Books and DVD's - Good, Bad, and the Ugly - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought it would be great to get a master thread going on with our recommendations and reviews of pregnancy "study material." Some items have been mentioned in other threads, but I would love to see more suggestions as well as know what the heck to stay away from after last night's bomb (See "DVD - The Ugly").

Books - The Good:
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Husband-Coached Childbirth
Childbirth the Bradley Way

Books - The Bad:
What to Expect When You're Expecting

Books - The Ugly:
The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy (my midwife told me to stay away, haven't actually read it)
Your Pregnancy Week by Week (felt like nothing but one big scare tactic - OMG, so many things can go wrong, get every test possible)

DVD - The Good:
The Business of Being Born (convinced my husband that birth shouldn't be in the hospital)

DVD - The Ugly:
Pregnant in America (poorly made and really scary - DH didn't sleep last night and is now worried that something will happen to our baby if we go to the birth center instead of the hospital)


Please feel free to offer contradicting opinions and add to the lists! I'd live to have some more great reads and less scary information!

Alaskan Wife and Mama to my special little guy ribbluyel.gif (9/13/11) and expecting #2 (2/21/13)!

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#2 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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Books-  The Fun:  Baby Catcher, by Peggy Vincent.  It's mostly just a fun read about one midwife's career and home births that she remembers.  It generally has a pretty positive tone, even when things "go wrong" they are painted as very, very rare.    I didn't learn a ton- so maybe not in the "The Good" category, but it seems like it could help you sleep after some of the Uglies because it makes birth sounds so fun!

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#3 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh, forgot to add "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care" to the GOOD book list. Great read that I couldn't put down.

Alaskan Wife and Mama to my special little guy ribbluyel.gif (9/13/11) and expecting #2 (2/21/13)!

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#4 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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The Good (Books) for me have been:

The Sears' Pregnancy Book

Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy (not scary, just straightforward clinical-type info...great big section on "common complaints")

 

Also read Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery, which was kinda entertaining with all the groovy hippie birth stories and helped me see a vision of birth that's radically different than the mainstream....although I highly doubt I will personally ever have an orgasmic birth.


Teacher until birth of DS (7-27-08)blowkiss.gifand now DD (10-17-11)femalesling.GIF:, now SAHM, wife to my wonderful hard-working DH.   cd.gifnocirc.gifselectivevax.gif

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#5 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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Ugly: The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy.  Vapid, callous, condescending, overly medical.  Some funny parts, but overall not worth it. I'm glad you're not reading it.   

Good: Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley.  It was a bit too crunchy for me in places, but the articles are VERY well researched and it's a good reference if you need information about, say, epidurals.  

Hypnobirthing and the accompanying Rainbow CD.  It is a good approach, although after having had one baby I think it's good not to get locked into a certain type of birth.  You never know what will happen and you may labor very differently than you initially thought you would.  

The Happiest Baby on the Block:  This is the ONLY parenting book I would recommend a first time parent read before the baby is born.  Fantastic.  It's sort of a survival guide for the first 3-6 months.  Love it!

 

 

I like Sears, but I find that I understood him better once I was awash in maternal hormones.  You'll have hours to read once the baby figures out how to breastfeed, trust me.  

 

What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen.  Another post-partum read.  It was incredibly healing for me to read this book.  I bought a ton of copies and distributed them to all my friends.  


Loving wife to a wonderful and Godly man, hug.gif  and SAHM to two beautiful boys, DS1, natural hospital birth (2/2010) and DS2, beautiful homebirth (10/2011) cd.gifnursex2.gif

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#6 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 08:46 PM
 
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Aw, I liked the GIrlfriend's Guide.  Sure, it's not in league w/ Ina May, but it's not meant to be. It's just humorous.

 

I also liked Your Pregnancy Week by Week alright, except around 36w when they had a special section about how DANGEROUS a home birth is (see my sig).  But I expect that sort of crap from mainstream media.  It was a bit boring, though, and you can get similar info by signing up for babycenter emails.

 

I'd like to add:

GOOD:

"Obstetric Myth vs. Research Realities" or "The thinking woman's guide to a better birth" both by Henci Goer

"Exercising Through Your Pregnancy" by James Clapp

"Birth: The Surprising History of How We're Born"


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#7 of 24 Old 04-11-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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good:

a child is born

your baby your way

birthing from within

 

Would like to second the hypnobirthing book and cd.

 

Out of all of the books I have read over the years, those are the ones still on my book shelf. I can't give a list of the bad and ugly as I purged those a long time ago:)

 

Bad:

Pregnancy after loss

I just read this as it was highly recommended and felt that it was like a pregnancy after loss version of "what to expect while you're expecting". Way paranoid and over medicalized. Made me feel more scared about my situation when I was looking for something to help me feel at ease.


