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The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line

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Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually tran Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease? The Business of Baby, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism, exposes how our current cultural practices during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby’s life are not based on the best evidence or the most modern science, revealing how American moms and their babies are being undermined by corporate interests. An illuminating combination of meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, health care administrators, and scientists, Margulis’s impassioned and eloquent critique is shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory. The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants. About the Author: Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and a Schuster Institute Fellow at Brandeis University. She has worked in international development on a child survival campaign, and in interational human rights advocacy. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post,Smithsonian Magazine, Ms. magazine, More, Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, and The Walt Disney Internet Group. About the Narrator: Rebecca Jenkins is a is one of those rare multi-talented people who makes it all look effortless. As a Genie award-winning actor, Jenkins has had leading roles in numerous feature films and television shows throughout Canada and the U.S., performing alongside such stars as Kevin Spacey, Treat Williams, and Tim Robbins. As a singer, Rebecca has toured and recorded with Jane Siberry and The Parachute Club, recorded a jazz album, and garnered a Genie nomination for an original song "Something's Coming," featured in the film "Wilby Wonderful" in which she also had a lead role. As a voice artist Rebecca's distinctive voice can be heard as narrator of several documentary films, most recently the award winning "Bone Wind Fire," and in numerous advertising campaigns.


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Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually tran Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease? The Business of Baby, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism, exposes how our current cultural practices during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby’s life are not based on the best evidence or the most modern science, revealing how American moms and their babies are being undermined by corporate interests. An illuminating combination of meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, health care administrators, and scientists, Margulis’s impassioned and eloquent critique is shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory. The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants. About the Author: Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and a Schuster Institute Fellow at Brandeis University. She has worked in international development on a child survival campaign, and in interational human rights advocacy. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post,Smithsonian Magazine, Ms. magazine, More, Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, and The Walt Disney Internet Group. About the Narrator: Rebecca Jenkins is a is one of those rare multi-talented people who makes it all look effortless. As a Genie award-winning actor, Jenkins has had leading roles in numerous feature films and television shows throughout Canada and the U.S., performing alongside such stars as Kevin Spacey, Treat Williams, and Tim Robbins. As a singer, Rebecca has toured and recorded with Jane Siberry and The Parachute Club, recorded a jazz album, and garnered a Genie nomination for an original song "Something's Coming," featured in the film "Wilby Wonderful" in which she also had a lead role. As a voice artist Rebecca's distinctive voice can be heard as narrator of several documentary films, most recently the award winning "Bone Wind Fire," and in numerous advertising campaigns.

