This book would be an excellent addition to the library of most pregnant women (particularly those who connected with the original Our Bodies, Ourselves book and its approach to women's health and empowerment). This is a basic, introduction to pregnancy and birth book geared primarily towards the first time mother. It goes beyond the scope of most basic pregnancy books though in its willingness to address important, though uncomfortable, topics such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression during pregnancy, HIV, STDS, & substance abuse that are often neglected or ignored in other books.
The book clearly addresses the differences between the Midwives Model of Care and the medical model (you can also read about the differences according to the OBOS authors in their excellent online article). A main strength of the book is that it is balanced—not in the sense that some people mean the word (that all options are presented as equal), but in the sense that it provides information on just about everything. It is also very evidence based and true—it does not present only “party line” and likewise not only one philosophy.
The conclusion of my review is as follows:
Many of the most popular pregnancy books are rooted in medical model, conventional wisdom, and a climate of fear and doubt. This book is rooted in an empowerment oriented, woman centered midwifery model in a climate of confidence and competence. This book is a basic introduction to pregnancy and birth and is primarily directed towards the newly pregnant first time mother. I hope it finds a comfortable home on bookstore shelves next to (or in place of!) books about “what to expect” during pregnancy.
I have much more to say about this book and will share those thoughts in future posts. You may also join CfM in time to receive the spring issue of CfM News and read my full review there as well as many other interesting articles about midwifery, birth, and women's health care!