The 3rd edition of Lamaze International's "Giving Birth with Confidence" book for expecting parents was just released. Authors Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries have made a thorough and refreshing update and should be very proud of this concise and useful pregnancy and childbirth education tool. I am convinced that this new edition (available in both paperback and Kindle versions) will soon become the "go to" book for families preparing to welcome a new baby. Just like the evidence-based information that makes up the foundation of Lamaze International's Six Healthy Birth Practices, this book is jam-packed with common sense information backed up by the most current research. Giving Birth with Confidence helps families to understand the process of pregnancy, birth and the first days and weeks of caring for a newborn. It encourages pregnant people to recognize that their bodies are designed to grow, birth and feed a baby.
Insightful birth stories
The entire book is peppered with personal stories and experiences of the authors along with those of other families. Readers are offered an opportunity to learn about people who have gone through a variety of experiences in the childbearing year. It is helpful and comforting to read about how others made decisions and choices and get some personal insight into their experiences.
Selecting a health care provider and birth location
Research has been clear that the most important influence on the outcome of a birth is a person's choice of health care provider and place of birth. Giving Birth with Confidence does an excellent job in outlining all the choices and helping families to understand the commonalities and differences so families can understand the types of providers (Obstetrician, Family Practice or Midwife) along with hospitals, birth centers, and home birth options. Many people go where they have always gone for GYN care and Lothian and DeVries discuss how that may not make sense for pregnancy support.
Myths versus facts about pregnancy and birth
While I really appreciated the section on choosing a provider and birth location that directly addressed many myths about pregnancy and birth safety, I found the entire book to succinctly identify and call out misconceptions about common or popular procedures, tests, and practices that pregnant people will face. Reinforced by the latest research and excellent resources - Lothian and DeVries calmly and confidently share what is known about the safety of the typical protocols offered and suggested to expecting people. Having this information will help families to start conversations with their providers about best practice.
Finding comfort during labor
There is an extensive chapter on how to handle the pain and discomfort of labor. Families are offered many descriptive suggestions on things they can do to reduce their pain level and handle their labor contractions. Partners and support people can familiarize themselves with many activities that can be used to help the laboring person. The authors often made a connection about how people handle pain in other parts of their lives and suggesting similar techniques that people may already be familiar with to help reduce the pain of labor. Knowing that I already have skills that can be applied to childbirth is very reassuring.
Birth plans and baby plans - understanding common interventions
Like many other childbirth preparation books, Giving Birth with Confidence has a section on creating a birth plan. What I loved about this section of the book is that the authors clearly outlined all the choices For example - the choice of continuous electronic fetal monitoring; when it may be needed, how to avoid the unnecessary use of CEFM, and how to keep labor as safe as possible utilizing CEFM. Very clear and very easy to understand for families reading the book as a tool to for birth planning. Common interventions are thoroughly covered with well-explained alternatives for each.
References, recommended resources and further information on pregnancy, birth and early parenting
Every statement on current protocols and best practice is footnoted and references up-to-date research. The appendices are thorough and packed with additional website and reading recommendations for families who want to take a deeper dive or seek out information on a particular topic. These recommendations are all resources that many birth professionals and childbirth educators are already familiar with.
Giving Birth with Confidence builds confidence!
This book really does help families to move through pregnancy, birth and early parenting/newborn caring with confidence. In addition to providing up to date, accurate information about best practice, there are lots of tips and takeaways that support safe and healthy birth. Giving Birth with Confidence puts the parents in the driver's seat and encourages families to ask questions and be an active participant in their care. Families can feel confident in making decisions about prenatal tests, treatments, medications and procedures and asking for care that respects their wishes and values. That is always my goal in teaching childbirth classes and this book falls right in line with that learning objective.
Win your own copy of Giving Birth with Confidence
If you would like to win your own copy of this book, please give a suggestion on how you can or will use this book in your classroom, what teaching activities you might include this book in and how you incorporate Giving Birth with Confidence into your childbirth classes. Your suggestions and teaching tips will be compiled in a future post, and you could be one of the winners randomly selected to receive your own copy. This link will take you to the entry form to submit your idea.