Feature image BOOKCOVER
NATURAL PREGNANCY by Zita West.
This book begins with a very positive foreward from Kate Winslet, who used this book when she was pregnant herself.
This book became my bible when I was pregnant… Pregnany turned out to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, physically, mentally and emotionally. Zita’s suggestions for alternative remedies made all the difference.
As the title indicates, this book is all about natural birth and natural pregnancy.
The main focus of the book is to give you a brief and clear understanding of your alternative therapy options. These included meditation, visualisation, flower therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, massage, homeopathy, and diet and exercise advice.
My instincts, while currently wrestling with my own high-risk pregnancy, is to step away from the crazy flower lady.
I’m inclined to look at the smiling beauty on the cover with disdain. My own growing belly is covered in clexane bruises and sores and I am anxious all the time about everything.
But as I being to read, one thing is clear, Zita West is all about complementary medicine. She focuses on using alternative and natural therapies in conjunction with western doctors and midwives, for the best possible results during pregnancy.
This pregnancy book is not about stepping into a natural spring in the forest with an untrained midwife and howling at the moon. NATURAL PREGNANCY offers the reader clear and informed treatment options without negatively harping on western medicine, like a number of other books.
The book divided into seven main sections.
It starts at the natural beginning, Planning for Conception. If you have done even the slightest amount of research before falling pregnant, this chapter will come as no surprise. While mentioning that you should exercise ‘for the seasons’ – each seasonal recommendation seems to be a slight variation on yoga, tai chi or deep breathing.
It was also very clear that this wasn’t a book that you just sit down and ‘read’. The layout is more like a dictionary or reference book. It is a guide, that any pregnant woman or expecting father can keep coming back to as they need.
It’s hard to take it all in at once, and I am sure that was never the intention. Instead, it is the kind of book that will remain on my bedside table during the following months as I reread over chapters and look up remedies as I go There is no story or personal journey here.
The following sections; the First Trimester, the second Trimester, and the Third Trimester, are dedicated to the trimesters of pregnancy. The child’s development is clearly represented in each week, as well as common problems that may occur during this time. There is a focus on physical and emotional changes that occur during each trimester. The book has a strong focus on maternal happiness and health, with is lovely.
The Preparation for Labour section was probably the most interesting to read. I thought I knew everything there was to know about labour, as my three older sister’s have all gone through it and told stories on the other side, but I did not even know there were three stages of labour!
West highlights traps that might befall an unsuspecting woman in the hands of Western Medicine and she helps you to feel confident and informed. The labour chapters outline questions to ask your doctor in the lead up to the labour and also insightful tips to get through the labour as naturally as possible.
There are many things in this book that not even my sisters had warned me about.
What follows is a section on the Postnatal Period which includes depression, breastfeeding and caring for your perineum.
Finally, there is a broad complimentary therapies overview. The final section gives an overview of each of the natural therapies discussed in the book. It is just enough information to help you choose which of the therapies you might be interested in following further and which are most appropriate for you.
Despite my hesitations, this book turned out to be a wonderful bridge between natural pregnancy options and integrating natural therapies within western medicine. There was a good balance.
There is so little you can control during pregnancy, adoption a flower therapy approach put my busy mind to work, rather than worrying about everything else. I am currently looking for when I can buy angelica essences online, instead of stressing about a labour that is still months away, and that’s quite positive.
It clear, brief and to the point, at no point does this book treat you like an idiot. It is a quick, easy read. I book I’ll be going back to over and over, looking at the sections that are relevant at the time.
NATURAL PREGNANCY was published in Great Britan in 2001 by Dorling Kindersley, a Penguin Company.
Zita West is the author of a number of different pregnancy and fertility natural therapy books. ZITA WEST is a midwife and acupuncturist who has worked for many years in the UK, seeing thousands of women through their pregnancies. She states in the introduction that while pregnant, women are more likely to seek out and use natural therapies than at any other time in their lives. She is still practising, offering consultations within the UK.