Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

by Jennifer Block


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"No woman who is pregnant, has been pregnant, or plans to be pregnant should set foot inside the office of her OB/GYN before reading this."--Women's Review of Books

A groundbreaking narrative investigation of childbirth in the age of machines, malpractice, and managed care, Pushed presents the complete picture of maternity care in America. From inside the operating room of a hospital with a 44% Cesarean rate to the living room floor of a woman who gives birth with an illegal midwife, Block exposes a system in which few women have an optimal experience. Pushed surveys the public health impact of routine labor inductions, C-sections, and epidurals, but also examines childbirth as a women's rights issue: Do women even have the right to choose a normal birth? Is that right being upheld? A wake-up call for our times, Block's gripping research reveals that while emergency obstetric care is essential, we are overusing medical technology at the expense of maternal and infant health.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738211664
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 04/07/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 392,840
Product dimensions: 5.87(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Block is a former editor at Ms. Magazine and an editor of the revised Our Bodies, Ourselves. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, and Elle. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Preface to the Paperback Edition     xiii
Introduction     xvii
Arranged Birth     1
The Short Cut     45
Denied Birth     73
Consequences     109
Mothers' Helpers     149
Underground     177
Criminalized     213
Rights     249
Appendix A     273
Appendix B     277
Notes     279
Index     301

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Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sad to see the above reviewer, Ms. Ob/Gyn, stoop so low as to accuse Block of enslaving women. It's another disgusting attempt on the part of institutionalized medicine to prevent women from learning the truth behind modern medical practices. This book educates women on the medical concerns regarding common obstetrics practice. It will benefit any woman giving birth in modern America regardless of whether she desires a hospital birth or a homebirth. It gives women knowledge and knowledge is power. That may sound cliche, but this book empowers women to participate in choices regarding their own body rather than blindly following the doctor's orders. Birth is not an illness or a medical procedure, it's a biological function. I found this book too late. I hope other women find it and use it to have the birth they deserve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book to read, and I wish I had read it sooner! It was very informative and shed a lot of light on how doctor's "push" women to have c-sections. I think every pregnant woman or any woman wanting to become pregnant should read this book, and listen and understand what it is saying. You were made to have a baby, your body knows what it is doing, only under extreme circumstance should you need surgery. Otherwise, let your body do what it was made to do!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is time for women to know the truth about birth in the United States.
Heavenbound More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Block did a wonderful job exposing the sad truth about maternity care without bias. This book is a MUST READ for any woman who is pregnant or plans to have a baby. It shows the history of obstetrics and how far from "normal" all of the medical technology has taken maternity care. Most doctors are no longer using evidence-based practices, but have liability driven (CYA) practices ... and women and babies are paying the price. It also sheds light on the fact that, in most cases, a healthy woman is better off having her baby delivered by a midwife than by an OB doctor in a hospital. There are even obstetricians who agree. I am a nurse and doula and work with doctors and midwives on a regular basis and the amount of intervention in this "natural body process" is very sad and frustrating, not to mention dangerous! But it is not just the doctors ... women are allowing and even choosing these dangerous interventions because our society is so obsessed with convenience and instant gratification that no one wants to wait until the baby and their body are ready for birth. It is an easy read with very factual content based on legitimate reasearch and "the evidence". I highly recommend this book if you're looking for answers about choices and childbirth ... or if you are just interested in some of the history about how we got to this point in our treatment of pregnancy and childbirth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I felt better equiped to handle my next pregnancy and my rights. Wish I'd read it earlier. Block shares her opinion by uses facts to illustrate her points. This book is a must read for women to understand their rights and options during pregnancy and birth.
iBeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
_Pushed_ is a sobering look at childbirth as it happens routinely in the U.S. Block includes the perspectives of all sorts of people: obstetricians, nurses, mothers, midwives, doulas, advocates. She doesn't minimize the troubling details that she observes, whether they happen in a hospital or at a home birth, and as a result, many stories are sad ones. Because of this, I don't consider this book to be a polemic that argues for "natural" birth, but you can't read it without thinking that the typical hospital birth could sure stand some improvement.
SelimaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the book I wish I'd had when I was pregnant. I was interested in a drug-free birth, and read all the usual books. Most of them seemed to equate natural childbirth with some sort of moral stance or an ethereal connection to womanhood, and although I can't prove it statistically, they were shrill and biased. Pushed is not a light read. It's not going to help you create a lilac-scented birthplan on pink paper. It's not going to help you do anything, except think. It's a fact-packed book, heavy on medical studies, footnotes, and legal cases. Although the author is clearly sympathetic toward non-interventionist births, it is so thorough, and draws upon such a range of information that it comes across as balanced and informative. There's a lot to discuss here with women you know, with your partner, with your doctor, and perhaps even with your legislator. But to go through birth without reading this book is like going through with your eyes closed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a book that I read for a women & health class, I am not expecting anytime soon. I would recommend it though for expecting mothers, it helps to inform women of the issues surrounding child birth today. It is quite bias against the medical field but it you read it knowing that then I think that you can look past it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a woman who has had or ever plans to have a baby this is a must read. This book contains a lot of information on the past and current practices for childbirth. It definitely makes you think about your rights as a woman and patient. Block provides plenty of research while still being easily comprehendible for any reader.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is in conflict with the desired feminist stand of this author. She in a very round about way enslaves modern women to the pains of natural labor despite her many statements about the empowering and freedom of women. She also misses the many monumentous points in history that breought about the legal interuptions between a pt and her doctor. The last 30% of this book is the best written part. As an ob/gyn, I would believe that at least 50-75% of women reading this book would be left feeling inadequate as they would prefer,NOT THEIR DOCTOR, some relief of pain. The most important point in this book is the obvious lack of sensitivity of this feminist to the choices of women today. This all coming from an ob/gyn who believes in a woman's choice in the way that they deliver: completely natural or with the help of modern medicine.