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The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  135 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Here is your guide to the fastest-growing trend in childbirth—a tradition as old as motherhood itself. Doulas, or professional labor assistants, have led thousands of expectant women through the birthing process in a way that’s safe and meaningful, and that creates the birth and postbirth experience all mothers long for.

What exactly do doulas do?

How to find one that suits
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 19th 2009 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 265)
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Jan 27, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: fam-pregnancy
A short, fast read, this book nevertheless contains some gems of insight. For example, no other book explained as clearly why regular vaginal exams during labor could lead to increased interventions. Tightly written, to-the-point, I found it very helpful.
Nov 04, 2010 Cher rated it really liked it
Although I didn't need to be convinced that doulas are essential, I found this book to be an excellent
reference for resouces & suggestions not only for planning your birth but healing your past experience as well. Overall, helpful.
Jan 04, 2015 CuriousLibrarian rated it really liked it
This is hands down the best book I've read about labor and delivery during the course of my pregnancy. I haven't had the baby yet, but it has left me feeling more prepared than anything else I've read. I intend to reread parts of this closer to my due date, and have this be the only book I insist my husband read. I wound up buying a copy because it was in too much demand at the library.

It very clearly lays out what you can expect at each stage of labor and delivery, and offers advice on how to a
Christine Ward
Jul 16, 2013 Christine Ward rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-to-me
Note: The above rating should be 2 1/2 stars.

I purchased this book because of the title; I thought there would be a lot of insight and heretofore unknown advice within the pages. I should have expected that there would be a lot of advice on how to choose a doula and a strong recommendation to hire a doula for childbirth, which is fine, but I suppose I didn't expect there would be so much text devoted to those two subjects (or subject with subdivisions).

Also, to be fair to the book and its autho
Nov 18, 2013 Wench rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
The good:

*Really thorough descriptions of birth options, that manage to not be anxiety-provoking.
*Detailed information about pain reduction techniques and how to ask for them.
*Detailed template for a birth plan and a comprehensive treatment of what to consider.
*Not exclusively focused on unmedicated births, and not exclusively focused on doula-attended births. Yeah, it really talks up doulas, but it acknowledges that not everyone will have or want one, and that's okay.
*Acknowledges that some pre
Apr 07, 2013 Acquanda rated it liked it
The Doula Guide To Birth places birth companions in the context of pregnancy and shows exactly where we fit. It begins with examining the origins of doulas, and over 12 chapters the pair take turns with discussing the benefits of doulas, whose presence can provide emotional support along with other benefits like pain relief. It also provides information and advice for partners of a pregnant and laboring woman, discusses how difficult yet rewarding labor is, how to find a doula, understanding ear ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
I really wish we could do 1/2 stars - I'd give this 3 1/2. A pretty standard look at the benefits of using a birth doula. I appreciated the effort to be inclusive with discussions of same sex couples, surrogates and adoption and their specific needs during childbirth although the scope of the book didn't allow for much depth. They did offer suggestions for further reading which was great - I've added most of those to my Goodreads list. :) There were a handful of take always for me as a doula tha ...more
Bobbie Greene
Jul 16, 2012 Bobbie Greene rated it really liked it
This book offered great insight into what I should expect from my care givers during labor and delivery, what I should expect to experience with my body, and how I can prepare for labor and delivery so it can be an enjoyable experience for myself and my husband. I took quite a few notes because I learned a lot of new information! Things like: laboring at home for as long as possible before I go to the hospital, labor positions to try, the fact that I can request a limited amount of vaginal exams ...more
Jul 16, 2009 Leah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pregnant women
Shelves: kindle
Great overview for pregnant moms. Doesn't focus exclusively on unmedicated births, either. In my experience with both ways, a doula is more PHYSICALLY helpful at an unmedicated birth, but can be more EMOTIONALLY helpful at a medicated birth. She helped me to avoid guilt that things went differently from how I had imagined when I got an epidural and a tear and stitches, and kept reiterating how fun and wonderful the birth was going (I think it would have been similarly helpful had I needed a c-se ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Heatherjoy rated it liked it
A perfectly good book to help women to prepare for birth. Lots of good information that might not be found in more conventional sources. I read it in preparation for future doula training. There were only a few bits that were new to me, but if definitely recommend the book for a first time mom who is trying to figure out her preferences.
Although it was full of helpful , it wasn't the neatest layout for ease of reading. Most of the "secrets" can be found in other birth books, but this one had the added content of stressing the importance of doulas.
Joan Foster
May 29, 2015 Joan Foster rated it liked it
Shelves: family-planning
Even though I'm not going to use a doula due to financial reasons, this book was still very informational. If a doula is an option for any soon to be mother, I think it's totally a great idea not just for someone having natural childbirth but just as a good support system during labor which is a great deal helpful to Mom & Dad!
Feb 09, 2013 Vicky rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
I didn't find this incredibly useful. It's mostly geared, I think, to first-time moms. I was also planning on getting more out of it as someone who is NOT planning on hiring a doula, but most of the book went on about "your doula will do this, your doula will do that," without a lot of the birthing-without-a-doula tips I was hoping for. (I also thought the authors rambled too much and could have been more to-the-point in almost every chapter.) I don't think it's entirely useless though. First ti ...more
Katrina Holman
Mar 24, 2014 Katrina Holman rated it really liked it
Good info, especially in regards to how to support (non-medically) an expectant, laboring, or postpartum mom.
Feb 24, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Since I am planning for a natural childbirth this time around, I found this book very informative and helpful. It is definitely a little biased, but I knew that it would be going into it. If I could afford to hire a doula, I probably would. Luckily for me, I have a great friend who has offered to be my "labor assistant" who is going to read this book as well. I learned a lot that I didn't know before about different options available to me. If you are planning on ever having a natural childbirth ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Shana rated it liked it
This weekend I half-assedly flipped through The Doula’s Guide to Birth by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman. As far as birth books go (and you know I’ve been reading them like crazy) this one was the most inclusive so far. What I mean is that they didn’t stop at explaining all of the birth options, but also had sections for lesbians, single women, surrogate mothers, and women who chose adoption. Let’s just say no other birth book I’ve read so far has discussed whether or not to have the sperm don ...more
Krissy Stoeger
Jan 14, 2015 Krissy Stoeger rated it really liked it
good- i will use this as a refresher as I get closer to labor and delivery. Good discussion of various aspects of labor.
Feb 20, 2013 Marc rated it liked it
Pretty informative overall; one definitely gets the feeling that the "medicalization" (my word) of the birth process has had detrimental effects.

