Book Review: Birth Day

Mark Sloan, M.D.
Ballantine Books, 2009
370 pages


I don't know if the fact that I'm pregnant is what caused me to pick this one off the library's "new releases" shelf, but I'm glad I did. Sloan's straight-forward style of writing, infused with anecdotes and moderate (often wry) humor, takes what could otherwise be a dry subject and turns it into a fascinating read.

The subtitle to the book explains the core of the material: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth. It may sound potential dull, or even gruesome, but Sloan understands the breadth of his potential audience and sticks mostly to really interesting facts. Topics include the growing trend in cesarean births, the history of anesthesia use in childbirth, as well as the history of the delivery room--as in, when did it become so vogue for dads to be present, and why? Additionally, Sloan discusses the differences between a fetus and a baby, and what happens in those key minutes at birth when one becomes the other. Reading about it, one can't help but have new found respect for the complexities of the human condition.

Would I have found Birth Day as interesting if I weren't expecting yet another wee one myself? I like to think so. In total, it's a quick, engrossing and fine read.

No comments: