Friday, February 13, 2015

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide - Penny Simkin

While I was expecting my little MM, I read Penny Simkin's Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide.  It was by far my favorite pregnancy book.   I bought it at first in Nook format, but quickly decided I wanted the paper version.  The diagrams and charts didn't show up well in digital format.  

This book is a great overview of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn - just as you would expect from the title.   This book begins with information on interviewing doctors, evaluating hospitals, and choosing a doula.   I printed many of the handouts on  to help me with this process. 

The sections on pregnancy and fetal development were not as detailed as other books.  I supplemented with reading from other books and pregnancy aps on my iphone.  This book doesn't have a weekly summary of fetal changes, but instead features a more of an overview of developments each trimester.  I found the exercises and stretches useful.

The real value of this book lies in the labor and delivery section.   Admittedly, it is a little biased toward natural delivery, but does include information on interventions.   I was considering a natural birth when reading this book, but I was also open to intervention if I got in over my head.  I printed the chart of coping techniques featured in this book, studied them, and included them in the documents I brought to the hospital.  This book was also very helpful in writing my birth plan and featured a few examples of plans (from mothers with different goals).   I used many of the strategies in this book to have the natural, in-hospital birth I wanted.   Luckily for me, I had a normal, uncomplicated labor.  Even if it had gone differently, this book gave an overview of interventions: why they might be recommended, what happens, and potential side effects.  

Overall, I highly recommend this book especially if you are considering a natural birth or if you want a different view than the typical hospital birthing class.  I just passed mine off to an expectant friend, and I hope she finds it as helpful as I did.