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The Birth Partner

Penny Simkin’s the Birth Partner was a required read when I was training as a doula nearly 10 years ago.  It still sits on my shelf today, although I am on my second copy.

What I like about the book is the no-nonsense presentation of information.  Ms. Simkin gets straight to the point quickly explaining pros and cons for all types of labor options.  Her bulleted lists are easy to read and the book itself is marked on the side so you can quickly find the section you would like to read. I have had some families find the book too dry to read.  In those cases I recommend making good use of the table of contents and the index to focus on the areas the readers are most interested in.

However do not be fooled into thinking you can use this as a quick reference in labor without actually reading the book before labor begins.  It would work best to read it as you are preparing your birth plan and then to quickly refresh yourself of any information you need during labor.  Because the mother will be working too hard to look things up, the book should be read by whomever will be her main labor support.

I recommend this book to Christian families because it states the facts plainly without interjecting spiritual information from any background.  The book is not written from any faith perspective, instead it is written from a research perspective.  This allows families to gather the information they need without feeling offended by the authors beliefs.

Whether you are training as a birth professional and are considering this book for required reading, or a family looking for good information to help you prepare to give birth, the Birth Partner can meet your needs without undermining your Christian faith.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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