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Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience
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Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  829 ratings  ·  198 reviews
The national C-section rate is at an all-time high of 31 percent. Are all these C-sections necessary, or are some of them done simply for the sake of convenience? Inductions seem to be the norm, but are they always needed? Today, expectant mothers are often left feeling powerless, as their instincts are replaced by drugs and routine medical procedures.

What you are about t...more
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Published May 1st 2009 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,267)
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Sarah
I am not pregnant, but I got interested in this book after I saw Lake and Epstein's documentary "The Business of Being Born." The authors do not hide their bias for more woman-centered birth care (for healthy moms carrying normal pregnancies i.e. not breach, multiples, etc.), which almost universally comes from midwives. However, the authors' primary goal is to help each mom discover her best birth for her and how to get it. If that means traditional obstetric care and a hospital birth, they giv...more
Christina
I found an interesting quote halfway through this book by a midwife meeting up with friends at a college reunion: "[They:] were divided into two categories: those who had chosen to deliver with a doctor, had had a bad experience, and promised me that next time they were going straight to their local midwife, and those who had done their homework ahead of time and had delivered with midwives."

That quote encapsulates the tone and feeling of this book perfectly. In the author's mind and in their de...more
Dani
Every pregnant woman should read this for a good introduction to her different options for delivering a baby and why the standard hospital model may not be the best one. The book's conversational style makes it accessible to everyone, but it isn't fluffy. It doesn't vilify hospitals or doctors, but it offers a surprising peek into the way obstetrics is practiced in this country today, and how hard a woman often has to fight to have her baby the way she wants.

It intends to give an unbiased view o...more
Eris
This book is perfect for those trying to decide what to do with their birth options, and even better for those trying to explain their desire to "go natural" to their friends or relations. It is so sad that in this day, you have to explain and defend your choice to NOT be operated on or filled with hormones - but this book gives very good, concise information to help inform others exactly WHY those options are not necessarily the route you want to take. It does not demonize the hospital birth so...more
Kari
I agreed to read this book to discuss it with a friend, not because I was drawn to it personally. I saw the documentary a year or two ago and this book is the follow-up to it. I found many of the premises to be really flawed. It was inflammatory, took facts far out of context to paint a very negative picture of childbirth in this country, and in many ways appeared to be a scare/guilt tactic. I think the benefits of the book are to help someone think through what they want their birth experience...more
Amanda
I really liked this book for the helpful lists of questions it provides for you to ask a doula, midwife, etc... Overall the book is very informational.

It is, however, very slanted toward a natural (unmedicated) home birth. Hospitals aren't exactly slammed out right, but the chapters on hospital birth centers and hospital births left me scared and feeling like the only way I would be able to control my birth was if I did it at home. So, the book is slightly emotionally manipulative which is dange...more
Sheridan
I finished reading Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. I mostly really loved the book. (I will put the only drawback I found at the end.) Through most of the book I was thinking, this is exactly what I would say if I wrote a birth book!

I love that it is not a book about “natural childbirth” rather it is focusing on educating yourself on your options and choose what is best for YOU. That is my own personal point of view as a childbirth educator and mom. There are a lot of choices out...more
hadashi
this should NOT have been the first preggers book i read.
okay, the subtitle for this book is "know all your options, discover the natural choices, and take back your birth experience" but it should be "know that you will have to fight tooth and nail just to have a vaginal birth not lying down in stirrups." at least that is what it felt like.
honestly, this book kinda freaked me out. it presents birth as an epic struggle between managed medical experience (bad) vs. all-natural home experience (goo...more
Holly
I selected this book while browsing the pregnancy/birth shelf on the strength of the title alone, and I'm so glad I did. It definitely is biased towards natural childbirth - but what birth book doesn't have a bias? Afterall both Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein support homebirth, with Ricki having birthed one of her own sons at home. This was not a problem for me, since my birth philosophy lies along the same lines. I'm not sure if it was the best introductory book to the pros and cons of epidurals,...more
Kelly
I got this from the library thinking "what the hell would Ricki Lake know about the birth experience?" Of course that was kind of stupid of me since she DOES have two children and probably spent a lot of time reading and researching -- just like I am now.