30 review for The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    This books seeks to expose the unsavory underbelly of the medical world and address the realities of giving birth in the US. It tries - and raises a few good points in the process. Unfortunately, those points are very quickly hidden under a mountain of sensationalist fear-mongering. Often times, the author seems to use a legitimate source to pump out a single valid sentence, and then spend the next several paragraphs twisting it into the most negative light possible or jumping to ridiculous conc This books seeks to expose the unsavory underbelly of the medical world and address the realities of giving birth in the US. It tries - and raises a few good points in the process. Unfortunately, those points are very quickly hidden under a mountain of sensationalist fear-mongering. Often times, the author seems to use a legitimate source to pump out a single valid sentence, and then spend the next several paragraphs twisting it into the most negative light possible or jumping to ridiculous conclusions. The end result is that the reader is left when the message that every individual in the medical community is out to get you, literally everything involved with birthing babies is nothing but an excuse for companies to extort as much of your money as possible, and all mothers (save from the select few the author uses to support her stance) are blind to the world. Skip this book. The few pieces of legitimate information it does have aren't worth the effort of wading through the ridiculously one-sided viewpoint. There are plenty of other sources that address the same issues while allowing the reader/viewer to make their own informed decisions instead of attempting to scare them into compliance.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Oh boy. This book is infuriating and dangerous. It starts off well enough, with a look into how doctors' lack of nutrition education can adversely affect the way they treat their patients. But things go off the rails -- and stay off -- in chapter two when Margulis begins suggesting that fetal ultrasounds might cause autism. (A quick Google of the available literature showed me that this theory has no real basis in science.) Infuriatingly, Margulis quotes extensively from a single doctor whose pe Oh boy. This book is infuriating and dangerous. It starts off well enough, with a look into how doctors' lack of nutrition education can adversely affect the way they treat their patients. But things go off the rails -- and stay off -- in chapter two when Margulis begins suggesting that fetal ultrasounds might cause autism. (A quick Google of the available literature showed me that this theory has no real basis in science.) Infuriatingly, Margulis quotes extensively from a single doctor whose pet theory this seems to be, and his explanation sounds just plausible enough to the moderately science-literate reader who doesn't know otherwise. This is fear-mongering, plain and simple. The book really careened further off the rails from then on. She repeatedly villainizes doctors (while, somehow, lauding medical malpractice lawyers!) and shares stories of oh-so-brave parents who went against the establishment, like the woman who decided not to see a pediatrician with her fourth child -- instead, she goes to a chiropractor "trained in nutrition and homeopathy" (p. 240). Yup, you know, a NON-MEDICALLY-TRAINED chiropractor who uses a 100% bullshit approach (homeopathy) to treat patients. I dog-eared many pages to use as examples of the anti-science bias Margulis espouses, but I'm frankly too frustrated to really go into all of them. Some highlights: * A constant fear of chemicals (especially those unpronounceable ones!) and an immediate decrying of anything chemical-based instead of "natural," with no acknowledgment that CHEMICALS ARE NATURAL * A complete disregard for the manifold reasons women don't exclusively breastfeed, especially the simple fact that many women don't have the luxury of taking much maternity leave and that pumping is not practical; she even mentions that not having a kid in daycare for her first 12 months is ideal (this is a larger issue with the book, which nearly completely erases women who live in poverty and simply don't have access to many of her recommendations) * An absolutely infuriating tendency to share a single (usually frightening) anecdote and end it with a few very leading rhetorical questions (e.g. a tale about a woman who has a friend whose dog ate a disposable diaper and died, with the conclusion that diapers are toxic and how could any parent want a dog-killing bag of toxins near their newborn's skin?! She conveniently ignores the real cause of death, which was the fact that the diaper expanded in the dog's stomach and caused a blockage (p. 179).) * The all-too-predictable anti-vaccine bias, wherein she all but tells parents that it's totally fine to ignore make their own decisions about vaccines and to go against medical advice when it feels right. Of course, she also blames autism on vaccines, conveniently ignoring the fact that she already told us it's caused by ultrasounds. (Extra infuriatingly, she has a section about how sad it is that parents who don't vaccinate get bullied -- isn't it terrible that they get called selfish and that they're taking advantage of the herd?! Tellingly, this is her only reference to herd immunity -- she conveniently sees fit not to mention it and why it's important.) * A constant confusion of correlation with causation (a classic hallmark of a scientifically bereft book) It's truly a pity that Margulis fell prey to so much anti-science bullshit woo, because she has some solid points to make. Her arguments against product placement in hospitals/doctor's offices are on the mark, and there were some valuable takeaways for me in her section on circumcision. I also believe there is something to the arguments that too many interventions end up having negative outcomes, and that many low-risk women would benefit from giving birth in a birth center rather than a traditional hospital setting. But I cannot recommend a book that endorses not vaccinating your children. Nope. The fact that she uses personal sob stories as evidence for this decision is irresponsible and inexcusable, as is this book as a whole.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Although I agree with some of the premises, this book was a little too close-minded for me. And too anecdotal. I don't care that "Susan, a mother of four" feels like her 4th child that she didn't vaccinate got sick less and never had ear infections. I could have done with less of the opinions and more science. I hated the tone. Trust me, I don't think doctors are infallible and I consider ob's to be poorly trained in many aspects. But I don't think doctors or out to get me or intentionally sabot Although I agree with some of the premises, this book was a little too close-minded for me. And too anecdotal. I don't care that "Susan, a mother of four" feels like her 4th child that she didn't vaccinate got sick less and never had ear infections. I could have done with less of the opinions and more science. I hated the tone. Trust me, I don't think doctors are infallible and I consider ob's to be poorly trained in many aspects. But I don't think doctors or out to get me or intentionally sabotaging my breast feeding because a similar rep buys lunch for their office... And can I mention that I hate the scare tactics? Can we have an open discussion about the merits of vaccines without the mostly unsubstantiated horror stories of parents who vaccinate their kids? What about the horror stories of newborns dying from whooping cough? Totally unbalanced and fear-inducing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James

