Media Reviews – Issue 134

Midwifery Today, Issue 134, Summer 2020.
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Birthing Your Baby: the second stage of labor, 3rd ed, by Nadine Pilley Edwards. 2019. (UK: Birth Practice and Politics Forum, 160 p., £10, paperback.)

This well-referenced third edition of Edwards’ book on second stage covers that aspect of birth (although the author acknowledges that the division of birth into stages is an artifact of obstetrics and its need to categorize). She first discusses what occurs physiologically and then goes on to cover current management practices as regards timing, pushing, protecting the perineum, and more—including what the medical evidence has to say about these practices. She then offers a variety of suggestions to help us get to a place where undisturbed birthing is the norm. Much of the last part of the book is dedicated to references, which makes it a good starting point for those who are interested in researching further.

The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond, by Marie Louise. 2019. (London Vermilion, 358 p., $14.82/£14.99, paperback.)

Those who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant will find this a superior alternative to the much-hyped and misleading What to Expect When You Are Expecting. Fun to read and written in a very accessible style, it takes us from pre-pregnancy through the postpartum period. Although its title gears it toward midwives, I think it is great for moms and moms-to-be. Keep in mind that it was written for a UK audience.

One thing that grated on me was that despite Louise’s use of proper terminology in every other aspect, she chose to use the term “boobs” for breasts throughout the book. Another thing that took me aback was the part about needing to learn to pump milk if you are going to breastfeed—but that might just be my age. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend this book, which is packed with useful information and has great suggestions on everything from diet (with recipes), exercise, connecting with your baby before birth, and the changes that come with being a mother.

Labor & Delivery Training for Low Resource and Emergency Situations, by Charlene Campbell and Valerie Hall. 2019. (Independently published, 73 p., $150, paperback.) 

Adapted from the book Errand of Angels: Responding to Unexpected Childbirth, by Charlene Campbell, this book and video are used for training students who will assist with birth. Using demonstrations, photos, and step-by-step instructions, these two midwives take us through the stages of birth and post-delivery. Normal delivery is covered, as well as variations on normal, including long labor, breech position, shoulder dystocia, and cord around the neck. Also addressed are postpartum hemorrhage and baby not breathing. With a section on role-playing for various scenarios, this book and DVD would make a great addition to training materials and libraries of all fire departments and EMT services. It even includes cards that can be cut out and included in a birth kit, and birth certificates.

About Author: Cheryl K. Smith

Cheryl K. Smith has been managing editor for Midwifery Today since 2017 and from 2005–2009. She edited several books published by Motherbaby Press, including Placenta: The Gift of Life (2007), Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse (2008), and The Power of Women (2009). She has raised miniature dairy goats since 1998 and is the author of Goat Health Care (karmadillo Press, 2009 and 2019), Raising Goats for Dummies (Wiley, 2010 and 2021), and Goat Midwifery (karmadillo Press, 2020), as well as many articles in various magazines.

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