Pushed by Jennifer Block

Pushed:  The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

by, Jennifer Block

Wow, what a book!  When I read books from the library, I put little slips of paper on the pages I want to go back and look at.  You should see my book; there is easily over 20 pieces of paper sticking out of the top.  This tells me I need to buy this book!  I am just sad I didn’t buy it in the first place, as my library copy is now past due and I don’t have time to take notes on all I wanted to.  So this may be a brief review, mostly because if I wrote ALL my thoughts it would become a book itself.  J 

Who is the audience for this book?   Any person interested in birth.   I would love to see this be a text in a college class to help people think about birth before they are pregnant.  It would be wonderful in sociology or a women’s studies class.  Really everyone of childbearing age should read this book!

I loved the way the book started; with a hurricane causing a hospital to change the medical way they normally handled birth due to limited supplies/manpower/energy.  They cancelled the planned inductions for the week; they sent moms home if they were not in active labor.  The staff saw a LOT of normal births, instead of the typically medically managed births.  Because they were not using pitocin “We had no cases of fetal distress during labor and respiratory distress of neonates following delivery…. And an incredibly low cesarean rate.”  Wow, what a concept, let women progress through their birthing time on their bodies own timetable and you have better outcomes for babies and moms?  Revolutionary!  

The book just gets better and better.  It touches on inductions, cesareans, vbacs, unassisted births, home midwives, doulas and much more.  There were 2 scary scenes that I would say pregnant moms trying to GIP (gestate in peace) may want to avoid.  Page 203-207 and Chapter 7.  The rest is safe. 

Frankly this book really made me think about birth and my rights as a woman.  The choices I make during my births and the power I DO have.  It made me also more aware of the way the government/OBs/insurance companies, are trying to take away my choices.  This should be a woman’s issue, but it isn’t embraced by the women’s groups, they see it as a medical issue.  But we need to remember normal birth does not need to be a medical event! 

The book ends with this thought by Jennifer, after commenting on how the goal of having a healthy baby is used to scare women into doing things that are not necessarily evidence based,  “Today women have unprecedented access to the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves-and therefore the best decisions for their babies.  They are in fact in a far better position to make evidence-based decisions than their doctors.  They have a right to make those decisions, and they should make those decisions.  The goal is to have a healthy family.”

I think this is SO true.   Women of the world, take the power back!  Inform yourselves of our choices, empower yourselves, and choose to have a healthy family!   This is where a good INDEPENDENT childbirth class is so great (not hospital based) Because we can share the information on what the choices are, the pros and cons of them, caregiver options, birthing options as well as basic childbirth information all together in one class.  To help families figure out the best choices to help them have the best birth possible. 

This is a MUST read!

Jennifer also has a blog!

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8 Comments on “Pushed by Jennifer Block

  1. Cool! Thanks for this review. I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I’ve heard of it, but I’m dying to read it now! I love how the book opens–with hospitals forced into natural birth, and finding it to be preferable. Amazing.


  2. Pingback: A great letter to Christina Aguilera « Enjoy Birth Blog

  3. Personally, I think it’s none of Jennifer’s business how Christina Aguilera gave birth to her son. Many women have scheduled c-sections for medical reasons. It’s not Jennifer’s place to judge without having the full story. Jennifer’s intrusive and smug open letter has made me not want to read her work.

    (edited by Sheridan to take out a swear word)


  4. I thought her letter was really well put. I think it was more of a way to let the world know about the risks of elective cesareans and the importance of informed consent. Which is a great message of her book.

    She ended her letter to Christina saying… “Whatever you ultimately choose, congratulations on becoming a mother, and may you have the healthiest birth experience possible.” She also said that this letter was only pertinent if the surgery was not for a medical need.

    Choice is important… all women should have the ability to chose how and where they want to give birth…


  5. Thanks for your review. I know I saw this book at my library but I was obsessing on some other aspect of pregnancy and didn’t check it out. i am 39 weeks and planning for my Hypnobabies Homebirth. I love the points you made. I majored in women’s studies and psychology and this truly is a sociological issue for our culture. The motto ‘the personal is political’ couldn’t fit better to this topic. Women are intimidated into having unnecessary interventions and surgery by being told “this is for the health of your baby.” With the implication — “if you don’t follow my advice, you are choosing to risk you baby’s welfare.” My director at work told me, after telling her OB that she wanted to keep laboring in attempt to have a natural birth, “go ahead [and keep laboring] I’ve delivered dead babies before.” Is this not the most horrible thing you have heard before? Of course she then decided to have a cesarean. People have felt free to openly criticize my decision to have a homebirth but statistically for low-risk women, homebirth is just as safe or safer than birthing in a hospital. My husband, who fully supports homebirth, loves to ask skeptics — “if hospitals are so safe, why does our [US] rate of infant and maternal mortality overshadow almost all other couintries?”


  6. I loved you post in this and am also reading the book… It is an eye opener! Too bad I only have 9 months to figure this all out, there is so much to learn!


  7. Pingback: Blaming moms for cesareans. « Enjoy Birth Blog

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