    Investigative journalism covering several topics in pregnancy, birth and baby care, showing how the other industrialized countries achieve better results than we do in the US, because in the US profit motives have overruled the best practices. Foreskins being sold for profit after circumcisions, promoting diapers for 5-year-olds to boost sales, C-sections to save OBs time, everything that's a mess about American baby culture is in here, viewed globally as a blind wasteful system with other prior Investigative journalism covering several topics in pregnancy, birth and baby care, showing how the other industrialized countries achieve better results than we do in the US, because in the US profit motives have overruled the best practices. Foreskins being sold for profit after circumcisions, promoting diapers for 5-year-olds to boost sales, C-sections to save OBs time, everything that's a mess about American baby culture is in here, viewed globally as a blind wasteful system with other priorities than the baby's best interest. Recommended for those interested in investigative journalism on US healthcare, and for parents or those considering becoming parents.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Keisha McKinney

    The Business of Baby is a very eye opening book into many hot topics that parents face today. I found the book to be informative without pushing an agenda. The author gives information about various subjects like childbirth, circumcision, vaccinations, and potty training without saying this is absolutely what you should be doing as a parent. As the author states we need to educate ourselves and make the best decisions we can for our families. I highly recommend this book to parents and expecting The Business of Baby is a very eye opening book into many hot topics that parents face today. I found the book to be informative without pushing an agenda. The author gives information about various subjects like childbirth, circumcision, vaccinations, and potty training without saying this is absolutely what you should be doing as a parent. As the author states we need to educate ourselves and make the best decisions we can for our families. I highly recommend this book to parents and expecting parents.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I'm honestly not sure how I feel about a bunch of stuff in this book. There's a bunch of stuff that I agree with, and made me feel rather horrified on behalf of people who were not as privileged in their birth experiences as I was. There's also a bunch of science, especially related to vaccines, that I'm deeply skeptical of. The fact that I feel that a lot of the statistics that end each chapter are deeply manipulative isn't helping. On the side of things that made me even more pleased with my ex I'm honestly not sure how I feel about a bunch of stuff in this book. There's a bunch of stuff that I agree with, and made me feel rather horrified on behalf of people who were not as privileged in their birth experiences as I was. There's also a bunch of science, especially related to vaccines, that I'm deeply skeptical of. The fact that I feel that a lot of the statistics that end each chapter are deeply manipulative isn't helping. On the side of things that made me even more pleased with my experiences so far as a mom--I really, really like my OB and pediatrician. I happened to give birth on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, despite not actually living there, and being in a very progressive and privileged community really made a difference, I think. My OB's practice and my hospital take an aggressively non-interventionist standpoint and recommended that I go with the drug-free birth I'd wanted in the first place, not wanting to step in unless necessary. (I ended up drugged to the gills for high blood pressure after a brush with pre-eclampsia, but that was after delivery and mostly beside the point.) Say what you will about Bloomburg's nanny-state, but I really appreciated the fact that the nurses were not allowed to give infants formula unless a parent specifically requested it, and that they were all incredibly supportive, certified lactation consultants. In short, the first few chapters of this book are mostly horror stories about conveyor belt hospitals inducing labor and forcing C-sections for their own convenience, and then convincing parents not to breastfeed out of outdated notions. I knew that this happened elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for the doctors and nurses I had who tried really hard to get my kid started in life with a minimum of medical intervention. But the later chapters, I'm not as sure about. There's a bunch of concern about vaccines, for starters. She phrases some of the argument well--babies are getting way more vaccines than I did when I was a kid, there aren't longitudinal studies for the effects of combined vaccines, and vaccine timing is geared towards protecting herd immunity more than an individual baby. Babies' immune systems probably would handle vaccines better a year or two later, but doctors don't think parents will bring their kids back for regular vaccinations after the first year of well baby visits. But some of her arguments don't fully hold water. She brings up the autism thing, which from everything I've read is fully discredited. She asks why Hep B is the first vaccine they get, when babies don't have sex or use needles, but earlier in the book cites reduced Hep B transmission as a positive for other more natural methods--if it's not a danger, why care? Also, her argument against rotavirus vaccination is that kids who are exclusively breastfed and aren't in daycare are unlikely to get rotavirus. Well, I agree that in a perfect world, my kid would be exclusively breastfed and at home with me all the time. Unfortunately, I'm underproducing and so he either gets some formula or starves. (Yes, I've tried all the pills/pumping/skin-to-skin you could ask for. I'm doing my best. It's not quite good enough. Welcome to the world, kid--I'll try for you, but I'm not perfect.) And since I live in the US, our work policies just aren't good enough for me to take a year off and not blow up my career. So you know what? My kid needs a rotavirus vaccine. So on the issues I don't know enough about--is J&J's body wash really that bad? If my kid doesn't eat his diapers, does it really matter that the liner that never touches his skin might be toxic?--I'm not sure how I feel. I wish I had the knowledge to actually make judgement calls, but that would require doing a bunch of scientific studies I don't think anyone actually has done (or can ethically do). So now I'm mostly just adding to the giant pile of worry that comes with being a parent.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    There were chapters of this book that were interesting--in particular the one on circumcision and on disposable and cloth diapers. However, a lot of the stories are anecdotal and like "What to expect when you are expecting", it had an overall feeling that everyone is out to get the new mom and preying on her anxiety. Apparently, no one is in the field of pediatrics and obstetrics for the right reasons. That is just not the case and I would have liked to see less of a one-sided perspective as I m There were chapters of this book that were interesting--in particular the one on circumcision and on disposable and cloth diapers. However, a lot of the stories are anecdotal and like "What to expect when you are expecting", it had an overall feeling that everyone is out to get the new mom and preying on her anxiety. Apparently, no one is in the field of pediatrics and obstetrics for the right reasons. That is just not the case and I would have liked to see less of a one-sided perspective as I might have believed more of what she said.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This should be a must read for anyone considering parenthood for the first, second or whatever time. I typically do not read non-fiction from cover to cover, rather skimming and picking and choosing certain chapters/topics - I read this cover to cover word by word. The Business of Baby is a fabulous piece of investigative journalism that is highly readable - a near perfect mesh of science and story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Murray