Simply put, this book blew me away. Though some will find fault with the fact that it has an obvious bias toward natural birth away from the hospital environment, it leaves plenty of room to include women who have had all varieties of birth expe...more
Martha
Received this in advance of it's publication since we're having a showing of The Business of Being Born....this is the best book to prepare women to birth in an informed and empowered way. Do not read What to Expect When You're Expecting....rubbish...even docs hate that book. They won't like this one either as it reveals the shortcomings of hospital births. Each baby born on a doc's shift is worth extra money to the doc...shocking facts that should steer women away from controlling birth attenda...more
Melissa
Why is there so much animosity towards mothers & birth in the medical community? We all had to be born. If my OB ever told me to "shut my mouth & open my legs," I'd kick him in the face.
Meghan
This book was a little bit too US based medical system to be of real use to a Canadian. A lot of what the authors talk about in terms of OBs etc. being afraid of performing a natural birth due to malpractice suits doesn't have much of an impact in the Canadian system as those are quite uncommon. That being said, I appreciated have all of the birthing options laid out. The book made me feel like no matter what I need to come prepared with a clear idea about what interventions I'm comfortable with...more
Amy
The book was more 3.5 than 3, but there are no half stars here. :)

I was a little disappointed with this book, not because it didn't have relevant information, but because I felt it took a "tone" when it comes to hospital, epidural-related births. And this is why it took me a month to finish it; I was halfway through and I felt like I had to really push myself to finish it. Throughout the book, the authors say they want to offer women information so they can make informed decisions, but the under...more
Ashley
There are not many books or movies that I watch that stick with me for a year after I watch them. Of course at the time they are amazing but I often continue living the same way afterwards. But one movie has ��� The Business of Being Born. Sandra encouraged me to watch it while i was pregnant (Okay, maybe it���s been two years) and it completely changed what i thought about giving birth. It is funny how much i had read about being pregnant, and then raising children, but i just figured that for...more
Lindsay
This book introduces itself as a non-biased assessment of a variety of birth choices/options and that's undoubtedly a lie. The writers definitely want you to choose natural birth. Luckily, I am on their side of the fence when it comes to my personal opinion or else I would have given this book only one star. Reading this book with a level of skepticism is probably best, but ultimately I was very glad I read it and can think of a number of women and mothers I would recommend it to.

This level of...more
Meredith
Caveat to the reader: Your Best Birth is written by and for women who want to reclaim a more natural form of childbirth where medical intervention is relegated to emergency situations rather than instituted as commonplace pratice. It is not for women without a granola streak or who don't possess a single hippieish tendancy.

If your preference is for modern, standard pratice, medically managed chilbirth, you will not like this book. If you feel it is foolish to question the wisdom of labor induct...more
Julie
Jul 30, 2010 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who will ever have a baby (including Dads)
Shelves: birth-etc
I thought this had some really good content, but was rather oddly organized. They start off saying they're going to explain things from every side so you can make informed decisions about what's best for you, but the beginning seems stuck on the scenario that you want a more natural birth and the hospital is trying to make you do things you don't want to.

Later on they give more detailed information, explaining epidurals, pain medications, different specific induction drugs and the risks and bene...more
Courtney
This is a very informative book that tells you all the things your doctor doesn't care to tell you. I have many friends who have gone through the exact circumstances that this book teaches you how to avoid. They have been induced for no medical reason (just because the doctor says they "are ready" to have the baby) then they end up with a c-section because the baby was "stubborn". Babies aren't too slow, babies aren't stubborn to come into the world (well, usually). Pregnancy, labor, and deliver...more
Heather
I think that this book does a good job presenting all the options and helping women weigh the risks and benefits. It also reminds women that birth is big business for hospitals and doctors and that they need to be proactive consumers. Lake and Epstein mention that most women spend more time researching their stroller than they do the doctor or the hospital that are going to deliver their baby. Women need to do their research and demand the type of care that treats women like the "birth goddesses...more
Bri Zabriskie
I'm not pregnant (yet) but after being pressured into several interventions with my first delivery (thankfully not a c section), I decided to look more into other birthing options. This book had convinced me into a midwife birth at a freestanding birthing center if possible with my next child and makes me feel much more confident about shopping the market for the right birthing team and making informed choices about birth.

