Birthing Your Baby: The Second Stage
by Nadine Pilley Edwards and Beverley Lawrence Beech

Birthing Your Baby: The Second Stage

[2001, U.K.: AIMS Publication, 96 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 64, Winter 2002, © 2002, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Jill Cohen.]

This booklet is designed for those interested in learning more about the second stage of labor. The authors examine two different approaches: physiological and actively managed second stage. Both the benefits and disadvantages of encouraging women to find their own way of birthing, compared with directing their behaviors and actions, are discussed. The information presented is collected from many sources, giving the booklet the benefit of multiple perspectives. Although the focus of the book is the second stage, Beech and Pilley Edwards refer to the whole birth process, because of the concept that birthing women do not see birthing in stages. This allows pregnant and birthing women as well as all practitioners working with birth to use the book.

The medicalization of birth is discussed from a historical perspective. The authors bring to light how active management of labor has had possible adverse effects; they also discuss available care alternatives.

Finally, a broad look at the way birth plans and labor companions may help the birthing woman is offered, revealing many practices that are helpful in creating a positive birthing experience. There is an extensive "further reading" list, plus additional informational sites to stimulate the reader to explore even more about the second stage of labor. References are also included. This is a great booklet with easy reading, good research and skilled debate on the subject.

Reviewer Jill Cohen is Associate Editor at Midwifery Today magazine and the editor of The Birthkit.

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