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The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth (Revised)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,060 ratings  ·  97 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 Knopf (first published 1980)
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Liz Adnitt
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
(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.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birth
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.
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book for me going through my first pregnancy. It was informative, explored many different options and wasn't fear-based which is something I really value. The more I read, the more I felt confident in my choices and preparation!
Andrea Porter
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very empowering and useful book. I'd highly recommend this to any pregnant woman.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: family
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...
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Real answers and not as "cutsie" as the others. I appreciate that... this is serious business after all.
Liz Guerrero
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This book came recommend by my OBGYN’s office, which she later found a bit surprising. While it was helpful, I found the book leaned towards home birth and water birth, both of which are not really options for me. The book also assumed I would be timid and shy around my doctor and unable to speak up, with a section on how to talk to your doctor, which I guess would be helpful for some women but I found insulting. If you know these things before you read it, it can be helpful for the information ...more
Buggy Castro
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Suuuuper informative. Lots of hidden tips and tricks to ease pregnancy symptoms in natural ways that you don't hear about a lot any more.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another version: The New Pregnancy & Childbirth
by Kitzinger, Sheila
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-3
A very informative read with excellent information to help with natural birth and medicated too. I feel well informed after reading this
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent source of information about pregnancy and birth. I read many books and articles, and this one was the most informative and useful. This book stands out among others, because virtually every statement is supported by evidence. The author cites to numerous studies, articles, and other scientific sources. Accordingly, I felt that I could rely on what I was reading. I give this book to friends who are newly pregnant.

I think the author does have a bias against epidurals and
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
A good general information guide on pregnancy and childbirth, though this book has not been updated in about 14 years. There is a good deal of information about pregnancy and childbirth, along with a great deal of photographs and information. This book also isn't one sided and gives information and perspectives on both natural and medicated birth.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Older cover does not look as cool! Good overall combo of info. Like the pics and the week by week
Apr 29, 2016 added it
Shelves: advanced
is beautifully written. It's innocent, poetic, and inspiring.

It also drove me kind of nuts.

Reading it reminded me of this scenario: imagine a parent teaching her teenage child to drive. She wants to be positive and encouraging, and so as her child is driving along she says something like this, "Oh, honey, I'm so excited that you're learning to drive! It's going to be so great for you to be able to get places on your own! You're getting so mature and WATCH OUT FOR THAT CURB!"

Much of the text is
Book Urchin
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
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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",
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, pregnancy
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
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very basic information type of book. It was super highly rated and I found it for 1.99 so I went for it but it turned out to be a day long flip-through book for me. I think this is great for a genuine first time parent or one who's not informed about the process or options. I like that it's very inclusive toward non-medical attitudes and choices. I was hoping it'd have more photos of births and interesting stories and whatnot. Again, very basic but very thorough. I think it's kind of ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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