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#8 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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I thought Pregnant in America was good. It finally pushed us into the homebirth I really wanted.


Nicole treehugger.gif  Busy with my two boys.jog.gifdiaper.gif  The 'big boy' too. peace.gifOh, and a sweet baby girl, born at home in October. love.gif

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#9 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 10:06 AM
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I think the right book/DVD really depends on what you are planning for the birth. If you're going to be in a hospital, Spiritual Midwifery is just depressing. Or at least it was for me. (But I really dislike the hospital. Perhaps if you are less averse than I am, it's less of an issue.) I think it's a lovely book otherwise, though.

 

Just a very minor cautionary note that Henci Goer's books, while well-researched, are starting to be out of date at this point. For some topics, there may be new evidence that throws some of the older stuff into question or even out the window.

 

good: I really like everything of Penny Simkin's stuff that I have read. I just borrowed Sarah Buckley's latest edition, and am enjoying that a lot, too. I am finding it very well-researched.


professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#10 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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Good:

Spiritual Midwifery, I can't get enough of this book and I am planning a hospital birth.  The main things that I have gotten from it are that the attitude that you have and the environment will play a big role in your birth. Bring music to the hospital with you and your favorite blanket. Keep the lights dim and don't allow a million and one visitors. Go to the hospital at the last possible moment if you are comfortable with that. I love those hippie birth stories!

 

The Birth Partner, by Penny Simpkin. DH and I got so much out of this book! It is such a great resource for things to try during labor. I highly recommend. And bring it to the hospital/birth center/have handy at home.


Sue, Mama to Fiona Aileen (2/1/09) and  Maeve Penelope (10/7/11) familybed2.gif cd.gif
 

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#11 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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A book I absolutely LOVE that is not a parenting or pregnancy birth really, but a cultural and biological history of childrearing and mother-child relations in the human species is called "Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species". So okay, I am a PhD student in the social sciences, so maybe I am the target audience for this book. But I thought it was FASCINATING, and it really informed my sense of myself as a mother. I recommend it to everyone but haven't had many takers :)

 

Birthing From Within: I kind of didn't want to like this one- too new-agey for me and the birth art part was way too much for me. BUT, I found that I really liked what it said about the experience of labor, the role of birth partner and birth attendants, and I really liked that it talks about different places of birth with respect, about having a ceasarian birth (not a "section"). I read it when pregnant with #2 and already planning a homebirth, but I kind of wish I'd read it earlier.

 

I don't hate the What To Expect book but you could definitely live without it. lots of practical info if you don't know much. if you're a first-time mom someone will probably give it to you anyway.

 

I haven't read all that many others. I liked Henci Goer but I wish she'd do an updated edition. However, I think her main point stands: that we need to think about the risks of false positives, of the interventions themselves but also the way that interventions might change other decisions and experiences for the worse...

 

my midwives loaned me a book that is not in print in the US as far as I can tell- called "Sit up and take notice" about optimal birth positioning and what happens as the baby is entering the pelvis, etc (its neat- baby has to tuck its chin, etc, baby is more active in the process than they generally make it out to be). It was pretty interesting!

 


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#12 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought Pregnant in America was good. It finally pushed us into the homebirth I really wanted.


To us, it just felt really unprofessional, and the definitions he kept putting up were really annoying and distracting.

DH is STILL a wreck though because of the outcome of their home birth. When the transfer happened, he flipped. I think he had been so comforted by the statistics from midwife attended births that he hadn't considered that something could be wrong with the baby. He now is super freaked out about the factors in childbirth that are completely out of our control (cord wrapped, low APGAR, etc) and the protector in him is coming out big time.

The Business of Being Born sold us both on birthing out of the hospital, Parenting in America just made me glad I picked a birth center CLOSE to the hospital.

Alaskan Wife and Mama to my special little guy ribbluyel.gif (9/13/11) and expecting #2 (2/21/13)!

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#13 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I actually read Girlfriend's Guide when pregnant with DS and laughed; it didn't really make me mad, because I knew it wasn't from my philosophy, but I think that it is intended to take some of the moral weight that more natural approaches can put on with a heavy hand, rightfully or not. I completely disregarded her  "advice" and just enjoyed the humor. I wouldn't recommend it or anything, but just sayin'. 

I like all the Sears books. They are definitely my speed. I thought Ina May was groovy, but it's not my experience at all!

