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Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth
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Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Far too many expectant mothers find themselves unprepared when labor begins and natural techniques don t effectively manage the pain. This indispensable guide provides reassuring, proven approaches to combining medical and natural techniques to ensure the most comfortable pain-free labor possi
Paperback, 311 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Ballantine Books
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Aug 22, 2007 Jenn rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: duh.....barren, unfertile women...
I learned a whole lot of info that other mothers talk about that has gotten me no further in the decision process of drugs or no drugs...It basically weighs the pros and cons of medication during labor. I am to the point where the pros are: no pain........need i say more? Cons: I may lose the ability to move my legs indefinelty, but hey, I still will not feel a watermelon squeezing out my abused, withered, and dilapidated body. HMMMMMMM.......
Jul 15, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who's read up on natural childbirth and wants a balancing medical perspective
Shelves: birth-etc
Overall I found this a useful and informative book, with good information.

I would be a bit reserved in recommending it by itself because of the strong and very subtle slant. (One of the authors is the head of Obstetric Anesthesiology at a large hospital, and he's very pro-drug) The writing comes across as very scientific, factual and unbiased, but he ignores or glosses over side effects of epidurals, misquotes the C-section rate with over 200% error, and uses negative, condescending language des
Nov 06, 2012 Danielle rated it liked it
This would be a great one to read if you are pregnant with your first child. You just have no idea what to expect, and this book tried to be as objective as possible while answering the question: "How much does childbirth hurt?"
I've read quite a few books about natural childbirth, which all pretty much espouse the idea that childbirth doesn't have to be painful, and that "pain" is caused by our expectation of pain and fear, which causes tightening of muscles (instead of the necessary relaxation
This book was written by an anesthesiologist at a major hospital, and when you're an anesthesiologist, everyone looks like they could use an epidural. The book definitely takes the position that other than for scheduled c-sections (where spinals are used), the epidural is the preferred choice in pain relief. And having received an epidural with each of my prior deliveries, I'm apt to agree. However, there are other options, and the author discussed them as well. I do wish he'd gone a bit more ...more
Chelsea L
Nov 23, 2016 Chelsea L rated it really liked it
Great book for first time mom's. I think it gives a balanced view and education on medication/alternative techniques to manage pain during childbirth. There were also lots of personal stories and interviews of both mom's and birth providers, which I enjoyed reading. Very informative!
Oct 17, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it
Seems very factual and helped me affirm my choice for labor. I could see how some might see the book as biased and pro-medicinal, but I did not read straight through and I like the way the facts are laid out. One of the most helpful books I have found as it's not too lengthy, and puts things into terms understandable.
Sep 12, 2011 Carissa rated it it was ok
The bias in this book was terrible. It should have been labeled as an advertisement for the epidural. I was hoping to read something balanced but this book leaned so far towards the medical perspective that I often found myself frustrated. Although some of the stories that were included were helpful, they all started to sound the same. The majority of the stories were either about women who couldn't see the sense in suffering pain and knew they wanted an epidural or stories about women who were ...more
Mar 25, 2016 Marie rated it really liked it
While Easy Labor is very comprehensive, it's never repetitive or overwhelming or lofty in vocabulary. So that's good. However, I also felt that it was pretty biased toward pro-medical pain relief intervention.

