The Doula Advantage by Rachel Gurevich (2003) — I liked it. It builds a strong case for why a woman should want to hire a doula to support her in labor and delivery, and also talks about postnatal doulas and antenatal doulas. Generally does a good job of citing scientific studies to support its points. The writing isn’t always strong, and the book gets rather repetitive, but overall, it’s a solid book in favor of doulas. I like how it does not portray doulas as a mere fixture of the NCB/homebirth movement, but makes it clear that they can be useful even when one is having an epidural or other interventions. 4/5 stars.
Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America by Richard W. Wertz and Dorothy C. Wertz (1989) — This is a scholarly text originally published in the 70s, updated and re-published by Yale Press in 1989. I loved it. It’s a general survey of American attitudes towards and practices involving pregnancy and childbirth. It traces the shift from community-supported, midwife-attended, mother-centered childbirth in the colonial era to the current world of physician-attended, medicalized childbirth that emphasizes the safety of the baby and the creation of perfect children even at the expense of the mother. It covers major developments in obstetrics (anesthesia, forceps, c-sections) and medical misfires (puerperal fever epidemic, Twilight Sleep). The Wertzes’ sources are not always terribly thorough, but overall it’s a strong text that really gave me a good perspective on where childbirth has been and how we arrived at where we are. 5/5 stars.