While I could feel the writing was heavy slated towards the most natural...more
Stephanie
So far this one is a bit annoying. It has a definite anti-hospital slant to it which makes me question the "balanced" look the authors claim to present. It has offered some good points for me to consider, however. But ultimately our birth plan will be a decision for my husband and I, not Ricki Lake.

(2) I did not like the anti-hospital tone of this book. It would have been much more helpful if they truly did take a balanced look at all options – hospital, birth center and home birth. I do not bel...more
Danielle
As I'm getting ready to give birth for the first time and thinking about where/how I would like to deliver, this book was a great help. Many things here that I wasn't told about by anyone else, so I never even had the chance to consider and make an informed decision.

While I don't agree with absolutely everything the book says, it spurred my thinking. Good resource for first-timers.

The first questions everyone asks me are 1. when are you due, 2. what gender; and then this is almost inevitably f...more
Amie
I was given this book when pregnant with my first baby, but couldn't get myself to get past the introduction. For all their good intentions of making sure I "got what I wanted" it felt much more like the friends who had given this to me were pushing me to want what they wanted. I got pretty much the same feeling from this book.

I am now expecting my second and decided to give it another go. If the authors had prefaced the book as wanting to explain why unmedicated labor was desirable I would hav...more
Amy
As a Canadian, I felt like a lot of this book didn't really apply to my experience, as its written for American women navigating the American health care system. That said, there were certainly some helpful sections that are more universal. But I felt overall like there was just something lacking as I was reading... Maybe it's because I just read the book A Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds, which had great information that was well-supported by research throughout, but this book s...more
Ken
According to the authors of Your Best Birth, the U.S. tends toward a model of childbirth that is far too focused on the medical, on bypassing the natural process of childbirth in favor of a managed, controlled and clinical production. Childbirth, in the U.S., is an emergency -- a crisis -- requiring constant monitoring and frequent intervention in the form of epidurals, episiotomies and c-sections. Indeed, the c-section rate in this country is much higher than it would be if the operation was pe...more
Brandy
Yes, I've been reading this for the obvious reasons.

On the whole, there's a lot of good information here that's worth thinking about, though there is an obvious bias for a much crunchier style of birth than I'd feel comfortable with (there are a lot of stories of home births, for instance, and while it's a fine option for a lot of people, it's not for me). Still, a good resource to pick up just to know what the options are, and what "normal" things could complicate the experience. I probably won...more
Allee
One thing I find interesting is that many [negative:] reviews of this book claim that the book has a bias toward natural birthing. Well, hello, Ricki Lake is speaking out for the natural birthing community. The book's subtitle even says "Discover the Natural Choices". The whole point of this book is to bring these issues to attention. While they are pro-home birth, they are not against hospital births whastoever. It is about knowing all of your options so that you can make an educated decision....more
Danika
This is a good intro to the subject of childbirth and the many options women have. There's no question that the authors are biased to non-hospital births (birth center or home), but they still present the full spectrum of choices. They *try* to say that you shouldn't feel bad if you truly need a c-section or whatever, but the bias is still pretty strong. That said, their arguments are very compelling and this should be an eye opener for most women. I doubt most people realize how many of the cho...more
Holly
I read this a few months ago and went back and forth on whether to give it a 3 or a 4. Now having finished "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth," I'm giving this a 3.

Overall, this is a solid resource for people who want to learn about a better way to give birth, without the hyped-up fear and non-research-based interventions prevalent in the U.S. It's very layperson-friendly and it has numerous helpful and practical checklists (which I photocopied) about questions to ask health professionals, good rea...more
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