The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks By Milli Hill

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5 stars because it helped me to feel more prepared for giving birth, helped me to think through different options and helped me to write a birth-plan! Some of it felt a bit “out there”, but it was still very helpful and I’ve already started recommending it to other first time Mums. Nonfiction The author is extremely biased towards her personal opinion of what a birth should be like (home birth with no interventions). She says things like “if you are planning a hospital birth and are not a high risk pregnancy, I urge you to reconsider”, right after praising herself for not being biased. Another hint is that she dedicates 14 pages to the chapter “positive home birth”, while the “positive hospital birth” and “positive birth center birth” ones only deserved 4 pages each. Finally, when she said the guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK was not to be trusted because “it was not based on evidence but on a few Doctors opinions”, I knew it was time to put the book aside. Nonfiction This was given to me by my sister in law and it was so insightful and helpful on all aspects of pregnancy and birth, including writing a birth plan and knowing your rights. Not had the baby yet but I feel a lot more empowered having read this book! Nonfiction I read about half of this book, skim-read a bit, and then just gave up entirely. The author has only had home births and while it's fair enough that this was best for her, she pushes this on the reader to the point of being really judgey about anyone wanting to give birth in a hospital or even a midwife-led unit. Her tone is also quite fake-jolly while actually being quite alarmist, and overall there is far too much of her own opinion in this book and not enough balanced information. The only really good thing is the little diagrams/illustrations used in the sample birth plans. I'm glad that I had already read other books about pregnancy and birth as I really wouldn't recommend this as your only reading on the topic. There are a lot of other books out there that are more balanced and actually positive, rather than just this one woman and her opinions. I wrote a bit about this book on my blog here: Nonfiction If you're not having a perfect home birth I'd pass on this one.

I hated this book before I gave my birth, and I hate it even more after. I apologise if this turns into more of a rant that a review.

We started off on the wrong food when Ms Hill said that she would rather take castor oil than be induced. Uhm, no! Castor oil is dangerous and you're writing a book giving out advice to confused, vulnerable women!

Just so happened that I had to be induced as well because my baby decided it was to comfy inside me and wouldn't come out. To Milli Hill this is the worst thing that could ever happen. Oh no! Intervention! I should have waited and let baby come on its own! (Even though my baby was 9lbs when born, I don't even want to think about the possible weight if I'd have waited!) There are so many reasons for being induced when your overdue but Milli Hill says it's best to let nature takes it course.

She made me really anxious about the other possible interventions I'd need. That I'd probably have to have a cesararian, and not be able to get through without strong pain relief. Well guess what! I didn't have a cesararian and I managed on gas and air so it shows what Ms Hill knows.

This just was not the book for me. Too preachy, too hippy, and too scare-mongering. Nonfiction


Very informative and unbiased. It gives clear, non-judgmental information about all facets of pregnancy and birth. Must read for everyone looking to take charge of their births and “plan” for every scenario. Nonfiction I really needed to read this book. It is a powerful and reassuring read for when the most of your knowledge of pregnancy and childbirth comes from tv-shows, horror stories of mothers with negative experiences or in my case: hospitals. It shows you how natural and beautiful it is to be able to make a whole new person from scratch! And then give birth to it. Pregnancy is not a diagnosis, and most of the time, nature knows what to do. This book gives me the self-assurance to give birth at home with as little medical 'help' as possible .

The only downside to this book, in my opinion, is that it creates a kind of atmosphere where it seems like it is you and your baby against doctors. There is some nuance and it is explained, but the medical viewing point and how doctors think is a little overlooked. But still, I think this book is necessary and would recommend it to every woman who's a little scared of giving birth. Nonfiction Yes, I read a book about pregnancy and birth.
It was a Christmas gift from a friend, and I started reading it thinking I wasn't the kind of person for this kind of things, tbh. But actually I quite enjoyed the act of laying down in bed and relaxing with this little book. Until it irritated the shit out of me.

I found the first sections interesting and informative: birth rights, birth plans, the amazing idea of the visual birth plan (which I've now used!), and I appreciated she included birth plans and experieces for different kind of people and differend kind of births. But after that, when it actually came to talk in depth about the birth choices she was describing before... well.

