For my first book of 2011, I decided to just finish the book I had been reading since sometime this autumn—Pushed:The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. Block, a journalist by trade, takes an in-depth look at the state of maternity care in the United States and the factors precipitating the mess that she found it in.
As a big proponent of natural [read: physiological] childbirth, I was not at all surprised by Block’s findings—childbirth in America is unnecessarily over-medicalized [in high contrast to the rest of the developed world]. Regardless of my previous acquaintance with the subject, I found that the book greatly augmented my knowledge. This does not, however, mean that the book was a dry presentation of scientific research. The author seamlessly integrates the results of medical studies with both historical facts and personal interviews.
One of the best parts of this book is that it does not require the reader to be a scientist. Block makes sense of the medical terminology and research in such a way that I never found myself struggling to understand what she was writing about—a characteristic that receives major points from this B.A. in English! I do believe my basic knowledge of physiological childbirth also contributed to my ease in understanding.
I do have one major beef with this book. For the majority of her book Block does a fantastic job in making maternity care choices a woman’s issue with out trying to limit it to a specific political view. In the last chapter, Block rips back the curtain to reveal her own incredibly pro-abortion agenda. She actually argues that the only way a woman can demand less medicalized maternity care is to also demand abortion rights. This proposal is not only logically unsound, but it could also be detrimental to the birthing choice movement. Being vehemently pro-life myself, I know that is very possible to support birthing choice and unborn children. Sorry, Ms. Block, but you missed the boat with your last chapter.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, even with the faulty logic at the end of it. The subject of birth choice is important and Pushed contains a wealth of invaluable information. If you are pregnant (or TTC), I would put this book on the must-read list.
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