I'm of the "knowledge is power" camp. The more I know, the more reassured I feel. The hubby and I recently took childbirth prep classes and he seemed pretty overwhelmed with the details. I walked away feeling much less stressed about my impending labor and delivery. So to each their own. Th
Dec 15, 2013 Zoey rated it liked it
Interesting and a certain extent. I liked the brief chapter on the history of medical techniques to relieve labor pain, and I appreciated the many birth stories included in the book. The authors diligently tried to include the full spectrum of medical professionals, from obstetricians to doulas to labor and delivery nurses. The takeaways are summarized at the end of the book, and boil down to a few simple points: educate yourself on your options and on what the process may be ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Arista rated it it was amazing
Great book for a balanced perspective on labor pain management for either natural birth or birth with medical pain interventions. The book provides an excellent overview of all options available, in addition to evidence-based medical information-- something I seriously found lacking in other books on labor and delivery. It doesn't have the patronizing, condescending "hey girlfriend, look, you're pregnant, isn't that just darling?" tone that many other L&D books have; rather, it provides ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I thought that this was a fairly balanced book. There seems to be so much bias on the issue of labor pain that it's hard to find anything that even seems to represent both sides, and I think this book is about as good as it will get. There is bias of the author toward use of medication, but I can only imagine how frustrated doctors feel when they have a patient come in and say they want no interventions but be completely ill-prepared for the pain/exhaustion of labor and and lack having mastered ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Casey rated it liked it
Shelves: summer-reading
I highly recommend this book to any expecting mother whose goal is the educate and thus empower herself to make informed, healthy decisions before and during birth. It clearly informs the reader about different types of labor support available (ie the roles of partners, doulas, obstreticians, midwives, anesthesiologists, family physicians, labor/delivery nurses) and different locations for birthing (home, birthing center, hospital). It also thoroughly discusses different positions of the baby in ...more
Elizabeth Abney
Aug 16, 2008 Elizabeth Abney rated it it was amazing
This is exactly the birth book I have been looking for. No bias as to which method of pain-management is better, just straightforward, detailed information about the most common forms of pain management used in today’s delivery rooms. For every type of pain-management technique, this book tells you what it is and what it does, how it is done and how it feels, medications used (if any), when it is available, reasons you may or man not choose to use that particular technique, how it involves your ...more
Aug 06, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it
Despite the annoying/stupid title, was one of the more balanced books on childbirth. The author is an anesthesiologist at a major hospital, so obviously has as much of a bias as all of the natural birthing books, but there is a definite effort to represent all options for pain relief. The only snarky bit that comes through is the con listed for some interventions - something about "not good for the mother who wishes to use no more advanced technology than the massage setting on a showerhead." ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Katelin rated it really liked it
This book provided a good summary of ALL the pain management techniques (natural and medical) for childbirth along with the research-based pros/cons of each. It's definitely skewed more towards the medical perspective, but in a way that didn't pass judgement on natural methods. The book was published in 2006, so obviously not the most up-to-date research, but very helpful nonetheless. This book really helped me make decisions regarding pain relief for birth. It also has helped me feel much more ...more
I know what I was thinking when I started this book, "Right, and jumbo shrip." What an oxymoron. Then, Carolyn and my boss both shrugged (I think Car shrugged anyway, we were on the phone), and said, "It's not that bad. I read this whole book even though the parts on repeat labor and twins did not apply. It was all right. From my 2 pregnancy books read thus far, Belly Laughs is better. This gives an overview of options for those seeking medication and those seeking without, and then everyone's ...more
Sep 18, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pregnant women
Shelves: non-fiction
For any woman seeking to learn more about her options of pain relief during labor/delivery, this book gives very helpful information about the main options. It describes what types of medicines are available, how they work, how they are administered, what their side effects are, etc. It also discusses other options if you prefer not to use medications. Some of the methods covered are hypnobirthing, waterbirthing, use of the birthing ball, etc. The nice part of this book is that it allows you to ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read, baby
This was a really informative book on labor, labor options, and some real-life stories by both moms and those who help in the delivery process (from anesthesiologists to ob/gyns to midwives, to duolas). It didn't go into too much detail to scare me more than I already was, but left me feeling more informed about options out there, and didn't try to sway you one way or the other on the different delivery options. This book was very much about making you feel empowered and informed about the ...more
Sep 18, 2008 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of my favorite books for anyone about to give birth. It covers all the pain management techniques - from natural to medicated. There's no judgments about your choices and my favorite part was that it reported on scientific studies about how women (and babies) responded to the various choices. It also stresses that a woman should remain flexible in her choices - a woman that has chosen a medicated birth may not have that option, and a woman that has chosen a natural birth may have to ...more
Jul 17, 2013 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
Definitely focused on the pain of childbirth and the ENTIRE catalog of ways to cope with it - from epidurals to aromatherapy. Good if you want/need education on the options available and the pros/cons of each.

