A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience

A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience

by Anne Lyerly
     
 

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Drawing on a landmark study involving more than one hundred pregnant women and mothers, a renowned OB/GYN synthesizes the secrets to a good birth—medically and emotionally.

Most doctors are trained to think of a “good” birth only in terms of its medical success. But Dr. Anne Lyerly knows firsthand that there are many other important

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Overview

Drawing on a landmark study involving more than one hundred pregnant women and mothers, a renowned OB/GYN synthesizes the secrets to a good birth—medically and emotionally.

Most doctors are trained to think of a “good” birth only in terms of its medical success. But Dr. Anne Lyerly knows firsthand that there are many other important elements that often get overlooked. Her three-year study of a diverse group of over one hundred expectant moms asked what matters most to women during childbirth. The results, presented to the public for the first time in A Good Birth, show what really matters goes beyond the clinical outcome or even the usual questions of hospital versus birthing center, and reveal universal needs of women, like the importance of feeling connected, safe, and respected.

Bringing a new perspective to childbirth, the book’s wisdom is drawn from in-depth interviews with women with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and whose birth stories range from quick and simple to complicated and frightening. Describing what went well, what didn’t, and what they’d do differently next time, these mothers give voice to the complete experience of childbirth, helping both women and their healthcare providers develop strategies to address the emotional needs of the mother, going beyond the standard birth plans and conversations. Transcending the “medical” versus “natural” childbirth debate, A Good Birth paves the entryway to motherhood, turning our attention to the deeper and more important question of what truly makes for the best birth possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2006, Lyerly began the Good Birth Project, a landmark research study that asks the question: “What constitutes a good birth in the eyes of the childbearing women?” Her research team conducted interviews with 101 mothers about their birth experiences, and the results of that study serve as the basis for this insightful book: “an effort to craft a notion of the good birth that turns... on what women say is deeply at issue for them.” While the book is aimed at mothers and soon-to-be-mothers, Lyerly also has an important message for the medical community, midwives, and other birth advocates who are in the middle of an important but polarizing debate (“medical” vs. “natural” childbirth), in which “women lose.” Lyerly admits that “no doubt there is and will likely continue to be some degree of tension between obstetrics and midwifery,” but she attempts to make a place in the conversation for women’s voices. Those on the side of midwifery may yet dismiss Lyerly as a medically trained and practicing obstetrician and the mother of four children who were all born by cesarean. But she also notes that “every women does deserves a midwife,” or rather, the kind of care that treats childbirth as a profoundly emotional and transitional experience, and that respectfully fosters a mother’s agency, personal security, and connectedness. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"Laced with heartfelt anecdotes and compelling stories . . . Lyerly writes with candor and humility."
The Boston Globe

"Comforting and informational . . . Positive, sympathetic and diverse perspectives for past, present and future mothers-to-be."
Kirkus Reviews
 
"A Good Birth is like no other book in the pregnancy and birthing literature. Annie Lyerly’s beautiful prose helps all of us understand what we each should do, and expect of one another, to make every birth a good birth."
—Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH, Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
 
"A Good Birth radically repositions our understanding of what makes childbirth valuable and meaningful to women."
—Elena Gates, MD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
 
"A winning and impressive mix of research, insight and personal experience that will be a vital resource both to delivering women and those who attend their births."
—Jeffrey L. Ecker, M.D., Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School
 
"A Good Birth is a refreshing addition to research on how women who have given birth ultimately perceive and describe their experience."
—Kitty Ernst, CNM, MPH, Mary Breckinridge Chair of Midwifery, Frontier Nursing University

Library Journal
Associate director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Lyerly conducted a three-year survey involving over 100 pregnant women to determine what makes "a good birth"—and not just in medical terms.
Kirkus Reviews
An obstetrician and mother of four (all by cesarean) reveals the myriad ways women can feel empowered by pregnancy. That Lyerly (Obstetrics and Gynecology/Univ. of North Carolina) managed to compose this astute guide amid the first year of her fourth son's life seems an accomplishment on its own. In "giving voice to women themselves," she demonstrates how new outlooks on the process of birthing can surface. The author directly yet compassionately addresses the issues surrounding what constitute an unconstrained "good" birth and the primary goals associated with it. Besides preserving a healthy mother and child, Lyerly petitions to broaden the good-birth concept beyond that of a positive medical outcome. She writes that although the experience gained from her medical residency and obstetrics practice have helped to enhance her perception of what the optimal delivery can be, it was the groundbreaking three-year Good Birth Project, instituted at Duke University in 2006, which solidified her research. Culling hours of interviews with 100 pregnant women, midwives and maternity-care providers, Lyerly channels the fruits of these conversations (and her own personal anecdotes) into five thematic "domains"--what she found mattered most to expectant women: agency (the capacity to act on one's own behalf), personal security, connectedness through adult-infant bonding and beyond, respect and essential knowledge. Throughout, the author's focus is clear, and her unobtrusive approach succeeds in showcasing women with alternative pathways to handling, accepting and loving all aspects of the pregnancy and child-birthing processes. "What is needed in birth is not always intuitive or straightforwardly derived from other of life's lessons," she writes. Her comforting and informational guidebook will be useful for those seeking to explore the less-obvious components of parturition. Positive, sympathetic and diverse perspectives for past, present and future mothers-to-be.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101609040
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Laced with heartfelt anecdotes and compelling stories . . . Lyerly writes with candor and humility."
The Boston Globe

"Comforting and informational . . . Positive, sympathetic and diverse perspectives for past, present and future mothers-to-be."
Kirkus Reviews
 
"A Good Birth is like no other book in the pregnancy and birthing literature. Annie Lyerly’s beautiful prose helps all of us understand what we each should do, and expect of one another, to make every birth a good birth."
—Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH, Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
 
"A Good Birth radically repositions our understanding of what makes childbirth valuable and meaningful to women."
—Elena Gates, MD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco
 
"A winning and impressive mix of research, insight and personal experience that will be a vital resource both to delivering women and those who attend their births."
—Jeffrey L. Ecker, M.D., Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School
 
"A Good Birth is a refreshing addition to research on how women who have given birth ultimately perceive and describe their experience."
—Kitty Ernst, CNM, MPH, Mary Breckinridge Chair of Midwifery, Frontier Nursing University

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