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on 1 July 2005
In preparing for birth throughout my first pregnancy, I wanted a resource that directly addressed the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth (without skipping over the difficult parts), and I found that this was one of the most helpful books that I read. "Blooming Birth", gave a realistic picture of what childbirth actually involves, and revealed many aspects of childbirth (and motherhood) that were previously unknown to me. This book helped me to better manage my fears and concerns, (for example the section on "the top five fears" of pregnant women). The authors suggest many useful strategies for preparing for labour and birth, but at the same time maintain a (welcome) non-judgmental tone regarding the different choices that can be made in planning for childbirth.
Although in the Introduction, the reader is advised that this is "not a medical book", the book also provides a great deal of helpful information from obstetricians, mid-wives and other experts. As I progressed through my pregnancy, it was also good to be accompanied (and reassured) by the many stories of other parents which are scattered throughout the book.
Lastly,my partner read the chapter on "blokes, birth and babies", and said that he found it helpful and entertaining.
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on 3 November 2006
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Having been to NCT antenatal classes I found myself with just a few weeks to go before my due date but feeling really unprepared for the birth. I had only a vague idea to put on my birth plan the things I felt I ought to want. This book really helped me focus on what might happen during birth, what my options were, and how to make birth a really positive experience even if it turned out to be necessary to have more medical intervention than I really wanted (which it did...). Also, there are a couple of good chapters for dads to read to help them prepare for birth and life with new baby & new mum, which my husband highly recommends.
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on 22 September 2007
I am about to have my third baby and one of the overriding things about my previous two births is that they were scary! They were pretty straightforward too but looking back I know I was panicking instead of focussing. So when I saw this book I thought it might help me to feel more in control of my feelings which in turn should make for a more manageable birth. I had read other books with my other two which armed me with the facts but this but contains that missing ingredient that the others lacked- it really concentrates on the emotional aspects of childbirth/labour in particular, but also pregnancy and post-partum. It has also helped me to wrote a meaningful birth plan too- something which I wasn't even going to bother with- but it talks you through a process whereby you identify your fears using a series of excersices and helps you turn them into positive steps which can be expressed to your childbirthing team.

The test will be to see what happens when the baby is born- but I feel more prepared than I could have ever imagined and feel good about what's to come!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has anxious tendencies or would just like to get her head round how she will feel about giving birth.
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on 21 June 2005
Thank you Julia & Lucy for a clear and comprehensive guide to birth options that is non-judgemental and not boring!
My partner and I are preparing for our first child and have heard every crazy story imaginable. We really appreciate the clear, detailed way you have explained things in a practical way. We want to understand our options in order to make informed choices. We also know that things can change at the last minute and we need to be ready. I can be brave if I know what to expect - I just want to understand what is happening with our birth - even in the event of emergency situations.
The lists of extra resources are especially helpful. The chapter on husbands (in our case Partners) is is awesome!
We also really enjoyed the personal stories from so many diverse women - and men - and the overall tone of humor and love of the book.
This is the first time I've ever written a review - I felt compelled to tell other women to read this book before giving birth for the first (second, third...sixth time!) My copy has been hi-lighted, "dogearred", and passed around to friends. Thanks!
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on 3 June 2005
This book really helped me prepare for the birth of my first baby. I would recommend it to any expectant mother. It it is accessible and funny in style - so refreshing and real compared to those turgid Miriam Stoppard/ What to Expect tomes - but it is also backed up with thoroughly researched facts and expertise from midwifes, obstetricians etc. my baby's birth ended up being long and drawn out and what could have been an ordeal was actually amazing because the book had helped me get my head around what could happen, instead of painting an ideal picture. I'm recommending it to all my pregnant friends.
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on 25 September 2011
I was pregnant with my first baby when I read this book which I bought because I loved First Time Parent so much. I was fairly terrified of childbirth and consequently skipped the birth section of every other book I read so when I finally decided I needed to start working out what I wanted from my birth experience I decided Lucy Atkins was the one to guide me through it.

Right from the start the tone of the book put me at ease and made me feel as though I could be brave enough to read on. I found that I relaxed as I read through the first chapters and when it finally came to thinking about the decisions I needed to make I was far less terrified.

