Birthing Naturally: Book Review

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About the author
Dr.Mahima Bakshi is a mother and child/adolescent consultant based in Delhi/NCR. She has a bachelors in physiotherapy and later attained training in women’s health under the expert guidance of the president of Indian Association of Physiotherapists, Dr. Ali Irani.

She received recognition for her contribution towards wellness of pregnant women by Suchitra N. Pandit, president of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies (FOGSI, 2014-2015). She has acquired training in prenatal, perinatal, postnatal and lactation education. Family counselling and adolescent health certification is also a part of her education and skills. She is working on an advanced post graduate certification in women and child’s health.

Dr. Bakshi is a remarkable symbol for women empowerment in the country. She is a social activist and used to be a health columnist for a Mumbai based paper, Absolute India. Various mainstream such as CNN- Network 18 and NewsX have interviewed her.

She has worked at Apollo Cradle Royale, Fortis Escorts and Birthright and Rainbow Children’s Hospital. She has also designed a child and mother wellness programme, Preggo, for Apollo Cradle.

About the Birthing Naturally
This book can act as your absolute guide all through your pregnancy and birthing process. This book is not just about how to have a stress-free pregnancy, as the sub title suggests, but also aims to promote natural birthing process.

According to the book, ensuring a natural birth is not in the hands of just the obstetrician. The expecting mother has a good amount of control over the situation. However, Dr. Bakshi clearly state that this control can only be established when the expecting mother follows a particular lifestyle since the time she decides to be a mother. The doctor also states that “…till the last minute there is always the risk of having a Caesarean lest any medical conditions arise that might put your or the baby’s safety in jeopardy.” She does specify that it is good to trust the judgement of the obstetrician. However, she also does think that it is totally possible to follow certain schedules and ways of life that can reduce the possibility of a Caesarean.

It is scary to go under the knife, especially at one of the most vulnerable moment of your life. Still, due to many reason listed down in the book, many women have to go through it. Birthing Naturally is a book that acts as a comprehensive guide that can lead you to natural childbirth.

Why Natural Childbirth?
There are a number of reasons listed down by Dr. Bakshi in Birthing Naturally regarding why natural birthing process is always better than Caesarean. She lists some medical and breast-feeding related concerns that arise with Caesarean child birth.

According to Dr.Bakshi, the first one hour after delivery is the “golden time” for breastfeeding. This helps in establishing a good breast-feeding relation amidst the mother and the new born. In C-section, the child misses out on this golden time. There are other medical reasons that tilt Dr. Bakshi towards natural childbirth and she tries to motivate expecting mothers with those reasons in her book.

Important aspects of the book
One aspect of this book is that it debunks various myths that are associated with natural childbirth. The biggest myth being that childbirth is just a mother’s business. The book does not forget the father’s and the family’s role in the entire process. “Role of Birthing Partner or Husband” is one of the chapters in the book that has pointers towards how a partner can aid and comfort an expecting mother. It is an essential function and cannot be taken for granted or ignored.

This book does not overlook any stage of pregnancy. Be it conception, nine months of pregnancy, childbirth or the postnatal stage, this book covers it all. The postnatal stage is termed as the “fourth trimester” by Dr. Bakshi and according to her it is as crucial as the pregnancy itself. If pregnancy is preparation time, the fourth trimester is the field work.

There is a chapter on antenatal exercises in the book. In this, the author herself showcases a number of exercises that can be beneficial at the antenatal stage (during pregnancy) through the medium of pictures within the book itself. This can be excessively advantageous for mothers who are confused about exercise postures and apprehensive about exercising during pregnancy altogether.

  

Audience
This book can be really helpful for expecting mothers (obviously) but it should also be consulted by birthing partners or families that are expecting a new kid in their family soon. It can act as a great tool of education about pregnancy and natural birth for all the family members around the mother. One can take care of a pregnant woman better only if they well-versed with the dynamics of pregnancy.

Women who are deciding on having a child but is scared or apprehensive, can get eased towards the idea of it through this book.
(Also see: Life Hacks For A Healthy Delivery Of A Pregnant Woman)

Birthing Naturally is a concise book of more or less 200 pages published by Penguin India. It is in a pretty simple language and explains even the medical terms in it. An easy and informative read. It can prepare you to get pregnant and prepare you for your little bundle of joy.