I really don't care for Dr. Bradley's books. I took the Bradley method, and it didn't work well for me at all in reality. I wouldn't say they were bad, but I have a lot of opinions about them. I have mixed feelings. Yes, relaxation is important. Husbands aren't necessarily the best coaches though. And also, blowing my nose and wearing underwear during pregnancy are non-negotiable :)

 

 

 


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#14 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post

A book I absolutely LOVE that is not a parenting or pregnancy birth really, but a cultural and biological history of childrearing and mother-child relations in the human species is called "Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species". So okay, I am a PhD student in the social sciences, so maybe I am the target audience for this book. But I thought it was FASCINATING, and it really informed my sense of myself as a mother. I recommend it to everyone but haven't had many takers :)

 


Ha! I love Sarah Hrdy, too. But I am also more or less in the target audience. I read a couple of her books while pregnant in grad school, after having them recommended by another mama phd. I think Hrdy's stuff must be some sort of rite of passage for pregnant phd students. lol.gif

 

Sue, I'm glad Spiritual Midwifery worked for you, even in the hospital. It did not at all for me, but to each her own. smile.gif My issue was mainly that there was so incredibly little I could do about my birthing environment -- I had already pushed everyone to the brink with my crazy hippie ways in the face of a "high-risk" birth -- so reading so much about how environment was important just depressed and frustrated me. I was so angry and sad that I didn't have the option of a lot of things that I suspect could have helped me feel way more comfortable and less threatened.

 


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#15 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryS-F View PostAnd also, blowing my nose and wearing underwear during pregnancy are non-negotiable :)

 

 

 


ROTFLMAO.gif

and using soap in the shower...for me, also not negotiable.

I am also partial to underwear. And not eating liver.

My husband turned out to be the best coach ever, and we did Bradley...but our teacher has since abandoned Bradley for a more, um...modern method. Dr. Bradley does kind of need a filter sometimes - he can get so preachy. But that chart in the middle of the Bradley workbook, the one that talks about the different stages of labor and how to recognize them? Totally spot on for me. I remember thinking in class, "there is no WAY I will say/do that."  And then, in the moment? I said and did almost exactly that.

 

It kind of makes me hate Dr. Bradley, actually, in hindsight.

 

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#16 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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A lot of the good ones are already on here...I agree with Happiest Baby on the Block! Amazing. I had been teaching classes on it for months before my son was born, and I was so grateful for that information.

 

I really wanted to like Birthing from Within, but I didn't. The art thing freaked me out, and I never got much past there. I think I was looking for more information and fewer prompts about my inner feelings and fears.

 

I'd add The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to the Good/Helpful list (and would definitely read some of it before the baby comes), even though the title still makes me giggle a little.

 

This time, the best book for me is When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke. I can't believe how hard it is to find information specific to a multiples pregnancy, given how common they seem to be now. Most of the books I had before barely give it a mention, and it seems so different to me this time with two babies in there.

 

This is a great thread- thanks, Karli!

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#17 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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My absolute favorite books for being a new mama are: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers and Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent and I recommend them to everyone!!!!  I have also gone back to them time and time again for my own reference!  (My biggest fear with my first was not about labor & birth, but of having problems with nursing and attachment.  These books calmed all those fears and assured me that all I had to do was be confident in my instincts and beliefs and learn as I went.) 

 

I didn't like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding from La Leche League at all... it was clunky and focused on the whole history of La Leche League.  I found it not up-to-date or helpful like the Breastfeeding Made Simple book.

 
For pregnancy and childbirth I found Ina May's Guide to Childbirth to be pretty up-to-date (and I recommend it to everyone!) but see that it was last updated in 2001, Spiritual Midwifery was last updated in 2002... (haven't read it) but from all reports it's more groovy and less laying out the facts.  I'd love to read her new book Birth Matters ... published just last month!!!  Has anyone read it yet?! 
 
Of course as a doula I think the world of Penny Simpkin's The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions  It's an amazing, wonderful resource!  Everyone and their birth partner need to read it before birth!
 
The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy , The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices and The Complete Organic Pregnancy were helpful with my first pregnancy but I haven't cracked them open more than once each for this one.
 
For DVDs I love the Birth Into Being (Russian Waterbirth) one, Orgasmic Birth, and The Business of Being Born.  I don't do imagery very well, but have to say that I had images from both the Russian waterbirth and Orgasmic Birth help me through and have a beautiful labor with my first. 
 
Harvey Karp's The Happiest Baby on the Block - The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer (DVD) is a godsend.  It's what, 45 minutes? (plus more for the Q&A) that any partner or grandparent can be made to sit down and watch and gain crucial tips from!  I will venture to say that it was the best single parenting tool outside our own instincts!!!
 
Oh, and bad... I'm with one of the first responding posters... if it wasn't good I have purged it.  smile.gif

Mama to Gabriel (1-10-2009) and newborn Helena (10-9-2011) h20homebirth.gif with DP Julio.  ...cloth diapering, attachment parenting, infant EC-ing, etc.

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#18 of 24 Old 04-12-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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This one is on my nightside table & I read each day in the evening. It has AMAZING pictures.

 

The other one I am loving right now is about having a natural birth in a hospital setting. It goes through a really neat process for writing a birth plan & how to work within the limitations of the hospital rules & protocols. I'll look up the name next time I'm upstairs - I can't find it online right now.

 

What a great list of books - SOOOO many good ones already listed.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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Originally Posted by saritajoy View Post

My absolute favorite books for being a new mama are: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers and Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent and I recommend them to everyone!!!! 

 

I love Our Babies, Ourselves!

 


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#20 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 06:27 AM
 
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I know, right? With all the extra (TMI) "liquids" especially.

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Originally Posted by dear abbey View Post




ROTFLMAO.gif

and using soap in the shower...for me, also not negotiable.

I am also partial to underwear. And not eating liver.

My husband turned out to be the best coach ever, and we did Bradley...but our teacher has since abandoned Bradley for a more, um...modern method. Dr. Bradley does kind of need a filter sometimes - he can get so preachy. But that chart in the middle of the Bradley workbook, the one that talks about the different stages of labor and how to recognize them? Totally spot on for me. I remember thinking in class, "there is no WAY I will say/do that."  And then, in the moment? I said and did almost exactly that.

 

It kind of makes me hate Dr. Bradley, actually, in hindsight.

 



 


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#21 of 24 Old 04-13-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosemaryS-F View Post
Yes, relaxation is important. Husbands aren't necessarily the best coaches though. And also, blowing my nose and wearing underwear during pregnancy are non-negotiable :)


What? Someone advises against blowing your nose and wearing underwear? ummmmmmm

 

As for husbands as "coaches"... I think it was in birthing from within where they kind of make fun of the husband/coach idea... like you are in a marathon or a soccer game or something and you need someone urging you on from the sidelines... NOT. That is one of the things I ended up liking about that book- it suggested that the role of birth partner is to protect the laboring mom so that she can do her work. That felt much more relevant to my experience- I mostly needed to be left alone to do my thing (both births so far were fast and v intense, with big babies- 8lb6 active labor about 6 hours, and then my 9lb-er in under 3 hrs. In another situation I might have needed more, but in those births, I pretty much had to just go for the ride). I would go nuts being "coached"!


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#22 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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Hi Ladies-

 

Man, I must be a birth-junkie because I have read nearly everything people have posted!

 

For Videos, I love: Birth As We Know It. There were some parts that were a little too "out there" for my cultural starting point, but LOVED the movie as a whole.

 

For Books...Gee, I really do actually like the book I wrote-maybe you guys would too? Here's my website link and there's a sample page there I believe: http://shebirths.com/inframe-shebirthsbook.html and on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/She-Births-Guidebook-Ancient-Passage/dp/0741433907/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302879650&sr=8-1

 

Hope that's not too self-promotional. I genuinely think it's a good addition to the books that teach the physical aspects of childbirth.

 

BTW: Anyone know where I can get a copy of "Emergency Childbirth"? I think it's by Gregory White...I appears to be out of print.:(

 

:)


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#23 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 09:35 AM
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For Books...Gee, I really do actually like the book I wrote-maybe you guys would too? Here's my website link and there's a sample page there I believe: http://shebirths.com/inframe-shebirthsbook.html and on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/She-Births-Guidebook-Ancient-Passage/dp/0741433907/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302879650&sr=8-1

 

Hope that's not too self-promotional. I genuinely think it's a good addition to the books that teach the physical aspects of childbirth.

 

BTW: Anyone know where I can get a copy of "Emergency Childbirth"? I think it's by Gregory White...I appears to be out of print.:(

 

:)


Your book looks great!!

 

I believe Emergency Childbirth is available as a pdf online. You have to hunt for it, though. I didn't keep the link, as I would not personally consider a UC (though I think it's a valid choice for others), but I followed a link a few years ago for academic reasons and it did provide a medium-quality scan of one of the versions.

 


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#24 of 24 Old 04-15-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Yes!

In my case, my husband wasn't a "coach" type at all (something I really like about him!) He's just not comfortable taking any kind of a role like that, especially in a circumstance such as first-time childbirth. I could have used someone like a doula, but poor DH is not really cut out for this.

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Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post





What? Someone advises against blowing your nose and wearing underwear? ummmmmmm

 

As for husbands as "coaches"... I think it was in birthing from within where they kind of make fun of the husband/coach idea... like you are in a marathon or a soccer game or something and you need someone urging you on from the sidelines... NOT. That is one of the things I ended up liking about that book- it suggested that the role of birth partner is to protect the laboring mom so that she can do her work. That felt much more relevant to my experience- I mostly needed to be left alone to do my thing (both births so far were fast and v intense, with big babies- 8lb6 active labor about 6 hours, and then my 9lb-er in under 3 hrs. In another situation I might have needed more, but in those births, I pretty much had to just go for the ride). I would go nuts being "coached"!



 


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