Drawing on a landmark study involving more than one hundred pregnant women and mothers, a renowned OB/GYN synthesizes the secrets to a good birth-medically and emotionally. Most doctors are trained to think of a "good" birth only in terms of its medical success. But Dr. Anne Lyerly knows firsthand that there are many other important elements that often get overlooked. Her three-year study of a diverse group of over one hundred expectant moms asked what matters most to women during childbirth. The results, presented to the public for the first time in A Good Birth, show what really matters goes beyond the clinical outcome or even the usual questions of hospital versus birthing center, and reveal universal needs of women, like the importance of feeling connected, safe, and respected. Bringing a new perspective to childbirth, the book's wisdom is drawn from in-depth interviews with women with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, and whose birth stories range from quick and simple to complicated and frightening. Describing what went well, what didn't, and what they'd do differently next time, these mothers give voice to the complete experience of childbirth, helping both women and their healthcare providers develop strategies to address the emotional needs of the mother, going beyond the standard birth plans and conversations. Transcending the "medical" versus "natural" childbirth debate, A Good Birthpaves the entryway to motherhood, turning our attention to the deeper and more important question of what truly makes for the best birth possible.
Anne Drapkin Lyerly, M.D., M.A., is Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics and an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the departments of Social Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology. As an obstetrician, she has attended women’s deliveries for over a decade. Widely featured in the media as a women’s health expert, she lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and their four sons.