The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide To Childbirth For Dads, Doulas, And All Other Labor Companions (birth Partner: A Complete Guide To Childbirth For Dads, Doulas, &)

  • ISBN13: 9781558323575
  • Condition: New
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  • Manufacturer: Harvard Common Press
If you want to learn how best to help an expectant mother have a happy and healthy childbirth, The Birth Partner, Third Edition is the only book you'll need. For almost 20 years, husbands, partners, friends, relatives, and doulas have turned to this book for guidance on being a supportive partner in the delivery room. The expanded third edition includes the most up-to-date information about techniques, devices, and medications for easing labor pain; tests and treatments of the fetus and newborn; strategies to help labor progress; potential medical procedures and interventions; and how best to help the mother during the early days after the birth. And, with its easy-to-use format and new illustrations, the The Birth Partner is the essential guide have on hand in the delivery room.

Customer Reviews

A Mental Lifesaver, June 20, 2008
By Jonathan Stephens "Jonathan Stephens"

For first-time parents, giving birth to your little bundle of joy can be nerve-wracking. There is so much you don't know! And not-knowing can be a nasty breeding ground for fear. My wife and I are first-time parents, and while we weren't scared to death, we certainly wanted to know what we were headed towards. Knowing is half the battle, right? Because of how much there is to know, we even thought about hiring a doula (birth coach). Luckily, we found this book...373 pages of confidence-building.

THE BIRTH PARTNER is broken into 4 parts:

1) Before the Birth

This section is largely just introduction to the concept of pregnancy. It contains some good lists to remind you what to prepare to take to the hospital. Probably the most important stuff was on Kegel exercises and the Perineal massage. Oh yeah, and make sure to compile a list of friends and family to call or have someone call.

2) Labor and Birth

This section has crucial information about the pre-labor process, the signs of labor, the "bag of waters" breaking, false vs. true labor, timing contractions (there's a great chart to make copies of), and breeched babies. Her breakdown of the 3 stages of labor is especially helpful.

For those parents attempting a natural birth, she details the 5-1-1 rule for contractions, so you know when to head to the hospital. She walks you through a ton of strategic labor positions to use to relieve pain and allow gravity to do its work toward birthing the baby (these assume you haven't had an epidural...there's a whole section on epidurals and anesthesia).

She gives advice for the birth partner's role -- from leading her through breathing routines and rituals to knowing how to work with and sometimes against the doctors, depending on what they're saying. Fast labors, slow labors, irregular labors...they're all in here.

3) The Medical Side of Childbirth

Medicine, drugs, shots, tests, interventions and all that good stuff. To epidural or not to epidural? And what about Cesarean sections? It's all in here. Helpful information to keep you sane and in the loop. It's amazing what the doctors won't tell you unless you ask. Remember, it's a business.

4) After the Birth

Cleaning the baby, shots, warming, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and how to deal with it...what happens after the birth is almost nearly as important as the before and the during.


This book is a mental lifesaver. Whether you're heading into the birth with complete trust of the doctors and the medical system or with a healthy (or unhealthy) bit of logical skepticism, there is a wealth of essential knowledge in here about what to look for, what to know, and what to ask about. You won't regret reading this book. It's concise and detailed in the all the right places and is clear enough that you know exactly what she's talking about. I'm a first-time, thinking-man's father-to-be, and I sure feel more prepared after reading it. After all, it's just my baby we're talking about here.

--- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens

Very helpful for dads and others, January 31, 2008
By Julia Ziobro "JuliaZ"

Penny Simkin's first edition of this book was really helpful to me in my last pregnancy, and this edition is even better. Updated with modern information, my husband is finding it a great tool as I prepare for my third birth and he gets ready for his first homebirth... his daughter was born in a horrible hospital birth so he's really having to adjust his thinking.

He was worried that this book was going to be dry and boring but he hasn't put it down yet. :-) It has enough technical information to keep his "science mind" occupied, and the writing tone is friendly and accessible. He is realizing with the help of this book that he can be an active participant in this birth and that he can really help me by protecting me and making conditions ideal for me to do the work of birthing... this is in stark contrast to the very passive role that he was encouraged to take last time, and how helpless he felt in terms of being able to help his ex-wife as she struggled to birth despite lots of hospital-staff-ordered interventions.

We are also using the book together to identify the things I'd like to have for our birth in terms of people who are there, the atmosphere of the room, and procedures we want/don't want our midwife to do.

