Worth the whole month.
Both ends of the spectrum: Death.

Both ends of the spectrum: Birth.

I have decided, eighty-nine pages into it, that preggers ladies should probably not be reading Jennifer Block's Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.

Pushed Which is a shame, because I've been finding that it's a really interesting book. There's some fascinating, FASCINATING, stuff in it about how many labors are induced (and for what reasons), how many c-sections are currently performed in America (and why), epidurals, "rushing" natural labor, and all sorts of other labor and medical history bits and bobs. It's my favorite type of medical nonfiction book--pretty detailed, offering historical context (the history on episiotomies, the different types of drugs used during labor, and forceps alone make this book worth it), and a bit questioning of the medical establishment. There's also a lot of interesting stuff about the dynamic between nurses (and midwives), who are often more open to letting labor start when it's going to start and take as long as it's going to take, and doctors, who tend to be a bit more into what they call "active management."

If you have a better attitude toward the medical establishment than I do, this may not be the book for you; it's a bit argumentative (you can tell that from the opening line of the publisher's description: "In the U.S., nearly half of all mothers are chemically induced into labor whether they want it or not; almost a third give birth via C-section." I've known loads of women who were most pleased with both their inductions and their epidurals, but this wouldn't be the type of book I'd probably suggest to them.

Weirdly, I think I'd like to get this book back when I'm not pregnant. It's an eye-opener, that's for sure--and I might even suggest it to go along with another interesting book on the subject, Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife.