CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Elkins, Valmai Howe.

Rev. 3rd ed. Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1985. 384pp, paper, $13.95, ISBN 0-88619-051-7.CIP

Reviewed by Gerri Young

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

This is "the book that changed hospital birth": first edition 1976, revised 1980, and completely revised and updated 1985. The author, Valmai Howe Elkins, designed Canada's first birthing-room program and is the obstetrical program director at McGiU's School of Physical and Occupational Therapy. Elkins is therefore eminently qualified to write about an "easier, healthier hospital birth." She has also written The Birth Report (Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1983), and is director of Birthworks, a Montreal childbirth education centre, and not only lectures, consults, and writes but has accompanied many women through childbirth. When first published in 1976, The Rights of the Pregnant Parent was considered essential reading for parents and childbirth educators, and was so successful it has been revised and expanded to include everything one needs to know about Ultra-Prepared Childbirth (UPC). It is also endorsed by the International Childbirth Education Association and La Leche League.

The author admits her bias, which is based on seventeen years as a childbirth educator, observing, accompanying, instructing, and listening to pregnant parents. She is convinced that the simplest, least medicated method of childbirth is normally best for mother, infant, and father, and obtainable with childbirth education and preparation. Ninety per cent of births are normal, and these can be made easier and sometimes pain-free by the UPC approach.

The childbirth of your choice, within hospital settings, is possible with the tools of information, conviction, and tact.The rights of pregnant parents are listed and explained, along with the responsibilities. Although she claims the rights should be available, the author advocates discussion and communication rather than demands. Elkins hopes her book will help to bridge any gap there may be between parents' rights and hospital rules and routines. The rights include the right to childbirth education, a supportive doctor, a healthy baby, shared birth, childbirth with dignity, family-centred maternity care, the childbirth you want, and the right to midwifery.

Many personal accounts by mothers and fathers sharing their feelings, ideas, and birth experiences make this book exciting reading. "Choices in Childbirth," listed at the back, are options from which to choose. There is also a glossary, index, and an excellent "Recommended Reading and Resources" section. Recommended for all public libraries and pregnant or about-to-be pregnant parents.

Gerri Young, Fort Nelson, B.C.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works