Birth Day

Birth Day

A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth

Book - 2009
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I delivered twenty babies in the summer of 1977. I was hardly more than a baby myself, just turned twenty-four and starting my third year of medical school." --from Birth Day So began Mark Sloan's three-decades-long exploration of the wonders and oddities of human childbirth. Pediatrician, husband, and father, the author has attended nearly three thousand births since that long-ago summer, encountering everything from routine deliveries to tense labor-room dramas. In Birth Day, Sloan draws on his personal and professional experience to weave the strands of memoir, history, science, and culture into a fascinating--and often funny--tapestry of this fundamental human passage. Birth Day takes the reader on a remarkable journey, from the dawn of human history to the quiet efficiency of a modern operating room; from Aristotle and Julius Caesar to a trailblazing, cross-dressing British army surgeon; from a recent past filled with the horrors of childbirth gone wrong to a present day, in which every pregnancy is expected to end happily. Some of Birth Day's many topics include • The evolution of human childbirth--or, why do gorillas have it so easy? • The first five minutes of life--scuba divers, astronauts, and the amazing adaptations that transform a fetus into an air-breathing, out-in-the-world baby • Cesarean section--a look at its origins, its future, and how it came to be the most frequently performed operation in American hospitals • Pain and politics--the age-old quest for painless childbirth, starring Adam and Eve, Queen Victoria, a nineteenth-century medical brawl, and the rise of today's "epidural monoculture" • Daddies--raging paternal hormones, hidden anxieties, and the emotional evolution of men (including the author, his father, and grandfather) as they approach fatherhood • The five senses at birth--does light enter the womb? how loud is it in there? what is a newborn baby searching for with those first anxious glances? • A tour of the newborn body--springy skulls, hairy ears, innies and outies, the advantages (and disadvantages) of looking like your father, and why the United States is one of the world's most circumcised nations Delightfully instructive and entertaining, Birth Dayoffers a fresh, sometimes irreverent take on a universally familiar topic. Warm, reassuring, and packed with stories from the author's work and life, this unique book is one pediatrician's meditation on the hiding-in-plain-sight marvels of human birth.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345502865
0345502868
Characteristics: xii, 370 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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kpalichuk Sep 23, 2009

Written in a conversational style, Sloan uses a combination of anecdotes, personal reflection and historical information to track the beliefs and processes around childbirth. I have no idea why i selected this book to read - except that I seem to be on a jaunt through non-fiction right now - but i wasn't disappointed.

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