“The Labor Progress Handbook: Early interventions to prevent and treat dystocia” book review

This book is for more than just doulas, as it is an excellent resource for all care providers of pregnant women and their partners.


As I read through the book, I had flashbacks to my own birth experiences and realized what was going on at that time. It raised questions as to what was going on during my own labor and deliveries that wasn’t explained well or at all to me. I would have benefited greatly from having a doula to explain what was happening to me in the rush of the nurses’ hustle.

Particularly, the quote in the book that stood out to me the most was,

“Doulas expand the mother’s options during labor and birth.”

That resonates with me. This book is my favorite as a doula. It gives a great description of the doula’s important role as it relates to the both the parents and the caregivers.

Labor and birth cannot be labeled as normal or abnormal until after the fact. We cannot know beforehand or during whether it’s normal or not.

The “tend-and-befriend” response was a completely new verbage to me, the first time I read this book. It was spot on exactly how I felt, especially during my first born’s birth. There is a particular way to help women who suffer from anxiety.

Pain versus suffering during labor

It’s not so much about how painful the process will be. It’s how will I react to the pain? How long will the pain last? Is there nothing we can do to manage the pain?

Some people don’t consider contractions painful, instead they call them surges, waves, or sensations. We’re reframing our thinking about birth and reconsidering what we think of as painful. What do you feel when you injure yourself, such as breaking an arm? Pain. On the other hand, contractions bring a baby down and out of the person’s body in waves. So, we remove the word “pain” out of the conversation so we can convince ourselves that it’s not pain, it’s our bodies moving with the tide. Just think about this for a moment. Are you open to the possibility?

Or, maybe you’re like me when I read this and was like OH YEAH OK SURE. Rolling my eyes at the thought. PUH-LEASE. Because, personally, I felt pain during all three of my births. Even though two of them, I had epidurals! But, I have a girlfriend who does not describe her natural birth as painful. So…think about it and let me know what you come up with. Maybe a different theory all together. I would love to hear what you think!


Let’s learn new coping skills.

Are you at a ninja level with your coping skills? If not, you need a doula.