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Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,679 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
Provides comprehensive information on all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, including updated sections on prenatal nutrition, pain medications, and obstetrical interventions.
Hardcover, 499 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Meadowbrook Press (first published March 1st 1984)
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Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are pregnant or considering pregnancy
Recommended to Laura by: my midwife, and my birth-class instructor
Shelves: baby-stuff
What I love about this book is the acknowledgment that not all pain management techniques work for all women. Rather than present one comprehensive 'system' (a la Hypnobirthing, Bradley, etc), she suggests several methods for dealing with childbirth pain, and is non-judgmental about the use of medication as well. To me this is much more helpful - I can become familiar with several techniques and focus on the ones I like. In comparison, Hypnobirthing is presented (in the book Hypnobirthing) as th ...more
Very good overview of pregnancy, birth, and having a newborn (as one would expect given the title). Likely most helpful for first time moms. It does seem to lean toward supporting natural child birth and breastfeeding, so some people might be turned off by the tone of the book, but it does seem to try to respectfully discuss medicated birth options and formula feeding as well. The book is written very neutrally with references to fathers and partners, and I would imagine a same sex couple would ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, pregnancy
The Switzerland of pregnancy and childbirth books, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn clearly lays out all pregnancy and birth options without obviously favoring one side or the other in the medical versus natural debate. In fact, this is the only baby book I've encountered that when discussing circumcision doesn't immediately follow the statement that it is not medically necessary by basically saying that anyone who doesn't circumcise her son is a bad, sadistic, heartless mother.

If you are
Reading and Living
Este libro es una joya!! Totalmente recomendado para aquel que quiera ser padre, la que esta embarazada o quien tenga un bebe recien nacido. Es un libro sin desperdicios, abarca todas las etapas del emabarazo, detalle a detalle y lo primero meses de vida del recien nacido.

Incluye consejos de dieta y ejercicio (con fotos) para mujeres embarazadas. Hay un capítulo sobre las complicaciones durante el embarazo, así como uno sobre cómo planificarte para un parto. Los planes de nacimiento son discutid
Kylin Larsson
This is one of the most helpful pregnancy books I've read. Though I'm sure my body knows how to give birth, my brain appreciates all the information and reassurance I can find. The six authors include Penny Simpkin, who is famous in the birthing world for her practical non-Western approach to birth support advice. The book has a good balance of biological / medical information and natural pain management methods.

The first few chapters go over the physical aspects of pregnancy and prenatal care.
Jen Quintanilla
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: babies
I read this book slowly throughout my pregnancy, reading chapters as they became relevant. It offered clear, objective, and non-judgmental information regarding pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care, and childcare. I can see myself revisiting the information presented in the later chapters once the baby arrives and in subsequent pregnancies. Many of the chapters answered questions I probably would have asked, putting me at ease between appointments, and allowing me to ask questions with less ob ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the best complete guide to pregnancy/birth that I’ve read. This book is a great, basic, modern birth book. I like that it’s unbiased and provides options that would appeal to all women, from the natural home birth to the mom that wants an epidural before she gets to the hospital. The depth at which the authors went when it came to explaining pain and how to cope, explaining breathing techniques, were extremely valuable! The breathing graphs were something I had never seen and I think so ...more
Elizabeth Merchant
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: our-library
This giant book might be more ideally suited for a doula, spouse, or other birth partner than it is for a mother-to-be, but that's fine. I've just read it as a doula-in-training, and I do feel as though I've gotten an education. I found it easy-to-follow, yet full of vital information.

The "newborn" aspect of things was not as thoroughly covered as I expected it to be, based on the amount of room given to everything else, so I can't recommend it as an "only book you'll ever need"; even a minimali
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book concentrates a lot on pre-pregnancy, which I didn't need since I was already pregnant. but it did have a wealth of very helpful and useful information for labor and delivery, which is what i mostly got out of reading this book.
Lots of helpful, easy-to-understand info.

Definitely biased toward drug-free delivery.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive and thorough, unbiased almost to a fault (sometimes it reads like a textbook). Highly recommended for people like me who don't know shit about birthing and babies.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TONS of information! Everything I could want to know and more about pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn. I'm using it as a reference when I have questions, not a sit-and-get.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thorough resource that overall I recommend; however, it is biased against medicated births. The authors are happy to present studies against medicated births, but don't present the alternative. I find this bias against medication irritating. Get off your high horse and give me the facts so I can make my own decisions. They also use quotes from "real women" for the same motive.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, doula-books
A complete guide just as the title says. This book gives you an overview of everything you need to know. WAY better than the What to Expect books. Had I read this in my first pregnancy it would have saved me from a lot of grief. i will definitely reccomended it to my doula clients.
Christy Ford
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
After checking out stacks and stacks of pregnancy books from the library, this is the one I purchased. It isn't a perfect, be-all-end-all resource to everything you'd ever want to know, but it avoids most of the pitfalls of pregnancy books, and has solid, usable information, including the best explanations of medical interventions I have found.

First, the book treats the reader with respect. It is amazing how uncommon this is in pregnancy literature. It assumes that while the mother may not know
Erika RS
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the last of the general pregnancy books that I had on my list to read. I probably didn't need to read it. Not because I didn't learn anything — I did, and there were several areas where this book was better than the others I read — but I think three general pregnancy books reaches the points of diminishing returns. So now you know =)

But on to judging this book on its own merits! In many ways this was my favorite of the three books. I still prefer the tone of the Our Bodies, Ourselves pre
Matt LeFevers
This book has a lot of really good information and seems to come from a genuinely helpful place but the further I got into it, the harder it was to ignore the clear anti-medical-establishment bias. There isn't anything in the title or description of this book that betrays an alternative medicine slant (though if I had been paying attention, I might have noticed the number of co-authors who are doulas) but it bled through on every page.

I sincerely think the authors were trying to be fair handed -
Jason Strayer
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the big momma of pregnancy and delivery books. If you haven’t already received this book as part of the tuition of a pregnancy class, and you’re the kind of parent who likes to thoroughly -- and I mean thoroughly – examine an intimate subject of your life, then you should rush right over to your Amazon dot com and drop this into your shopping cart. Knowing that you’re reading this here on Goodreads, well, I don’t expect you’re the person who will get home the day of the discharge and say ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this guide was excellent. I like how it was structured; it made it easy for me to look up questions I had throughout my pregnancy. I like that it just gave the most basic and important information that you need to know. This allows you to to read other books that more specifically suit your ideals about specific topics. For instance, I chose to also read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method to learn more about childbirth and how I want to prepare for it. But ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion three stars was generous considering how angry I am right now. (In the interest of total disclosure I did not read the chapters on being pregnant again or including a child in a new pregnancy because those are not applicable to me.) I just finished the part about formula feeding and am so angry I am considering writing an email to the authors over their narrowmindedness and judgmental stance on people who formula feed over breastfeeding. I am NOT, as the author plainly suggests, on ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so this frequently upset me. That being said, other pregnancy books, notably What to Expect (which I read 10 years ago when my sister was pregnant), barely mention home births or midwives or the freaky bias in the US toward c-sections. Anyway, this book really is directed toward mothers planning a drug free birth.

Honestly, most of the natural birth stuff was fine. It was the stuff about how US hospitals seem to love to take away babies to the nursery - for no good reason except the mother
Jose Feiteirinha
Both me and my wife read this book as we prepared to the birth of our baby. What I liked most about this book ( that is besides being truly a complete guide filled with information on your options and preparing you for the possible reactions of all parties involved [ including family members and medical staff ], or containing many techniques and recommendations, or summarizing the labor process in the most detailed and instructive way [ including drawings and pictures ] --- besides being great a ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive on several different pre- and post-natal topics, perhaps. But the tone didn't sit right with me, particularly in the childbirth section, which is the main reason I read this (it was given out as part of my labor & delivery class). While other reviewers have praised this as non-judgmental about the use of medicines, I didn't find it so. I felt the pro-doula, less-med-friendly perspective of the author was evident throughout. There are some helpful charts, diagrams, and illustrat ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really excellent birth preparation course, in book form. Simkin presents the facts, and the pros and cons of various choices, in a much less biased way than most "natural birth" proponents, but without the pro-intervention blinders typical of mainstream medico types. The description says, "if you only buy one childbirth book, this is the one" and I wholeheartedly agree. The perfect read for anyone who wants to have the birth experience SHE wants -- whether that means unassisted at home in a bi ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate the no-nonsense approach of the authors and the useful checklists. I even photocopied one and took it with me to a prenatal pediatrician interview! I have marked many pages in the book to refer to as we approach the birth and postpartum. I feel much better prepared for a natural childbirth having read about the stages of labor and techniques for getting through them. My husband read The Birth Partner at the same time I read this and they made good companion texts - one written for m ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bambina
This was the first book I read once we got pregnant, and it's the one I keep going back to when I have a specific question. Good information presented in a no-nonsense way. Not judgmental or condescending (unlike the What to Expect series, of which I couldn't even make it through the Kindle samples before deleting them in disgust).

Edited 3/27/12 to add: I still think this is the best pregnancy & baby book I read. In fact, the babe is 3 months old now, and it's still the book I turn to when I
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the last days of our pregnancy and in the first days our parenthood, this book has been my go-to resource.

PCN is written on an informed consent model. Information and education is the primary focus; the authors' opinions appear only subtly, indirectly. We were committed to natural childbirth, and found this book helpful. However, I could also see PCN being welcome to parents planning a medical-model birth, as PCN provides fairly unbiased information about both models.

I highly recommend it to
Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another one I was very pleased with. If I were to buy only one reference book on this topic for my own library, this would be the one. Far better than "What to Expect" in every way. It has a much more laid-back presentation, presenting fair and balanced views of all the options available rather than assuming you're automatically having a hospital birth with all the trimmings. It doesn't spend a lot of time focusing on the pregnancy part, but the childbirth/labour section was easily the b ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Informative book that read quickly. I didn't care for the cutesy examples given (just tell me that I'll be emotional about strange things, don't list off sappy images like a child being helped and whatnot). I did learn some new things, which eased some of my worries about being pregnant. Of course, the book constantly tells the reader to consult with your medical care provider, and I probably could have found out any information I needed from my midwife (but she's great; some people aren't so lu ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, birth
This is a great book if you are interested in a natural birth. There are strengthening exercises and relaxation exercises to practice ahead of time so you enter labor more prepared. After reading this book, I don't know if I would be interested in natural birth without preparing like this ahead of time. The book also notes these exercises are great for coping with contractions before the medications kick in (or if you are one of the unlucky few that get limited relief from meds). I can't persona ...more
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