    This book was extremely well done! Margulis does her research which shows in the endless endnotes contained in the book. It gives a great picture of where America is in relation to the rest of the world when it comes pregnancy, birth, and infancy. A great read for any mama to give some alternatives to the mainstream directions forced in society today.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kimmy

    Couldn't bear to finish this one sided non-scientific crap. Spare yourself and check out Expecting Better. Actual data in that book. Couldn't bear to finish this one sided non-scientific crap. Spare yourself and check out Expecting Better. Actual data in that book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth Woodward

    I am for & wanted to like the content of this book, but its presentation was unbalanced & hot-headed. I felt discouraged from making my own conclusions & decisions because it leaned dangerously far in one direction--a tiring drumbeat for an entire book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Clare

    Absolutely fantastic! If you are having a baby or thinking of having a baby or think you might have a baby sometime in your life, you have to read this book. Be informed about your choices.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maria Rickert

    I cried when I read Jennifer Margulis’s book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line. I wish it had been around and I had read it 9-1/2 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son. This book made me wish that I could have a mulligan for having my sons. Perhaps my older son wouldn’t have gone into fetal distress during my labor with him after the doctor broke my water. Pe I cried when I read Jennifer Margulis’s book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line. I wish it had been around and I had read it 9-1/2 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son. This book made me wish that I could have a mulligan for having my sons. Perhaps my older son wouldn’t have gone into fetal distress during my labor with him after the doctor broke my water. Perhaps he wouldn’t have had meconium in his lungs and had an APGAR of 5/9. Perhaps I wouldn’t have almost had an emergency C-section. Perhaps he wouldn’t have had so many of the health issues that I’ve recovered him from, most notably Sensory Processing Disorder, and other problems like severe developmental delays. When I was on the way to becoming a new parent, I was like most people out there, who assume that doctors and the healthcare system are looking out for us and have our best interests at heart. Jennifer (Dr. Margulis, PhD) shows us how this just isn’t so. She shows us how pharmaceutical companies and medical-insurance companies are not only shaping for the worse what our healthcare choices are but also how there is a revolving door between them and federal government that drives federal healthcare policy. You and I are looked at as long-term profit centers by the healthcare industry. Food and prevention don’t make a lot of profit, so they’re ignored. I love Jennifer’s quote, “You won’t see a farmer going to a doctor’s office with free kale in the hopes of getting pregnant patients hooked”. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor as well as the Media Director for Epidemic Answers and their Canary Kids Project. My goal is to teach people how to become advocates for their and their children’s health by educating them to think for themselves and continue to ask questions. This book will give you the knowledge and the confidence to stand up to medical authority figures, whom we automatically assume know more about our baby’s well-being than we parents do. They don’t. You do. You are the parent. You spend 24 hours a day with that baby. You know him or her better than anyone. Educate yourself, and one of the ways to do so is by reading this book. In this book, you’ll discover how many of the common practices in pregnancy, childbirth and infant care are driven, many times without safety studies, to keep you and your baby as a profit center. You’ll learn what I believe is a fair and balanced approach to issues (I’ve spent a lot of time researching these issues myself) such as: Ultrasound monitoring Fetal monitoring during labor The role of midwifery Fetal induction and its role in emergency Cesarean sections Cesarean sections and why the rate has risen to 33% from 5% Cord clamping Newborn bathing Circumcision Formula feeding vs. breastfeeding Plastic diapers vs. cloth diapers vs. no diapers Infant pottying Vaccinations Many of these (with the exception of midwifery and infant pottying) are standard practice because they make it more convenient and efficient for the medical system (read: higher profit), not because they lead to a healthier outcome for the mother and baby. If they do, then why does the United States rank so low when it comes to maternal and infant mortality? Dr. Margulis also show us how many of these practices lead to long-term health problems, which creates a virtuous cycle for the heathcare industry, particularly pharmaceutical companies. The book is an easy and enjoyable read because it’s peppered with real-world stories and interviews of both parents and doctors, yet it’s not a fluffy book. It’s loaded with facts and arguments that will help you understand both sides of the story so that you can make your own informed opinion. I highly recommend this book, especially to women who are considering getting pregnant or who are pregnant. Be sure to join me on January 29th, 2014 at 1:00pm as I interview Jennifer Margulis about this book. You can sign up here: https://xn123.infusionsoft.com/app/pa...