Praise for Pushed
"Quietly deft storytelling...Excellent"
"A wry and pointed writer...No woman who is pregnant, has been pregnant, or plans to be pregnant should set foot inside the office of her ob/gyn before reading"
--Women's Review of Books
"This provocative, highly readable exposé raises questions of great consequence for anyone planning to have a baby in U.S., as well as those interested or involved in women's health care."
"An eye-opening, distressing, and ultimately empowering look at the very sorry state of contemporary maternity care...Pushed is ultimately a call to action, and its message is that a woman's right to choose shouldn't end when she decides not to terminate a pregnancy."
"The battle for a woman's right to choose has come a long way...[but] there's something else we as women need to be thinking about, something so intrinsic that it's been easily overshadowed by the red-hot abortion issue...Block has fearlessly pulled back the hospital curtain on the truth of what's really happening in the world of childbirth today... A must-read for anyone hoping to make an informed choice about bringing life into this world, Pushed is a fact-packed page-turner that will affix new meaning to the word 'birthright.'"
Were there ever any doubts as to the personal being political, this former editor at Ms. and editor of the revised Our Bodies, Ourselves convincingly lays them to rest in a gripping exposé of American obstetrics. With extensive field research and thorough historical contextualization, Block reveals some disturbing statistics in this country's birth management and shows how medical views of birth are as subject to change as the whims of fashion...Block shows that, in the United States, "well over half of labors are chemically induced or augmented," and "two-thirds of women have their water broken manually"; two years ago, nearly a third of women gave birth by cesarean section, and of those delivering vaginally, another third had an episiotomy.
Yet preterm births are rising, cerebral palsy rates
remain constant and "women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in
the United States than in Europe." Why? Because, Block argues, what's
deemed safe changes: "In the age of evidence-based medicine...care is
constrained and determined by liability and financial concerns, by a
provider's licensing regulations and malpractice insurance. The
evidence often has nothing to do with it." ...A provocative and hotly
controversial analysis of a side of reproductive rights feminism seems
to have forgot.
Hospital births today may mean continuous fetal
monitors, limited mobility, medications to manage labor, episiotomies,
and a good chance at a cesarean section, often with little opportunity
for the mother to express her own personal wishes. Why are so many
C-sections performed in the United States? How many, if any, birthing
choices are dependent on liability issues or convenience? What are the
possible consequences for low-risk mothers seeking a more natural
birthing experience in their own home? Block...asks all of these
questions and answers with a stirring discussion of reproductive
rights, informed consent, and the rights of the mother vs. the fetus.