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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Joyce A. French, PhD, RN (Grand Valley State University)
Description: This is a practical guide for parents considering a vaginal birth after previous cesareans (VBAC). The content is structured around questions raised by expectant parents. The book evolved out of the authors' desires to play an active role in their own birthing experiences. The content reflects a strong bias for natural birth.
Purpose: Although there is no preface, the implied purpose throughout the text is to encourage women to consider natural childbirth after having a cesarean and to take responsibility for their own healthcare. In the conclusion, the authors state "this book should give you the tools to feel more knowledgeable and capable as a birthing mom." They cite cost and deprivation of birthing satisfaction among the reasons for avoiding cesareans whenever possible.
Audience: According to the author of the Foreword, C.S. Mahan, M.D, this book "will greatly help those seeking successful and fulfilling births by VBAC." The parents' personal perspectives about labor and delivery reported in this book can be useful to labor and delivery caregivers and educators.
Features: Illustrations are used to clarify muscle, uterine, and body positions described in the text. Unique features include a glossary of medical terms, a labor check list, and a well-indexed list of resources and further readings for parents. The statistics and research studies cited in the text are not referenced, nor is there a professional reference list.
Assessment: This book is written by a nurse as well as a college professor who has been active in women's issues. Both women gave birth four times during the 1980s. Both delivered their first two babies by cesarean and delivered their last two by VBAC. They tell their own stories from their perspective of "Birth is a powerful natural event, belonging to women and their families, not to doctors, insurance companies, or hospitals." If this perspective fits that of the reader, the book is an extremely useful and practical guide. The personal stories of births in hospitals and birthing centers can be useful to anyone interested in working in a partnership with their caregivers or those just wanting information. The authors present an accurate and complete description of situations and actions in the labor check list.