One criticism of Lowe; she gives plenty of stats from studies in support of her arguments, but when she raised the counter-points, she tends to avoid stats. Instead, she says things like "slightly higher chance" or "studies are vague." This tends to not put her recommendations in as strong of a light as they could have been.
Jan 07, 2014 gina rated it it was amazing
A great resource for any woman who wants to be better informed about her birth, all the options out there. Regardless of whether you intend to have a natural birth or not this book will be useful. I could barely put it down and it was very helpful!
Dec 09, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This was a great refresher on what to expect and questions to ask, whether using a doula or not, whether using an OB in a hospital or a midwife in a birth center. Recommended to pregnant women, whether it's your first or third, and women who hope to soon be pregnant.

It may not be the only book you need to read, but it has lots of great info on lots of the important topics. (it's for labor and birth, not necessarily pregnancy).
Nov 08, 2010 Ashley marked it as to-read
Decided not to read this one this pregnancy-it's all the pros of having a doula and since we can't afford one it was REALLY depressing to read and made me feel powerless-like I can't have a good birth without one. I don't believe that but it really ticks me off that it made me feel that way. I might just get rid of this book anyways.
Jun 04, 2010 Jana rated it really liked it
Great comprehensive book preparing you for the actual childbirth process. I liked that it gave ideas for having your best birth even if you end up needing medical interventions such as induction, pain medication, or emergency c-section. I only wish I read this during my first pregnancy.
Jun 27, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
I've been a doula for 5 1/2 years, and I still learned quite a bit from this book. The authors really knows their stuff, and have some great advice to boost the confidence of birthing women.
Oct 06, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doulas
This book is really great. So much wonderful information - for doulas, pregnant women, and labor support people/family. Full of good resources for further info on special cases as well.
Apr 24, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
The title overpromises and this is a book definitely written for first pregnancies, not second, but it has some useful information. I appreciated the studies and research cited.
Cassandra Walters
Feb 27, 2013 Cassandra Walters rated it did not like it
Not a good ratio (or transition between) sappy stories and real info. You'd have to be high on preggy hormones (or in the book) to love this one.
Jan 27, 2010 Danielle rated it really liked it
Even if you're not considering using a doula, this book is a good resource to help think through your labor and delivery preferences.
Jun 22, 2010 Shireemartin rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. It had so much good information and helped me to have more confidence in a natural labor. Awesome.
Apr 03, 2011 Lea rated it liked it
great book, very informative... need to skim through it again to take some notes before it goes back to the library
Dec 20, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
A great, friendly guide to birth from the doula perspective. I hope to add this to my library.
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