We're going through the interventions chapter together and identifying the things that would be 100% fine with us if the midwife thought them necessary, the things we'd tolerate after a risk/benefit discussion, and the things I'd never consent to unless my midwife (who I do trust with my life, and who attended my last birth too) says I'll die or the baby will die without.

We'll certainly have this book around with some tape flags in it during our birth.

Comprehensive guide to labor and childbirth, June 9, 2008

If you or someone you know is planning to have a baby, and you plan to be there, read this book. It will help you have a birth that is less painful, stressful, and physician-directed than you will have if you do not read it. It covers the normal course of labor and birth, complications in labor, comfort measures for the woman and the role of the birth partner and/or doula, explanations of the many possible interventions and drugs available during labor/birth/postpartum, breastfeeding basics, and care of the mother when she returns home. If you are the partner, this will help you feel that you know what's going on during birth, especially if complications arise, and it will give you lots of ideas for how to help your partner during labor and afterwards.

This book is pretty objective and not biased far towards the "no intervention for any reason/trust birth" camp, nor towards the "birth is a emergency, and babies can DIE!!!!" camp. It will help you clarify YOUR personal preferences and needs for your birth by providing you with knowledge needed to make informed choices based on your medical particulars, pain tolerance, philosophy about childbirth, attitude towards medications and interventions, and your birth setting.

There is a great questionnaire in the book about pain and medication preferences that will really help you decide what medications you might or might not want and at what point in labor you will want them, and a comprehensive list of all the medications, their effects and side-effects on mother and baby, when in the course of labor it is appropriate to receive them, and how they might interact with other drugs offered during labor.

A tutorial, not a reference, June 10, 2008
By K. Titievsky

After getting bogged down in several reference-style books about birth, this was exactly what I needed. The book takes you step by step through the birthing process in an accessible and encouraging way, telling specifically you how to help the mother. The fact that the authors base their recommendations not only on physical, but also on emotional needs the partner and the mother is very helpful.

This book is far from complete, so a separate pregnancy reference will probably be useful. Also, as reasonable and reassuring as the advice sounds, I have not yet tested it in practice.

Practical/Logical Guide to Child Birth, August 10, 2008
By S. Bennett

I bought this book for my husband and ended up reading it myself. It was my favorite pregnancy/birth book! It has a *slight* lean towards natural childbirth (it is NOT preachy at all) but fairly covers drugs in depth and even includes a chart with the drug name and it's side effects. It's the only book I have found that does that. It also shows techniques for coping with pain and relaxation techniques...which is what I was looking for my husband and I to both learn. I think this book really prepares you what to expect on the big day. I will recommend this book to all my pregnant friends from now on. If you are a logical, practical person who is looking for tangible techniques and information then this book is for you.

I'm Not Sick; I'm Just Pregnant, February 21, 2010
By MomintheMission

One of the first things I said to my loved ones when I told them I was expecting my first child was, "Please, don't get me any pregnancy books". I did receive Your Pregnancy Week by Week". It's great if you want a big list of Don'ts and want to be informed of everything that could go wrong in the next 9 months. I decided early on thta I wanted a completely natural birth. (Yeah, I guess I am a bit "granola" but part of the decision was entirely selfish. I just wanted to be able to brag about it.) My "BabyDaddy" and I interviewed a doula and she recommended this book. We immediately checked it out from the library (and renewed multiple times before purchasing). The book is directed toward the "birth partner" and I like the fact that it treats the reader as an intelligent individual capable of making their own decisions. Even if you don't plan on having a drug-free birth, this book provides clear/non-biased information on typical mother/baby procedures and pros and cons of each. It covers the most common methods of pain-relief (natural and chemical) and (cheesy) visuals with a handy chart for which works best when. It covers all of the tests you may have and what they are for. It's just a great source of information about the whole process and always keeps in mind that you're not sick, you're just pregnant. (P.S. Mission accomplished; me (with my sole birth partner, the "BD") had a successful all-natural birth and are now the happy parents of a 7 month old baby girl).

A must read for dads, August 26, 2009
By Bella

I wanted a natural birth, so I purchased this book for my birthing partner. It really helped my husband (first time dad) understand the birth process and have knowledge of what would take place. It is a great tool as well with tons of techniques for your birthing partner to assist you. I would recommend this book along with the book Active Birth, if you are planning a natural birth. Without such a great birthing partner, I don't know that I would of had such a natural, wonderful birthing experience.

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