Book Review: Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth

Book Review: Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions
By Nicette Jukelevics
Praeger Publishers, 2008
ISBN 978-0-275-99906-3
264 pages, hardback, $49.95 (or $40.96 via

Reviewed by Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE, CCCE

Intended to be a comprehensive resource for both consumers and birth professionals, Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth is an in-depth look at the incidence and impact of cesarean birth on mothers, babies, families, and society as well as an overview of prevention strategies. The final section of the book is about “why normal birth matters” and addresses changing the status quo. The Midwives Model of Care is reflected and promoted during the book and doulas also receive strong support.

I have two primary opinions of the book: The first is that I truly believe that Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth should become the “go to” book for current, evidence-based, thorough information about cesarean birth in the U.S. It is a treasure trove of information and any birth professional would be well advised to have a copy on their bookshelf. The second opinion is that the “heavy” subject, extremely in-depth information, academic writing style, and relatively high price, will likely keep this book out of the hands out of its primary intended audience—the consumer. The person who most needs to read this book is the first-time pregnant woman. However, the entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that there was only a slim likelihood of the average first-time mother being attracted to, or actually picking up this book, to read.

Mothers planning VBACs or seeking to understand their own cesarean birth experiences will probably find Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth to be a valuable resource. Birth activists will find clearly articulated and important information that they will wish to shout to the rooftops and I think that this is how the content in Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth has the best chance of truly reaching the women who need to hear its message.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth

  1. Pingback: More Birth Art! « Talk Birth

  2. So good to read your review and recommendation of this book.

    I need to keep up to date on current good reads related to pregnancy/birth, etc, and I’d always been told that “Silent Knife” is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject of cesareans. But the thing is, I don’t *love* that book. It was rich in information, statistics and the like, but I don’t believe that most lay-people are going to be drawn to it. Plus I think it focused so much on how to achieve a “pure birth,” rather than how to realistically equip the many mothers who are going to VBAC in a hospital. All this to say that I’ll have to definitely take a look at this one!

  3. Pingback: Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Awareness Month Round-Up | Talk Birth

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