Caesarean Recovery

Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy

Carroll and Brown 2004 ISBN 1 903258 72 3

This is a much needed book that addresses specifically the recovery needs of women who have a caesarean birth. It is beautifully presented and structured.

The author is the mother of two caesarean born boys. She is also the director of the London Academy of Personal Fitness and a qualified pre- and post-natal exercise instructor, although I had initially failed to find this information, as it is only on the back cover.

A progression of exercises are presented for different stages of recovery, from the first 24 hours, through to about 6 months postnatally. These are clearly explained and illustrated, with many of the pictures including the baby and some even incorporating the baby into the exercise.

Although there is much good coverage of caesareans, of the process, procedures and experiences, I do have a few niggles about some of the information in the book, some of which stem from lack of acknowledgment of the variation of experiences of caesarean mothers.

Not surprisingly the book tends to be very positive about caesareans, and fails to acknowledge that some women have difficult physical recoveries, that many women have this surgery unnecessarily, and that some can be very traumatised by events during or leading to the surgery. I am extremely pleased that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is acknowledged, but concerned that it is blamed on "intrusive procedures" and caesarean surgery, rather than the quality of care during these experiences.

There are other inaccuracies such as stating hospital birth is safer than homebirth, some of the breastfeeding pictures show poor positioning and some of the information feels as though it comes directly from an American text.

Overall though, I definitely recommend this book to caesarean women looking for a guide to physical recovery and especially those looking for post-caesarean exercises, but it would not be my book of choice for other caesarean information.

Reviewed by Debbie Chippington Derrick (2005)

This review first appeared in NCT New Digest, Edition 29, January 2005

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