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The Business of Baby

Business of Baby

NEW on shelves this week!

The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line by Jennifer Margulis

3 of 5 stars

An investigative journalist’s approach to exploring the monetary motivations behind how American obstetricians and pediatrics practice medicine.

Are the high maternal and infant death rates in America really isolated events, or are they mounting evidence that something in our country is going terribly wrong?

Prenatal care. Ultrasounds. Childbirth. C-sections. Circumcision. Formula. Diapers. Vaccines. Well-Baby care.

Each of these issues can be controversial, and each can translate into many dollar signs for those that practice and produce the things that American babies ‘need.’  Each of these issues could (and have been) covered in depth by other researchers, but this one stands out in that it focuses on the correlations between our hospitals and doctors’ decisions and what’s going into their pockets.

I appreciated the depth of research that went into this book, and although I don’t necessarily agree with all of the author’s conclusions, I do appreciate the way that the book encourages parents to make informed decisions.

In reading this book, I found that I am personally not a big fan of the investigative journalistic style of reporting.  I don’t care what the experts are wearing or what tea they’re sipping or whether the author caught up with them while they were on their daily jog; I really don’t.  I’m much more concerned with their credentials, the research they’ve done, and how they came to their conclusions.  A lot of the stories portrayed a worst-case scenario incidence that I worry might just promote fear and distrust, rather than a need to research all the options.

Overall: This mouthful of a title delivers a slew of information about how the almighty dollar influences the decisions doctors make about your baby.

My Recommended Reading for New Moms:
The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity CareThe Thinking Woman's Guide ... Birth Matters:  A Midwife's Manifesta So That's What They're For!... The Vaccine Book: Making th... Baby-led Weaning: Helping Y...

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The Business of Baby

Business of Baby

The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line by Jennifer Margulis

Publication: April 2, 2013

An investigative journalist’s approach to exploring the monetary motivations behind how American obstetricians and pediatrics practice medicine.

Full review to be posted in April.

Overall: This mouthful of a title delivers a slew of information about how the almighty dollar influences the decisions doctors make about your baby.

My Recommended Reading for New Moms:
The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity CareThe Thinking Woman's Guide ... Birth Matters:  A Midwife's Manifesta So That's What They're For!... The Vaccine Book: Making th... Baby-led Weaning: Helping Y...

The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing at Home

The Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering BirthingThe Essential Homebirth Guide: For Families Planning or Considering Birthing by Jane E. Drichta

Publication date: February 12, 2013

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, you’re interested in having a home birth. Now what?

This easy-to-read book of homebirth FAQs endeavors to “open your range of experience and exposure, so that when you make decisions regarding where and how to birth, you will be making truly informed ones.” Though the target audience is obviously women who have at least some intention of birthing at home, its scope is wide enough to be a good resource for any pregnant mother, covering a range of topics from common pregnancy concerns to the pros and cons of having a home birth after c-section (HBAC).

My children were both born at home, and I would have LOVED to have a resource like this when working through the planning stages of my home birth. Though most of the book is organized in a question-answer format, it’s generously sprinkled with real women’s stories of their pregnancies and births, which serve as encouragement and inspiration to the reader. It is written in readable language and de-mystifies a lot of the birth jargon a new mom might run into.

I loved the inclusion of Bruce Schneier’s five paradigms of risk perception, as well as the BRAINS decision-making acronym — both great tools for weighing out the pros and cons of many pregnancy and birth-related decisions. I also appreciated the inclusion of “The Big Ten” — ten common issues which women often have questions about relating to their pregnancy and birth, including Rh factor, group B strep, and gestational diabetes. The issues in this section are dealt with in a way that presents the facts, and doesn’t try to either scare the reader, nor downplay her concerns. These are important issues that any pregnant woman should be informed about, regardless of where she will be birthing. The appendices also included valuable information, such as a checklist of questions to ask during a midwife interview (something I could have used while pregnant with my first!) and further reading for the homebirth family. The photos included in this book were tasteful and modest, giving no one any reason to squirm while reading it, but picturing birth as a beautiful, joyful experience.

Some generalizations or assumptions were made that may not be necessarily true in all situations and may give the reader a false idea. For instance, in describing the “ring of fire,” which — according to the authors “only lasts through the next contraction, when the head is fully out.” Maybe I had big-headed kids, but in my experience, it was definitely more than just one contraction’s worth of pain! Also, having used the Hypnobabies home study program myself, I was surprised at the suggestion that it should be paired with other childbirth education classes — something that the program explicitly discouraged by the program, because of the negative, fear-invoking terminology that is often used in childbirth classes.

Some of the narrator’s language was rather informal, a times even a bit tongue-in-cheek, which is some readers may appreciate, but others may find to distract or detract from the well-researched and professional content.

Overall, I’m very grateful that this book is being published, and thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. I will definitely be passing on information about this book to others interested in homebirthing, as it is one of the best homebirth-specific guides I’ve seen on the market, and a valuable resource.

View all my reviews

Life Before Birth

I’ll admit, I’ve had a hard time processing this book, and though I plan on passing it on to others I know interested in birth and prenatal science, I can’t say I got a whole lot out of it personally.

The language is very clinical, and yet at the same time, I think the author over-explained concepts which someone reading a book like this would already be familiar with. For instance, anyone who has done any reading on how pregnancy and birth conditions effect a child will likely have read many articles and studies on Oxytocin, yet the author spends a whole chapter on this as if this is “new” information. There were other parts of the book as well, where I felt like the author was talking about very simple concepts in as complicated language as he could, or saying the same thing in different ways. There were times that because of this redundancy, I found myself wondering if my bookmark had been misplaced; I was SURE I had read the same thing before.

I also wasn’t expecting this book to include so much information about psychotherapy. I am not a therapist of any type, so although I enjoy learning about pregnancy and birth and how it effects one’s life, the sections on how to handle these issues therapeutically didn’t interest me at all.

Overall, this is a much more professional book than I expected; it’s obviously not intended for the lay person wanting an “interesting read,” but could definitely be useful for therapists, doctors/midwives, and other professionals.

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