Review & Giveaway: The Secrets of Birth by Kicki Hansard

It's no secret that I am fascinated by pregnancy and childbirth, you only have to take a look at my Beautiful Births section to see that I love to read all about it. My ideas, opinions and knowledge of birth have changed a lot since I was pregnant for the first time though. Before the arrival of my first baby, I assumed I had to do as I was told by my midwife and the obstetricians. So many of the books I read seemed to reinforce this idea. In hindsight I realised that actually, it's me that is in control, and it is me that can choose the kind of birth experience I want to have. This empowerment led to me getting the birth I really wanted with my second baby. 

Kicki Hansard is an award-winning birth and postnatal doula and she has been helping parents prepare for the arrival of their babies since 2002. As a mother of two herself, Kicki believes that childbirth is a completely normal event, that our bodies are more than capable of physiological birth, and that good support, knowledge and defined but flexible expectations can really make the difference. Kicki sent me a copy of her book, The Secrets of Birth, to review after discovering my keen interest in pregnancy and childbirth.

The book is split into eight chapters which include the "five secrets", taking you from pregnancy right through to starting life with a new baby. The book also includes chapters with Kicki's reflections on her experiences as a doula and several interesting birth stories, which as you know I just love to read. Each chapter is straight-forward and concise; Kicki has taken out all the fluff and presents us with evidence-based information in a clear and easy to read manner that is gentle and filled with kindness. Her aim is for you to feel informed, inspired and supported when it comes to your baby's birth and she does exactly that.

The Secrets of Birth is encouraging and empowering; it doesn't tell you what you should or shouldn't do, but instead teaches you what your body is capable of. Kicki reminds us that childbirth is a physiological event - not a medical one. Reading her book is like talking to a friend; the information is presented in a reassuring and encouraging way, and the tone is also firm, but warm, when needed. I enjoyed the emphasis on having a physiological birth, the important roles that hormones play, and the importance of skin-to-skin; these were all things that I knew virtually nothing about when I was pregnant for the first time. 

This is a really intriguing read for expectant parents and those with an interest in pregnancy and birth. It's also a great book for those of us who have been through childbirth already as I found it great to reflect back on my own experiences and I was left feeling positive and empowered - and slightly broody - by the end of it. 

You can buy The Secrets of Birth on Amazon and other bookstores, and you can find out more about Kicki Hansard and the book here. If you would like to win a signed copy of the book, simply complete one or more of the entries on the widget below. Good luck! UK residents only, ends 14/08/16, see T&CS here.

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