Friday, August 1, 2008

Book Review: "New Natural Pregnancy" by Janet Balaskas

At the moment I am feeling rather overwhelmed with book reviews!! I have several books waiting to be reviewed for each blog, not to mention all the pregnancy/birth books I have read in the past, and combined with the busyness of life, it's quite a lot to wade through! Here goes with another one....

"New Natural Pregnancy"
Janet Balaskas
1990, 93 pages

I fell in love with Janet Balaskas when I read "Active Birth," and have been devouring all of her other books ever since. This book is also a good one, although "Active Birth" and "The Water Birth Book" remain my favorite books of hers.

One of the things that I like best about Janet's books is the beautiful pencil drawings (and, in this book, gorgeous photographs). A lot of pregnancy books will spend paragraphs and paragraphs describing things which can be much more easily communicated by a single picture. My knowledge of pregnancy anatomy, birthing positions, pregnancy massage, and childbirth exercises has grown by leaps and bounds in the month since I discovered Janet's books. I have finally been able to visualize many things which were a mystery to me before (such as the anatomy of the female pelvis, the human spine, etc.). If nothing else, read these books for the pictures! They are so helpful!

Especially helpful in this book was a little index at the back listing naturopathic remedies for various pregnancy ailments. She also gives descriptions of various naturopathic healing modalities, such as osteopathy, aromatherapy, shiatsu, hypnotherapy, massage, Bach flower remedies, and others. I learned quite a bit about those modalities which had been previously puzzling to me.

Janet is big on yoga during pregnancy, and her chapter on yoga exercises for pregnant women is superb (see also "Active Birth").

I wish that there had been more detail in this book. However, I am a self-confessed pregnancy/birth-junkie, and the books I tend to like best are those which are almost textbooks. For the average pregnant mama who wants basic information without being deluged with details, this is a great resource.

This book falls nicely in the middle, ideologically. It leans obviously toward the side of midwifery, natural pregnancy, etc., but it is not militaristic or judgmental. It's very balanced. I would recommend this book to any pregnant woman.

One note - There is absolutely nothing in this book regarding childbirth, natural or otherwise. The subject matter deals exclusively with pregnancy. In some ways I was disappointed, but I realize that since Janet has already published a book which is exclusively on childbirth and childbirth preparation ("Active Birth"), to put childbirth information in this book would be reduneant and overlapping. Just buy both books!

I really liked this book and would recommend it highly!

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