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    I saw that documentary The Business of Being Born a while ago and liked a lot of what that had to say. This book is basically the same idea, just with a lot more detail. The negative reviews are kind of funny to me, how people are trying to make this lady look like a totally extreme anti-vaccine and alternative medicine hippie or something. There's no chakra alignment techniques or recommendations to send out waves of positive vibrations so you'll receive some yourself or anything. Acupuncture g I saw that documentary The Business of Being Born a while ago and liked a lot of what that had to say. This book is basically the same idea, just with a lot more detail. The negative reviews are kind of funny to me, how people are trying to make this lady look like a totally extreme anti-vaccine and alternative medicine hippie or something. There's no chakra alignment techniques or recommendations to send out waves of positive vibrations so you'll receive some yourself or anything. Acupuncture gets a couple brief mentions and one person she interviewed says she gave homeopathy a try, but she doesn't even bother to give an opinion about its efficacy (my own personal opinion is that it's complete bullshit, of course). A lot of what she advocates fits with holistic medicine, which for some reason people tend to put in the same category as homeopathy even though it makes perfect sense. Most of the "anti-vaccine" stuff is just a call for spacing them out, removing toxic preservatives and forgoing the ones that are undeniably unnecessary, basically following a more European approach. She is pretty sympathetic towards parents who choose not to vaccinate at all though, which I think is totally irresponsible right now, but she doesn't seem to be pushing for that herself. And it's the same with most other topics of discussion in here, like limiting scans (not totally rejecting them) and trying to keep drug prescriptions to a minimum, etc. Most of it really should just be common sense to anyone who actually takes the time to think about this stuff. All she's really saying is that for-profit medicine has screwed up incentives that are causing a ton of stupid problems that we shouldn't be putting up with. My own views on the other hand are pretty extreme. I see modern medicine as inherently unsustainable and as something that will need to be totally phased out eventually. When studying simpler cultures, especially those that still exist alongside globalization and PCBs and shit, their only genuine drawbacks (as opposed to the ridiculous concerns that those in the first world have about giving such a lifestyle a try) are infant mortality and lack of inoculation. So even I don't advocate totally rejecting all shots and all high-tech crap outright. Until we get the majority of humans into lower population densities and spending pretty much their entire lives in their own locality stopping all vaccination would be disastrous, and probably still less than ideal even when that is achieved to be honest. Things like infant and maternal mortality rates wouldn't have to be as bad as they were before microscopes allowed us to see micro-organisms though. Even just understanding the benefit of washing hands before birth has made an enormous difference and that's not exactly too complex a concept to teach by word of mouth. I'm also of the opinion that, as horrible as it may sound, a lot of people who are reproducing shouldn't be. Not based on racial reasons or my own personal aesthetic preferences like the eugenics assholes but more because we're seeing the same problems in humans that we created in domesticated animals, like the inability to give birth without surgery, parents losing their parenting instincts and just allowing strangers to do whatever they want to their offspring (like chickens that don't put up a fight when their eggs are snatched), etc. So obviously this book doesn't go as far as I would, nor does any book on any subject really, but from the line of reasoning that most people follow nothing should be considered all that extreme if you listen to what she's saying rather than make a bunch of assumptions every time some trigger word comes up.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Battistella

