Book Review: Active Birth
Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally was written in a time when Western obstetrics were all about medication, cold white-washed delivery rooms, and bottles full of sugar water for the newborn nursery. Things are turning around this day in age, and women have much more freedom in their birth process, while doctors are taking more and more natural approaches to delivery.
Having an active birth isn't as strange today as it was 20 years ago, but still few women know it is an option.
"What? I don't have to lay down or be in a semi-sitting position to push out my baby?"
"I can do that standing up?!"
"I can bend in ways I had never thought possible!"
All of these I have either heard someone say, or said myself.
While many women want to be an active participant in their baby's birth, not too many want to actually be active during their baby's birth. These approaches are two different things, and either one is just fine. It really comes down to your personal preference. (There have been cases in which the active mother dilates and gives birth quicker than the still positioned mother, but this isn't always true.) If you lean more towards the latter, and desire being "up and at 'em" and full of activity during your baby's birth, then this book may be for you.
Active Birth teaches that it is best to be up and active, walking around, and even standing or squatting for the baby's delivery. It puts a lot of emphasis on mentally and physically preparing yourself for labor and birth, and it seems to believe that prenatal yoga is the perfect way in which to prepare. There are two whole chapters devoted to many different yoga exercises, as well as instructions on how to do each one.
Of course, your labor and birth are discussed throughout the book, as well as what you may be feeling, different positions to try, and a bit on how your partner may be able to help you cope. Laboring in different positions are the emphasis of this book. The author's main theme is moving around and changing positions. So, by naming the book Active Birth, she really means, Active Birth. Giving birth actively.
This book is full of photographs, most of which are pretty explicit. I am not bothered at all by these, I actually find them to be really neat. But as I was reading the book, and even now when I find myself flipping through its pages, I take a glance around me to see who may be looking over my shoulder. (I mean, I generally wouldn't want to cause unnecessary trauma to anyone, or let someone believe that I am a complete pervert.)
I recommend this book to anyone who really wishes to be physically active during their birthing time.
I recommend this book to birth doulas. It is a good resource to be familiar with, and it may help us to understand a bit more on not only being an active participant in the birth, but and "active birth-giver" as well.
"To turn the process of bringing new life into the world into one in which a woman becomes simply the body on the delivery table rather than the active birth-giver is a degradation of the mother's role in childbirth...The way we give birth is important to all of us because it has a great deal to do with the kind of society we want to live in, the significance of the coming to birth of a new person and a new family."--p.x
Happy Reading :)