Historical and Social Perspectives: Childbirth in the U.S.

The Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS) group has been teaching us about women's bodies since their first stapled and cheaply printed pamphlet appeared in 1970 and started a revolution in women's health.

Founder Judy Norsigian will be visiting Chicago to introduce the latest book from OBOS, Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth. You can meet Judy and buy a copy of the book.

Monday, April 7, 2008 4:00-6:00 pm at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum University of Illinois at Chicago 800 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL

Keynote Speakers: Judy Norsigian, Co-author and Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves & Carrie Klima, CNM, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, UIC College of Nursing

Please come to welcome the newest book from the creators of Our Bodies, Ourselves, as the presenters explore the history of health care for pregnant women in the United States, beginning with midwives and dramatic change that happened with physicians taking over pregnancy and childbirth, and the movement over the last 30 years to take back some of the control for women over their birthing experience.

More info about the book

“This book presents the most up-to-date and accurate information on pregnancy and childbirth. Our Bodies Ourselves is renowned for objective information that is presented without influence of pharmaceutical or other interests aside from those of women themselves,” commented Judy Norsigian, Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves.

"The widespread routine use of medical interventions during labor and birth has failed to improve the safety of childbirth for women who are at low risk for medical complications. Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth dispels many common misconceptions about maternity care and provides women with the information they need to make wise decisions and approach birth with confidence.”

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth addresses a wide range of topics, including:

  • Choosing a provider and birth setting.
  • Making decisions about prenatal testing.
  • Arranging for continuous labor support.
  • Exploring options for pain relief.
  • Recovering from birth.
  • Adjusting to life as a new mother.

The book also provides an overview of maternity care practices in the United States and examines why some aspects of the care most women receive are not based on the most reliable research on what is safe and effective.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth is already drawing praise from both mothers and physicians:

From Timothy RB Johnson, MD FACOG, Bates Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan: “The trusted Boston Women’s Health Book Collective has written a comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date book for expectant mothers. It balances important facts, scientific data, and evidence with the voice of the ‘wise woman’; and it provides questions to ask, issues to think about, and options to consider and discuss. This is the #1 book I am going to recommend to my patients.”

From Tina Cassidy, author of Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born: "As a new mother myself, I appreciated all the scientific evidence that was used to back up recommendations or to question standard practices. And yet this book manages to be a smart, readable guide that is not preachy -- a rarity for pregnancy books."

In 2006 the United States cesarean section rate hit a record high of more than 31% in 2006. This coincides with the first rise of the maternal death rate in decades. Women seeking to have a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean increasingly find that hospitals are denying that option, despite clear evidence that such a choice may be safest for women and babies. At the same time, facilities and services that provide high quality support and care are making possible safe and satisfying birth experiences for women and their families. To learn more about the book and to discuss current controversies in maternity care, please join us at one of the many book parties being held in cities across the country.

For more information, please contact Wendy Brovold at 617.451.3666 ext. 13 or email wendy@bwhbc.org.