    Jennifer Margulis’s The Business of Baby is an interesting, complicated and ambitious critique of the US heathcare system touching on everything from vitamins to C-sections, circumcision, ultrasounds, breastfeeding, vaccine schedules, and diapers. The author is an advocate of natural birth and parenting, and the exposition blends passionate advocacy with dogged investigation (62 pages of footnotes). The research is impressive, both in terms of the work reviewed and the interviews from dozens of Jennifer Margulis’s The Business of Baby is an interesting, complicated and ambitious critique of the US heathcare system touching on everything from vitamins to C-sections, circumcision, ultrasounds, breastfeeding, vaccine schedules, and diapers. The author is an advocate of natural birth and parenting, and the exposition blends passionate advocacy with dogged investigation (62 pages of footnotes). The research is impressive, both in terms of the work reviewed and the interviews from dozens of practitioners. Still, this will be a frustrating book for some MDs, who may feel defensive. It will be a frustrating book for some parents too, who may feel their choices are criticized. There are few heroes and a lot of sad stories. Does the book have a position? Yes, it’s investigation plus advocacy. The goal is to provoke readers to challenge the status quo. Does the author attempt too much? Maybe (note the length of the subtitle), but that’s the risk of a big, ambitious project like this, and a risk worth taking. I came away convinced that the healthcare system for mothers and newborns is not doing its job and wanting to know more about each of the topics, many of which I had not given much thought to in the past. The book has provoked strong reactions, including an attempted shout-down from the New York Times. My advice: read the book. And ask yourself these questions—what sources are cited, whose stories are told, what experts are quoted, what perspectives are explored? I found plenty of medical evidence and MDs and other health care professionals interviewed. For example, in a four-page stretch at the beginning of chapter, there are 32 notes, including many to such sources as the British Medical Journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology, JAMA, the Journal of Perinatal Education, and more. It’s a book to be read with an open mind and a pen in your hand, not flipped through at the beach or dismissed because it make you uncomfortable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Harriet