For me, I felt it was redundant with other information I had found, especially since I was already committed to a non-medicated birth. That said, if you are truly on the fence about what your options are and what each of them means, this is a great starting point - condensed info, easy to
Jan 25, 2014 Charity rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is pretty informative and balanced in the way it presents different options for labor. Reading it allowed me to form some opinions on what I do and do not want to happen during my first labor -- I didn't realize how little I knew about the process until I read this. The other thing that's great about this book is that it's formatted so you can pick it up, find the topic you need, read its pros and cons, and be done. You don't need to read the whole book because, seriously, who has time ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Stacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book went systematically through the all the options women have for pain relief during childbirth. A brief overview of the history of this practice is given, and then they go through each kind of pain relief and how it works. I really liked the stories included by women who have used each method, whether their experience was positive or negative, and if they would recommend it or use it again. Guess what the only method was where every women who used it loved it and wanted to do it again? ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Kristy rated it really liked it
Overall, a pretty good read, and I would say a "must read" for anyone who wants detailed information about all of the possible routes you can take during labor and delivery--medical and natural. The biggest lesson I took from this book was that it is wise to go into one's labor with an open mind. As much as we would all like a natural, easy delivery, unexpected things can happen and it's best to be informed about all possible scenarios.
Nov 13, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I've read several books with a strong "natural" childbirth bias, from Your Best Birth to a book on Bradley techniques and The Big Book of Birth. Most of them claim to be unbiased, but they all have an agenda. This book is really no different, but its agenda is in favor of medication and especially the epidural (as opposed to narcotics). Anyway, I think it's worthwhile to read books from both perspectives, and I thought the author did a nice job of making his case.
Feb 01, 2012 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: pregnancy
A good overview of a variety of medical and nonmedical options for childbirth. There is certainly a bit of bias in the writing (as is likely the case in any writing about childbirth) and the views skew towards medical intervention of some sort. With that said, I think it's a good overview of the different options available and how they work, how they may affect the mother and baby and more. I found it helpful overall.
Mar 26, 2009 Hilary rated it really liked it
I was trying to find a book that addressed all pain management options in childbirth, not just "going natural." This was the only one at the library that I could find! I was impressed with the book because it gave a very comprehensive look at all forms of pain management, and gave opinions from anesthesiologists and obstetricians to midwives and doulas. I also liked the section at the end with personal birth stories of caregivers themselves. Worth reading!
Dec 19, 2013 Sharlene rated it it was ok
Shelves: educational
I skimmed this. It didn't seem to have a real main point or a cohesive nature. There were several different opinions shared (some of which I did not appreciate). Perhaps the book took on too much in trying to reach "every woman." I really didn't like the organization or the readability of this book. I guess I really didn't love the title either "Easy Labor…Guide" A bit deceptive for its content. It didn't really seem like a guide.
Dec 17, 2009 Leslie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pregnant women
This was a really good book. It explained all kinds of methods of childbirth--from bathtubs to those big rubber exercise balls. It also explains your pain-relief options if you choose to go that route (I did!). I really wish I could have tried some of the alternative methods like the tub or exercise ball, but my hospital did not have those options available. Still, it was good to know they existed. This book helped me to know what to expect w/o freaking me out.
May 13, 2009 Martha rated it really liked it
I thought this book was very informative - while they are clear that you can't "understand" labor pain from a book, they provide helpful information on what it can be like from reports of studies, personal accounts and more. Extensively covers lots of options and had a limited "preachy" feel - although at times, it reads very pro-epidural.
This book was helpful to read before I gave birth. I liked the interviews with women, OBGYNs, midwives, nurses, and others about different approaches to pain. This book gave realistic information without pushing you to think one way to deal with the pain of childbirth was superior. The bottom line is you have to do what works for you and be flexible.
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