells you pregnancy is hard and you will be sick. But, it also tells you how to combat those issues to make your pregnancy the best is can be. Because to be honest, I hate it. I really do. Don't take that as I am a bad mother; I am looking forward to holding my little baby...more
So superior to "What to Expect" and most other pregnancy/childbirth guides. It skews a bit towards homebirth, but is far more informative and exact than most guides I have read. In my experience most pregnancy guides are either overly simplistic to the point of being demeaning, or seem designed to scare women with complications that are exceedingly rare without giving you statistics or real medical advice other than telling you to call your doctor's office if you "feel strange". For mature, down...more
This book has lots of pictures. Which is good if you're a visual person I guess. I don't consider myself squeamish about birth and I'm all for tasteful photographs of actual deliveries, but at times it was all a little too in-your-face for me. Perhaps it was partly the organization of the book; can't we save delivery photos for later in the book to get to when you're later in your pregnancy? In general I prefer the books that are organized by weeks/months that I can process a little at a time, b...more
Throw away What to Expect When You're Expecting and replace it with this treasure! This is the most comprehensive yet no overwhelming pregnancy book you're ever going to find. It treats the pregnant reader as an intelligent mature woman capable of making complex life-altering decisions instead of dismissing your intelligence and assuming you're too overwhlemed to think for yourself. Sheila Kitzinger is an amazing woman and deserves to be better known than she is.

If you are very "pro" medical model then this author's viewpoint may come across as very strongly "anti" medical model.

I have enjoyed the information, but she doesn't write from an un-biased viewpiont. If that is what you are looking for, you need to find another book.

There is alot of helpful information inside, just be prepared to read understanding this is her viewpoint, it doesn't mean she is wrong (there is some truth to her points), but you also need to know what you are looking for. :-)
I think I'm still on the first chapter, but am finding it already useful. Debating epideral vs. natural with this kiddo, and really appreciate the unbiased approach. At least this far. :)

Getting ready to try a natural birth, I found this full of helpful information. I didn't read it cover to cover, but it did make a good reference-type book. The pictures were a for my taste, but overall it was a great for what I needed it for.
Mar 15, 2011 Erin added it
Our midwives recommended Sheila Kitzinger as a great resource to have around during the pregnancy. This book is accessibly-written yet doesn't dumb down the science behind pregnancy. I've turned to it a lot and imagine I will continue to use this as a resource post-baby arrival. Unlike many other pregnancy books out there, Kitzinger doesn't just assume that every woman is seeing an OB or wants to have a medicated birth, which is refreshing.
I've read a few pregnancy books, and mostly, they are pretty much the same, with the same information, most of which is readily available on the internet (read What the Expect . . . ) This book actually had information I didn't already know from the internet, which I liked. It does have a natural childbirth lean to it, but I'm au natural like that, so I liked it. Overall, this is one the best pregnancy and childbirth books I've read.
May 16, 2009 Jennie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennie by: Stacia
This is overall quite a good book; the edition I have is somewhat out of date but all the information is still useful. I find the Sears Pregnancy Book to be more useful for actual pregnancy details (says the non-pregnant person, so take that for what it's worth); this book just gives basic information, though it's a bit more detailed than online calendars and such. Its strongest point is its chapters on birth, in my opinion.
Deena Scintilla
The pictures are great. Amazing vaginal breech births, water births, etc. are featured. Kitzinger is an internationally known social anthropologist who has done extensive research on birth around the world. She also includes birth from the baby's point of view-what exactly is happening to the infant as it starts the birth process. Her view on birth is also from a psychosexual point of view...very interesting.
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Bookcrossers: Got a catch after 8 years 4 24 Sep 21, 2012 01:41PM  
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Sheila Kitzinger M.B.E, M.Litt is a social anthropologist of birth and author of 24 books published internationally, most on the emotional journey through this major life experience. At Oxford in the 50s she discovered that the social anthropology of that time was almost entirely about men. She decided she would do research to discover what was important in women's lives, and focused on pregnancy,...more
More about Sheila Kitzinger...
Homebirth: The Essential Guide to Giving Birth Outside of the Hospital Rediscovering Birth Birth Your Way The Year After Childbirth Breastfeeding Your Baby: Revised Edition

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