I had previously not had a clue how to write a birth plan, what was supposed to be in it or what format it was supposed to follow so having a step by step guide to writing one was great. Sitting down with my husband and explaining the different options (that I now understood!) and putting together a birth plan from the instructions in the book allowed me to feel in control - at last! I was 38wks when I read the book and went into labour at 41+6, at which point I was nervous and excited but definitely not as scared as I had been before I read the book.

I really do credit this book with giving me the confidence to think I could get through the birth and with giving me the information I needed to make informed decisions about how I wanted the experience to be. I would recommend it to every pregnant woman, whether carrying their first child or their fourth. I would also recommend Dads-to-be have a read of some of the chapters so they can understand the terminology used in the delivery room and the decisions that might have to be made, and so they can help to make sure their partner's birth plan is followed if she can't explain it herself.

Definitely worth reading.
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on 19 April 2005
An excellent pregnancy and birth handbook. All topics covered in a really readable, well-balanced, informative way. It is liberally sprinkled with real-life experiences from real people, mothers, birth professionals and fathers and there are plenty of pointers for further reading and websites etc.

If you don't have time to plough through a lengthy book you'll like the way you are guided through from one section to another with links to other "must-read" pages. Something new to read each time you pick it up on your journey through pregnancy, birth and becoming a parent.
No glossy pictures and no frills to distract you from your birth preparation. Navigating your way through the chapters makes you think about your options, your choices for your body and your baby. You can sense the wisdom and shared experience coming through from all those interviewed for the book and the authors' own experiences.

The section for men will have readers laughing out loud.
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on 13 February 2009
In the early days of my first pregnancy I bought several books, wanting as you do to learn as much as I could. How disappointed I felt reading them. Then I stumbled upon Blooming Birth!

The book perhaps doesn't look as glossy as many others, there are no pictures but it is way ahead of many others in the information and advice it gives. I will admit, initially I was a little sceptical that it was co-written by a doula, but that didn't last long. The book is down to earth and honest. One thing which particularly impressed me - and I didn't see in other books - was clear referencing on 'research has shown...' type statements. I felt I could really trust what the book was telling me, and if I wasn't sure - I know exactly their source.

Two sections I particularly liked - the relaxation exercises. We practiced and used them during labour and I can say did make a difference (the midwife was very impressed with my husband). And have a go at the birth plan, it is a different approach to many books, but definitely more effective at addressing any fears you may have and helping you decided how and why you would like things a certain way.

My sister in law now has the book, she is expecting her second child soon. She read lots before her first, but still learnt a lot from this one and reckoned it provided a far more realistic view of pregnancy and childbirth.
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This is by far the best, kindest and most comprehensive book and birthing I read when pregnant. It is written by a mum who has given birth to 3 kids- by emergency c-section, normal hospital birth and a home birth. She has laid out all the things any expectant mum needs to be aware of when going into labour. I found it made my birth experience lovely, despite the fact it turned out nothing what I expected or wanted. Due to complications, I had to have a planned c-section combined with a cyst removal op, although until the last 2 week of my pregnancy I was getting ready for a water birth. Knowing what follows with each type of birth made me aware of what to expect and feel in control during the birth of my daughter. She was born whilst The Dark Side of the Moon was playing in theatre and I can honestly way I had a positive birth experience. The tips on establishing breastfeeding and how to ensure straightforward recovery after the birth were invaluable.
I have given away my copy to a friend, and am recommending this book to all pregnant women I know. This book should be provided for free on NHS, it's that informative.
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on 14 November 2013
I know what's not very descriptive but honestly, it is.

This book encouraged me to have a birth plan, which I originally didn't care all that much about (just go with the flow was my approach) and even though the birth didn't go according to plan AT ALL I was prepared for that - again, thanks to this book.

Lucie Atkins details everything you need to know (and I say that without hesitation) in a way that doesn't patronise, doesn't sugar-coat, says it as it is plain and clear. And (especially if this is your first baby) trust me that is what you need. It is even good for partners to read and I would even encourage them to do so.

Honestly, even if you're getting your info mostly from the internet, get this book. I got mine for about £3 second hand, it is WELL worth it, I cannot emphasise enough!
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