Birth Book

Sears, Author, William Sears, Author, Martha Sears, With Little Brown and Company $22.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-316-77908-1

This guide will do more for new parents than a pacifier will for a newborn. It is a comprehensive, soothing work which will ease the fears and anxieties that explode during a pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. The Searses ( The Baby Book )--he a pediatrician and professor at the University of Southern California's School of Medicine; she a childbirth and labor expert--are themselves the parents of eight children. They explain clearly and reassuringly the array of options available to pregnant couples, from what to consider when selecting a birthing team and environment and how technology can be a mixed blessing during pregnancy to having a VDAC (a vaginal delivery after having had a Caesarean birth). The book's philosophy is that delivering a baby is often an event that parents are more caught up with than the end-product--the baby. But the book offers more than philosophy. It gives men practical advice on how to survive the changes, both emotional and physical, that arrive with impending parenthood. There are quick-reference charts on the medical tests commonly ordered by physicians during pregnancy, contraction timing and the stages of labor. The final chapter is devoted to 14 birth stories which illustrate how labor and delivery are different for each woman. While no two experiences are alike, all illustrate the importance of making conscious choices about the birth of one's child. (Feb.)