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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  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 Ratings  ·  219 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published 2009)
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Apr 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pregnancy-birth
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
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2014 added it
They definitely had an agenda, but I thought the information was useful.
Ugh. I had to skip parts of it.

The book was basically propaganda, but not even the helpful kind. It just went on and on and on about overly medicalized hospital births in the United States, and the alternatives of midwives and doulas, but unfortunately there was scant information about topics like how to manage pain in labor or when to throw in the towel and get yourself to a doctor.

Also, it was written at about the 8th grade level and came off as overly whiny. I didn't see a lot of solid rese
Almost anti-hospital, but still fairly informative.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
By the makers of "The Business of Being Born," a fantastic resources for moms-to-be in a smart and straight-forward way. Great read.
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baby-parenting
I've been reading a ton of baby/birth books (unsurprisingly, as I'm due in a few months), and I was pretty surprised (maybe unfairly so) that Ricki Lake was responsible (in part) for it. Lake herself says that after an upsetting birth experience of her first child in a hospital, she was driven to research the birth history and process in this country, and personal experience is as good a reason to become an "expert" in a topic as any other.

I heard a recommendation for it on a parenting blog, and
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
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
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