The Big Book of Birth (Plume/Penguin, 2007) is a comprehensive coping manual for labor. It details preparation for, and the signs and stages of labor in an easy and readable format that benefits both the laboring woman and her partner. It is thorough and comprehensive in its coping strategies covering everything from massage to medications. Erica wrote The Big Book of Birth specifically to instill confidence and create a judgment-free arena for women and all parents to have their own best experience. You can buy The Big Book of Birth here.
In addition to her book and website writing for birth360, she is a periodic contributor to New York Family Magazine.
REVIEWS FOR THE BIG BOOK OF BIRTH
The Library Journal
There are a plethora of books available on the topics of pregnancy and childbirth; however, few are devoted entirely to the stages of delivery from the end of the third trimester through postpartum. Here, Lyon (childbirth educator; founder & director, Realbirth Ctr., New York) addresses this critical time. She states in the first chapter, “This book will help you to understand how to trust your body, protect your baby, and navigate your journey to motherhood.” Her book is not only thorough but written in a warm, coaching style, which makes for easy reading. She takes women through the stages of labor, providing information on everything from pain medications to relaxation techniques to choosing your midwife or doctor. Line drawings and clear illustrations augment the text; personal anecdotes are well used throughout. Lyon’s straightforward style makes this book a welcome addition to consumer health collections; highly recommended for public libraries. -Mary Grace Flaherty, Sidney Memorial P.L., NY
The New York Post
EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about birth, but were afraid to ask – plus a few things you never wanted to know – are explained with wit and experience in the useful and entertaining “The Big Book of Birth” by Erica Lyon (Plume, $15). Lyon is the local hero who founded the Realbirth center on West 22nd Street, and in this title she offers more than a decade of experience preparing parents-to-be, including proven techniques to speed up delivery and many options for managing pain. I only wish this reassuring, humane and endlessly useful handbook had been in print when my daughter was born.
Review of The Big Book of Birth
Full disclosure: I know Erica Lyon, author of The Big Book of Birth, personally. She taught the newborn care class I took before the birth of my older son, and the sibling preparation class we took before the birth of my younger son. I know her to be a funny, sympathetic, and super-knowledgable woman.
Which is why it’s no surprise to me that The Big Book of Birth is such a stellar book. Seriously, this is the book I’ve been wishing for years had been written about birth. I wish I’d been able to read it before I had my first, and you can bet that this is the book I’ll be recommending here on Ask Moxie and giving to all my pregnant friends as a shower gift.
Here’s what I love about it:
It’s unbiased. Erica covers all the current options for birth–location, pain management, interventions. She gives positives and negatives of each option (including some stuff I’d never heard of) and includes stories from women who experienced the things she discusses.
It’s practical. She acknowledges that birth doesn’t go the way we plan, so we need to be informed so we can make the best decisions possible within the available options. And no judgments about what options you choose. It’s inclusive. This is the only book about birth that I’ve seen that gives both practical and emotional tips for both the mother and the partner.
The sections on counterpressure/massage during labor alone are worth the price of the book. And it’s all written in an accessible (but not patronizing) way.
It’s smart. I haven’t read any other analysis of the increase in the number of c-sections performed in the US that looks at so many different factors and–surprise!–doesn’t lay it all at the feet of ignorant women or money-grubbing doctors. She’s really looked at the total landscape of health care, the birth industry, societal attitudes, and women’s choices and illusions of choice to do an analysis that ultimately helps the reader prioritize a number of different factors.
It’s encouraging. Rather than scaring you about how dangerous birth is or patronizing you about how easy it is, Erica emphasizes that it’s hard and long and can be scary, but you can do it and the baby will come out one way or another. I mean, you know it, but reading it throughout the book really helps it sink in that this is a job you can and will do.
Of all these positives of the book, the one I think is most important is the lack of bias. Anyone who’s read two books from the pregnancy/birth/parenting section knows that everyone’s pushing an agenda. It would be silly to say that Erica has no agenda–she does. It’s just that her agenda is to make sure every woman is as well-informed as possible to make the choices that are right for her and her baby (and partner, if any) within her own circumstances. And that’s an agenda I wish more birth professionals would embrace.
If you haven’t had your baby yet, I highly recommend buying this book. And I found it interesting even after having given birth to two babies.