Our Bodies Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth

By Christine Cupaiuolo — February 26, 2008

hi-res cover of OBOS: Pregnancy and BirthAnnouncing “It’s a BOOK!” doesn’t have the same ring as “It’s a girl!” or “It’s a boy!”

But we here at Our Bodies Ourselves are bursting with the pride of new parents. After a two-year gestation involving the work of many doctors, doulas, midwives, birth activists, nurses, educators and, of course, mothers, “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth” has arrived.

The new book addresses the questions and needs of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the “fourth trimester” — early motherhood. Topics include: choosing a provider and birth setting; making decisions about prenatal testing; arranging for continuous labor support; exploring options for pain relief; recovering from birth; and adjusting to life as a new mother.

“Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth” also provides an overview of U.S. maternity care practices and examines why some aspects of the care most women receive are not based on the most reliable research on what is safe and effective.

Check out the hot advance praise from other authors and educators. The first review, from Library Journal Reviews, calls it “a superlative guide” and says, “The information goes beyond the usual pregnancy self-help material by placing childbearing and parenting within a psychosocial and political context …”

In a Q&A, OBOS Executive Director Judy Norsigian answers questions about the state of pregnancy and childbirth today and explains why this book is needed:

This book challenges the status quo of maternity care when it is not serving the best interests of women, babies, and families. We present the best available evidence about the advantages and disadvantages of a range of practices, from epidurals to episiotomies. And we include the important warning that some common procedures are not consistently helpful to women in good health and might be better avoided in some cases, while other practices that have been shown to improve birth outcomes are not offered widely.

Over the next few months, Judy and other book contributors will attend book readings, signings, discussions and other events. The OBOS calendar lists the many cities on the book tour so far. Yours truly will join Judy in April at Women & Children First in Chicago.

Those of you in the Boston area can celebrate with OBOS this week:

Wednesday, Feb. 27: OBOS Executive Director Judy Norsigian will host “Being Born in Massachusetts: Pushing for More Midwives,” a panel discussion on maternity care discussion policies at Suffolk University. Film clips from classic and recent films will be shown before the discussion.

Thursday, Feb. 28: Join the book’s editors and contributors, and the OBOS board of directors and staff for a book release party at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates at Kenmore Square.

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