Top positive review
Excellent book for all birth partners and mothers to read.
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2016
I purchased this book and read through the entire thing prior to my first child's birth. Reading through it with my wife was extremely helpful and she and I went through a couple sections more than once to review before the big day(s). Even better was the fact we took a birth course through the hospital at which we were delivering and the 8-hour course was basically this book, down to the illustrations and chapter numbers/titles. This gave me a good feeling about the information in the book and the process in general. This book has a lot of information, and for a "standard" birth you'll need maybe 30% of the book. The rest covers details for procedures and processes that might be "non-standard". Don't let it overwhelm you, as you probably won't need to worry about the majority of it. However, it's very nice to cover it prior to labor and delivery because it'll help you make an informed decision if the situation needs it.
We did not use a doula for our labor and birth. I was her support and along with the great nursing staff, we did great. I felt confident in my ability to help her and we used several of the pain mitigation techniques offered in the book. I found I did not have to reference the book more than a couple times during the whole event as I'd read through it and was prepared ahead of time. My wife was able to delivery vaginally with no epidural or other pain medication. I do find that the book is very pushy for getting a doula, which I understand as Penny is a certified doula who has helped establish a strong doula network within the U.S.
Each chapter/section talks about mama and baby first, then how the birth partner can help, and finally how a doula can help even more. For those people thinking of possibly getting a doula, the last bit may be very useful in order to help you better understand how one could help. If you know for sure you do not want one, you can read it as a way for the birth partner to help even more.
The book itself is very nicely organized by chapter and features small sections at the end of each chapter that is a summary of what the chapter talked about. These sections have a grey border, which makes them very easy to find while flipping through the book. This makes them very easy to find later while in labor and delivery, but I also found a couple small sticky notes in certain sections with subjects written on the notes, makes it even easier.
No matter if you plan on a hospital birth, home birth, with or without pain medication, I highly recommend you read through this book. Even if it isn't the first child, if you aren't feeling confident about being a good support for mama and baby, read through it and you'll know exactly what to do.