This aptly named resource for new mothers by a long-time British midwife is indeed like having a “midwife in your pocket.” Rather than delving into the more clinical and medical aspects of pregnancy and newborn care, the author provides an experienced midwife’s tips and common sense advice to help new mothers and their partners through the days and months before and after birth.
Author Emma Cook jumps right into the topic with advice on how soon to see a medical provider (between six and ten weeks) and the importance of taking folic acid supplements to provide support for the baby’s spine. Using anecdotes and tips from her long experience, Cook continues with calm, supportive suggestions focusing on pregnancy, the stages of labor and the days after a birth.
Along with covering topics like pain relief during childbirth or breast /bottle feeding, the author also discusses newer birthing techniques such as water births and aromatherapy. Many of her tips are surprising: Who would have thought, for example, that using the outer leaves of a chilled savoy cabbage as a kind of bra could soothe the sore breasts of a breastfeeding mom? Or that a spoonful of honey can sometimes prompt contractions when labor slows?
Each well-written chapter ends with a checklist of important advice. A valuable final chapter details the things that should be worried about, from infant feeding issues to excessive crying.
The text could use an edit for minor copyediting issues and to tighten some awkward sentence constructions. Also, non-British readers will find some unfamiliar spellings and terminology, such as “nappies” for diapers. But the basic information is applicable to all.
Overall, this is a useful, common sense guide. New mothers will find it a worthy go-to resource for learning about pregnancy and the early months of a newborn.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.