The author wants you to have an unmedicated home birth. If you decide to have an epidural (for which she quotes multiple times the risk of permanent back damage, which is NOT TRUE), or pethidine, or even simple gas and air, you should be feeling like a failure. If you DECIDE to give birth in hospital, you are basically an idiot who's asking for forceps, which of course you should always refuse, no matter the reason why your obstetrician is actually advising you this way. If you go overdue, drink castor oil instead of being medically induced, or wait for nature to do its course, and it doesn't matter that castor oil a) doesn't work b) will only give you the runs c) it can be dangerous an d) waiting for nature to do its course can be a serious risk. If you then have a c-section, the gates of hell should open. She only considers the idea of a c-section as something someone can't choose in the freedom of their own adult mind. It is only considered as a second best option when nothing else can be done, and her whole chapter about it just naturally assumes this is going to be your mindset about it and that you are going to feel like a failure because you didn't get to be the birth goddess you were planning to.

Alright, lady.

At that point, I wanted to throw this thing out of the window. I will never understand this new tendency to disregard modern medicin, which has saved countless babies' and birthing people's lives. Everything nowadays is about home births, unmedicated, and possibly hands off, with no intervention of medical personell. I understand this might work for some. It worked for Milli Hill clearly. But there's a reason why parental and neonatal mortality are at a lowest this day and age. And ignoring it for the sake of feeling like a goddess is stupid. Plus, instilling in birthing people the idea that pain relief is something superfluous because labour shouldn't hurt is honestly fucking infuriating.
And that's it. Nonfiction I picked this up on a recommendation from a friend as she recently had a baby and read this as a primer. She swears by it and so it seemed a good start for me with pregnancy reading in general.
So, I'm glad I tried it, and although I think it's a little bit overly enthusiastic about home birth as the ideal, generally it's packed with useful information. I certainly think the ideas about advocating for yourself and being in the know about what's going on around you are vital and really good for women to understand. It also covers many of your rights and many scenarios from all sorts of women across the UK, both mothers and medical professionals. I certainly think it was enlightening on some topics I hadn't really thought of, and I think it's a well-narrated audiobook if you like to consume media that way.
Overall, a positive start to positive pregnancy reading, with a lot to look back on and learn from. I'm definitely interested to learn more from some other books to compare, but I think as a general positive start point this is a good one and I think it covers all sorts from pregnancy to beyond birth which is great. It's also pretty realistic on feelings and emotions and events, and I appreciated the normalising of some of the more scary bits of birth.
4*s Nonfiction I found that for a book that was supposed to be positive about all types of birth it was very negative about the kind I am likely to have.
If you have a high risk pregnancy she encourages you to push for a home birth with an independent midwife but you are expected to be traumatised by any intervention and the focus is on how to refuse it.
The section on caesarean was very negative and assumed that you would feel like a failure. The only reason anyone feels like a failure after having a caesarean is because of attitudes like this book. Lots of people choose to have an elective caesarean.
She is very dismissive about people who experience pain in labour. She suggests that even in the worst labour no one is in pain all the time. Just because she had 3 relatively easy births doesn't mean that everyone can.

Challenging negativity and fear of childbirth, and brimming with everything you need to know about labour, birth and the early weeks of parenting, The Positive Birth Book is the must-have guide for pregnant women. A widely acclaimed bestseller since it was first published, it has empowered hundreds of thousands of women worldwide to make informed, positive choices about their births.
Fully revised and updated, this new edition will help you work out what kind of birth you really want, and learn how to maximise your chances of getting it. The book’s trademark Visual Birth Plan icons can be downloaded for free to help you create a birth plan for every eventuality.
Written in Milli Hill’s trademark warm and witty style, discover vital information on everything from the truth about pain and what giving birth actually feels like, to your choices and rights in the birth room; from optimal cord clamping, to postnatal mental health; from the inside track on breastfeeding, to positive, gentle caesarean.
Whether you plan to have your baby in hospital, in a birth centre, at home or by elective caesarean, this essential, non-judgemental guide shows you how to raise your expectations and have the best possible birth experience.
New for this edition:
- How to plan for a positive birth in difficult times
- Reworked chapter on choosing where to have your baby
What you need to know about exercise in pregnancy from Charlie Launder, author of Bumps and Burpees
- Top tips for breastfeeding from Amy Brown, author of The Positive Breastfeeding Book
- New section on your rights in pregnancy and birth by Bashi Hazard of the Human Rights in Childbirth International Lawyers Network
- Essential information about your pelvic floor, core and postnatal incontinence by Nikki Bergen, creator of the Belle Method, and Luce Brett, author of PMSL The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks