Truthiness Day 17: Book Learning

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

Before I read The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, I had no idea why in the world anyone would ever want to have a home birth. I only slightly understood the natural birth movement.  I was interested in the idea of avoiding an epidural for two simple reasons – the first being that there was no way in hell I was going to sit still while someone stuck a needle in my spine, and the second reason was that at least half of the time, my body just doesn’t react to medications as it should.  I suspected that I would go through the trouble of getting an epidural only to wind up with the wrong part of my body numb (this happened to a friend of mine…).

Still, I wasn’t sure what the deal was with avoiding an episiotomy or giving my baby Vitamin K orally rather than by needle.  The book provides a ton of research laid out in a way that you can understand.  It lets you know what the risks are so that you can decide if the risks outweigh the benefits of a given procedure.  This was important because NOT ONCE did any of my medical providers offer me the risk information unless I asked for it.  Often I would ask, listen to the explanation, and then go home and do research to determine whether I was given the full scope (not surprisingly, a lot was left out).  Interestingly enough, that was at a hippie dippy birthing practice with midwives and homeopathic remedies and such.  I don’t think the providers were necessarily trying to keep information from me; I think the reason for withholding information had more to do with trying to keep me relaxed.  Still, I am not the type of person to blindly put my trust in anyone, even someone with a medical degree.  No matter what they know about the birthing process, they don’t know my body like I do.  I think it’s important for providers to work together with their patients for just that reason.

If you are pregnant and haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.  You don’t have to read it from start to finish (I surely didn’t) – instead pick the chapters that are pertinent to you.  I turned the book often when writing my birth plan, for instance, because that was when many of my questions came up.

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