Book Review: Your Best Birth: Know All your Options, Discover the Natural Options, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lane and Abby Epstein

The subtitle of this book says it all. The producers of the thought-provoking film, The Business of Being Born, do an excellent job of presenting a well-researched, warm, confidence-building, and sometimes funny perspective on the benefits of natural childbirth and on women’s innate strength and ability to give birth. The authors experienced three very different births: a typical high-tech hospital birth, a water birth at home, and an emergency cesarean surgery. In all three cases, beautiful, healthy babies resulted. However, the feelings of powerlessness and disappointment that Ricki Lake felt after her high-tech hospital birth led her to become in her own words a “birth junkie.” The “high” and empowering feelings that Lake felt at her second birth at home inspired her to produce with Abby Epstein the film, The Business of Being Born. Abby Epstein’s positive experience with a medically-indicated emergency cesarean birth adds an important perspective to the book – the authors recognize that technology and interventions are sometimes necessary and beneficial. Throughout the book, they promote the benefits of natural birth, but even more importantly, a woman’s right and responsibility to make decisions about her birth that are right for her. The tone of the book is one of a girlfriend sharing her thoughts in a way that builds confidence in a woman’s ability to give birth, rather than instilling fear in the birth process. I would definitely recommend this book to my daughter-in-law (my ultimate test!)

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