Print version ISSN 0042-9686
Bull World Health Organ vol.78 n.9 Genebra Jan. 2000
BOOKS & ELETRONIC MEDIA
Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist
Preparing for natural birth
CD-ROM by Lennart Righard with music by Jan Eric Strom. Available from Health Education Associates, 8 Jan Sebastian Way Suite no.13, Sandwich, MA 02563-2359, USA, price US$ 22.
The aim of this audio CD is to help women achieve complete relaxation during pregnancy and labour. It starts with the author encouraging the listener to maintain good posture, and then to become slowly more aware of her own body, her breathing, and, finally, her unborn child. It refers continuously to the bodys ability to give birth. The part designed to help during labour uses the image of waves breaking on the shore. It invites the woman to imagine herself meeting and following each contraction as though stepping into a wave, then lying peacefully on the beach. Youre getting more and more relaxed, Righard says soothingly, and You are fully confident that your body can give birth. He assures the listener that this feeling of confidence will remain with her throughout the time of labour, even when the contractions are strong and frequent.
These relaxation exercises are followed by practical information and advice on choosing a midwife, where to give birth, and which interventions to seek or avoid. Righard advocates ambulation and using a vertical position during the first and second stages of labour, as these promote more effective contractions.
Like all the medical information on this CD, this is sound advice, and well supported by research. Other kinds of recommendation need to be used selectively however, according to the cultural setting. For example, the assurance, You can ask for sweet drinks or fruits whenever you want would lead to disappointment in most United States maternity homes, where women in labour are routinely denied food and drink as soon as they arrive at the hospital. Similarly, the listener is encouraged to have a warm shower or bath at any time, but in many places this is either not possible or not the accepted practice. You can have anything you want, you are in charge, says Righard, which is a soothing thought but in most circumstances a bit utopian if applied to any practical extent. With this mild caveat, however, obstetricians, nurses, childbirth educators, labour coaches and others should encourage women to use this compact disc as a very effective aid to achieving relaxation and self-confidence. It ends with excellent advice on letting the newborn find the breast and begin to suck.
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