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Official Lamaze Guide

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The Official Lamaze Guide helps expectant parents experience childbirth with confidence. In clear, easy-to-understand terms, this book dispels the myths that pregnancy and birth are fraught with risk. Lothian and DeVries offer solidly researched evidence to document that common medical interventions (such as pitocin, epidural block, c-sections, IV fluids, and electronic fe ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Da Capo Press (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  362 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
Perhaps I am being too critical because the book was not at all what I expected.
According to Merriam Webster, Lamaze is a method of preparing women to give child birth without the use of drugs.
I had always thought of it as drug free coping methods in labor, specifically breathing exercises, which is the Google definition.

I was expecting a focus on laboring techniques. Instead, it is just another pregnancy, labor, and delivery book with very little to say about coping methods during childbirth. M
Jun 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Frightening, combative, and often factually inaccurate, this is less a helpful manual and more a piece of propaganda. Even approaching this book as someone who already agrees with its basic premise - that many US births are terribly impersonal and over-medicalized and that women need more options - I found the authors' tone and attitude extremely off-putting. "Natural childbirth" is used interchangeably with the phrase "normal childbirth," despite the obvious fact that, statistically, it is not. ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Nothing new. It's fine, has all the citations it needs, and provides some new studies I hadn't seen.

Ask me about my Lamaaze rant if you're interested. :)
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the practical medical information and what to expect during labor. I didn’t like the scare tactics and trying to convince you that giving birth in a hospital is a terrible choice. If you have a low-risk pregnancy and want to have a water birth, then have at it, but if you want to have an epidural and chill the fuck out that’s cool too. If you can get past the judgmental tone in some parts, the actual medical information is helpful without being too lovey-dovey. Think I’ll still need a bi ...more
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Once you get past all the not-so-subtle hospital and OB-bashing, the premise behind this book is a good one: as women, we were designed and built to grow and deliver babies. While I still plan to deliver my second baby in a hospital under the care of an OB, I have also gained some valuable lessons from reading this book:

1. Hire a doula to help with physical, emotional and psychological comfort before, during, and after labor.
2. Refuse all interventions for as long as possible unless medically ne
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I was looking for an objective summary of options and approaches that are available to me in delivering my baby. What I got was a mixed bag - definitely some good stories and recommendations on how to manage a natural child birth, but also quite a lot of what I feel is biased opinion and repetition of the dangers of hospital deliveries / unsound "routine" medical care. I ascribe to the "you do you" camp whenever possible, so I found that aspect of the book rather annoy ...more
Laura Hamadi
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this book on Amazon after my Lamaze birth class instructor recommended it. I enjoyed reading it, lots of great advice. Much of the information was repetition from the classes I took, but I actually enjoyed this. It helped cement all of the information in my mind.

The section on parenting and taking care of a newborn was also great. So often, moms-to-be are given every kind of education on pregnancy and labor, but not enough on what to do after. I liked how they said to have confidenc
This book is literally titled "giving birth with confidence, " but it's really mostly geared towards supporting people in birthing at home with no medical interventions. If this is the type of birth you want, this book will help you feel great about skipping the hospital. But if you are the type who like to give birth at the hospital, this book will tell you lots of reasons you should be fearful of the hospital. There are lots of great things about the book as well- a Woman's body is designed fo ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m preparing to be one of my daughter’s birth coaches at the birth of her first child. I read this book to update myself in Lamaze since it is almost 46 years ago I read a Lamaze book before delivering my daughter.
I expected breathing techniques but found no specifics of the panting & other procedures I remember. Instead this is a book encouraging women to select the kind of birth best for the mother and baby.

Say no to epidurals, episiotomy, pain meds, baby heart monitors and say yes to listeni
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan. The author strikes a tone of disdain toward anything related to doctors, hospitals, medical interventions, and basically anything other than giving birth at home. Instead of simply providing information and encouragement, she layers on the shame and guilt for anyone who chooses something other than her own ideal. There are a few pearls of wisdom, but overall there are much better books out there on natural childbirth.
Lisa Petronio
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book, recommended by my doula. Again, probably best received by someone who’s considering a natural birth though it didn’t feel slanted. There are pages of references at the back to provide evidence-based support of statements throughout the book. When I came across an interesting fact, I used those references to delve deeper into the science supporting the claim.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This is very anti-hospital and anti-OB, but there is some good and encouraging information. I also found it repetitive, but I am not a first time mom. I read this as part of becoming a certified Lamaze childbirth educator.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It wasn't a Lamaze method book like I expected, but it was an excellent childbirth book backed up by lots of research.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book! Lots of info about pregnancy, natural birth, recovery and early parenting. A great read!
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Reading some books, preparing for my second child. Didn't care for this one. Instead of taking a rational and reasoned approach, all hospitals and doctors are labeled as Evil.

I don't know if there are different versions of this book; the book I read was published in 2005, and it was seriously outdated for me. Either much has changed since then, or I live in a very progressive area. My first child was born in 2010, and the hospital followed ALL the 'advice' offered in this book. I had complete c
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who's pregnant or may be pregnant some day
Just finished the book and LOVED it! Some people have complained that the book portrays the healthcare system unfairly or is overly biased. I merely found it to be incredibly informative and supportive of all women giving birth, no matter where or how they choose to do so. Although the authors are of course openly in favor of natural birth, I think their main objective is to make sure that women are correctly educated so that they can make choices for themselves and their babies according to the ...more
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I was not able to take a prenatal class due to time and financial constraints, so I've been borrowing books from the library to give me some idea of what labor and delivery will be like and how I should prepare. This book gave me a lot to think about, and now I have lots of questions to ask my OB. The authors definitely promote a drug-free, intervention-free, birth center/home birth, and if you know that's not for you, then this book won't help you much. I would like to take a natural approach t ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, pregnancy
The author is a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator and doula, and this book is a Lamaze method childbirth guide. Caveat to the reader: the Lamaze method, this author, and this book all focus on natural childbirth free of the unnecessary medical interventions that have become routine in U.S. maternity care, so if you want to preschedule your induction and receive an epidural as soon as you're added to the hospital, this is not the book for you.

The Lamaze method is centered around six childbirth
Tara B
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I read this book to compare the Lamaze Method of childbirth education to the Bradley Method. Except for a few pages, this book does NOT go into detail on the differences between varying childbirth education methods. In fact, it does not even mention Bradley as the other leading form of childbirth education.

From what I've read elsewhere, "the Bradley method differs greatly from Lamaze. Instead of encouraging women to distract themselves from labor, Bradley teaches that women should focus directl
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This book contains a lot of very good information for mothers looking to trust themselves and their bodies through the birthing process. The first few chapters are quite dry, and are definitely selling an agenda. If you are having a hospital birth with a doctor you might believe after the first few chapters that a) you have made a terrible mistake or b) this book holds nothing for you. Neither is the case.

This book has a lot of great comfort techniques and exercises which are applicable to any w
Jessica Padgett
This book was not what I expected but still informative. I am pregnant with my first child and didn't know what to expect or even ask my doctor(s). I bought this book with the intention of learning some techniques to help me in labor but it didn't really do that. It provided me with a lot of information and encouragement that my body and my baby would know what to do and when. Basically to trust nature. It highly encouraged midwifery versus doctors and home birth versus hospital birth assuming y ...more
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked the opinions of the writers of this book about natural childbirth. But, the first few chapters are nothing but opinions with little advice on labor itself. Since I live abroad I had very few of the natural childbirth options described available to me (it was a tremendous battle which I ultimately lost, just to avoid a fetal monitor and an epidural.) I would have liked the book better if it had gone more in-depth on breathing techniques, pain management and dealing with hospital personnel ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pregnant women
If you only read one book about childbirth, this is an excellent choice. Lamaze has changed: it's not just about breathing patterns to distract you, and they no longer claim that the pain is all in your head. The Official Lamaze Guide walks you through best practices in L&D and why they are best as well as common practices you might want to question and how they may or may not benefit you. There are suggestions for a wide range of pain management strategies, many references to good research for ...more
Sarah Steele
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
So I'm planning an epidural-free delivery this time around and I wanted to see what I could research in the way of "natural" childbirth. My neighbor lent me this book and swears by it. However, the entire time reading it, I felt like a horrible person for wanting to give birth in a hospital with an obstetrician. I'm not in support of the whole, "babies should be born in the beds they're conceived in," like this author is. So while the chapters on what is physically happening to you during labor ...more
Feb 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This book has a lot of good information but I strongly disagree with some of the information provided. I think the statistics about the comparative safety of giving birth outside of a hospital setting have more to do with the type of person who chooses a birthing center/home birth than it does the safety of the hospital. I've seen several situations where a midwife's advise to avoid intervention had caused problems. (such as shoulder distoci resulting in a broken clavical and a ruptured uterus.) ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Above all, this book provides a philosophy of childbirth - basically, the idea that women are biologically fit for childbirth and are able to handle it. It helps remove the common views of childbirth that many people never question. It isn't a specific guide to what to do during the birth, but it provides a strong foundation for making your own decisions about what is right for you and your child. I found it pretty empowering and informative - for example, the book explains why labor is painful ...more
It was a good overview of pregnancy/labor/birth, similar to a lot of other books I've read. Honestly, I mostly skimmed it because I was just trying to familiarize myself with the Lamaze method, as a doula client of mine is a certified Lamaze instructor and I wanted to make sure I had a basic knowledge of Lamaze. I still think that, in terms of a comprehensive overview of pregnancy/birth that is empowering and mom-friendly, I like Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn 4th Edition by Penny Simkin t ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pregnancy
Basically underwhelming. There was nothing here I disagreed with (though the early emphasis on midwifery and the inappropriate application of obstetrics no low-risk pregnancies was a bit off-putting, even if they are points I ultimately agree with), but I would compare this book to a freshman college textbook. It's a good overview of many of the important points in childbirth, but there isn't a lot of depth. The chapter on comfort measures is a measly 12 pages. Better books include Penny Simkin' ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: birth-books
This book has a lot going for it (especially chapters on "Keeping Birth Normal" and "Finding Comfort in Labor") but I think that its opening chapter, "What Is Normal Birth?" overstates its case and might put off mainstream readers. Lines like, "In spite of the evidence, U.S. maternity care continues to sabotage normal birth rather than support it" -- although true -- I think might make women feel defensive. Still, a good basic book that covers a lot of ground and deserves to have a higher profil ...more
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm really getting a lot out of this so far. It is more informative than the other natural childbirth books I have been reading - the others seem to talk more about the history and medicalization of childbirth and fail to discuss actual techniques (like breathing, positions, etc) and labor signs. This one is more how-to/manual like without being preachy or boring.

very helpful, not preachy.
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“You are not an accident.
Even at the moment of your conception,
out of many possibilities,
only certain cells combined,
survived, grew to be you.
You are unique, created for a purpose.
Go confidently into the days ahead.”
“EFM certainly seems like a good idea. A machine that measures and records a baby’s response to contractions provides scientific data about a particular woman’s labor. Logic says—and many people assume—that EFM improves birth outcomes. Actually, three decades of research shows that EFM doesn’t improve birth outcomes. When EFM is used during labor, no fewer babies die and no fewer have problems at birth. However, more women have cesareans when EFM is used.21 If EFM doesn’t help babies and puts mothers at higher risk of surgical intervention, it is not safer care. In 1988, a Harvard Medical School report described EFM as a “failed technology” but also predicted that doctors wouldn’t stop using it because they fear being sued. Fear of malpractice litigation is pervasive in obstetrics. Doctors too often make patient-care decisions based on their fear of a lawsuit rather than on evidence-based standards of practice established by their profession.” 0 likes
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