Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I just finished Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Author Tina Cassidy takes the balanced approach of a journalist--a rare thing in the highly-charged world of birthing--to describe the cultural history of how we bring babies into this world. She offers some terrifying, eye-opening anecdotes about birth practices in the 1800 and early-to-mid 1900's, an era when science and medicine in general was making great strides. It was a time when birth moved from bedside to hospitals, but modesty and misinformation among the male doctors (midwives were going out of fashion) led to some truly barbaric practices.

It's refreshing to read something that shows us how far we've come--but reminds us that the birthing trends of the present are likely to seem outmoded and quaint by the time our daughters get pregnant. And most of all, I was impressed that this book doesn't seem driven by an agenda. So much of the pregnancy and birth literature out there is driven by a particular camp--be it the home-birthers, epidural-lovers or C-section-By-Choicers.