    Margulis has clearly done a lot of research and has brought together important ideas that most parents are unaware of. I say "brought together" because, although she presents them as if they're new, nothing here is really new. But Margulis does a good job of synthesizing, and that's important. But her biases get in the way, especially as the book progresses. I stopped believing her anecdotes, or at least giving them much credence, because they were so one-sided and melodramatic. I'd be more incli Margulis has clearly done a lot of research and has brought together important ideas that most parents are unaware of. I say "brought together" because, although she presents them as if they're new, nothing here is really new. But Margulis does a good job of synthesizing, and that's important. But her biases get in the way, especially as the book progresses. I stopped believing her anecdotes, or at least giving them much credence, because they were so one-sided and melodramatic. I'd be more inclined to believe the points she clearly so passionately believes in if they weren't crammed down my throat in hyperbolic language. I had to put the book down when I came to a sentence reading, in part, "now we know what causes autism." Um, no we don't. We have more theories than we used to. We have some ideas. But we don't know--and we certainly don't "know" that vaccines are implicated. Is Margulis aware that the researcher who first claimed to find a connection between vaccines and autism later admitted to falsifying his data? That correlation does NOT imply causation? I was willing to go along for the ride until this point; I had midwives for my first birth, breastfed my kids for years, and am generally not in favor of the business of birthing as it's done here. But if you're going to write about something scientific, at least make an effort to tell all sides of the story, and to present what we know accurately. Despite the many elements of this book that I did like, I think ultimately it fails, more of a screed--though a well-researched one--than a really dispassionate look at a very serious issue.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I wholeheartedly agree that corporations are altogether too involved in most aspects of American life. Their presence in our healthcare system is not a surprise to me, and I generally agreed with the author's stance on many of the issues that she was trying to bring to light. Our maternal/fetal healthcare system is shady, no doubt in my mind. However, the preaching was a bit too preachy and dramatic. I'm not sure I remember a single story in this book about nursing staff that didn't somehow invol I wholeheartedly agree that corporations are altogether too involved in most aspects of American life. Their presence in our healthcare system is not a surprise to me, and I generally agreed with the author's stance on many of the issues that she was trying to bring to light. Our maternal/fetal healthcare system is shady, no doubt in my mind. However, the preaching was a bit too preachy and dramatic. I'm not sure I remember a single story in this book about nursing staff that didn't somehow involve the medical professional "narrowing their eyes in anger" when the patient asked a question or expressed an opinion of their own. I vividly recall both of my own hospital birthing experiences. Neither demonstrated any evidence that the hospital staff were mean or cruel. Some of them were kind of dumb and frequently they blindly followed hospital protocol without questioning. Often they were more than willing to do something different, if I bothered to ask. So the heavy-handed language used in this book made me narrow my eyes in irritation more than once, despite the fact that I agree with many of the general premises. What finally made me close the book (before I was done) was this sentence, in the middle of the author's evisceration of the use of Rotavirus vaccine: "Yet infants who are exclusively breastfed and do not attend daycare have very little risk of catching rotavirus in their first year of life, when the disease is most serious." Oh, sure lady. I'll just quit my job and stay home so I don't have to send my kids to daycare. Jerk. Condescending jerk. End rant.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A vitally important book to read for: 1. Any woman who ever plans to have a baby 2. Any person who plans to be a parent (male or female) 3. Any person who plans to support a woman when she is either pregnant, laboring, or caring for a baby I was often sick to my stomach reading this book. I had to take it in small doses and couldn't read more than a chapter or two at a time. I knew most of it already but to see the awfulness of how we care for pregnant women and babies all in one place was almost mo A vitally important book to read for: 1. Any woman who ever plans to have a baby 2. Any person who plans to be a parent (male or female) 3. Any person who plans to support a woman when she is either pregnant, laboring, or caring for a baby I was often sick to my stomach reading this book. I had to take it in small doses and couldn't read more than a chapter or two at a time. I knew most of it already but to see the awfulness of how we care for pregnant women and babies all in one place was almost more than I could take. I'm glad our family has escaped much of it. Clearly this author has an agenda (to show that the system is totally messed up) but her research is well documented and even if you don't buy every word of her argument, it's hard to escape the reality that birth is big business and that the USA has higher infant and maternal mortality rates that basically all of the developed world and much of the developing world. Clearly, something needs to change. (And in the interests of full disclosure, I agree with her agenda 100%.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sonja Ferrell

    I never write here for reviews, however, I teared up 2 times just reading intro and first 3 pages so I put the book down because it was upsetting me too much. The main point of the book is that parents need to do their own research and that basically every mainstream company, obgyn, and pediatrician is giving you unsound advice. SO, it freaked me out to the point that I used the same analogy that I use for scary movies, if I am not enjoying this and I am going to have nightmares why don't I just I never write here for reviews, however, I teared up 2 times just reading intro and first 3 pages so I put the book down because it was upsetting me too much. The main point of the book is that parents need to do their own research and that basically every mainstream company, obgyn, and pediatrician is giving you unsound advice. SO, it freaked me out to the point that I used the same analogy that I use for scary movies, if I am not enjoying this and I am going to have nightmares why don't I just shut it off? (By the way the part that made me tear up was about two separate incidences where mothers died in childbirth and, from the author's perspective, both were likely because of dr. error or because they had unneeded procedures. As someone who had a last minute, "emergency," c-section I just couldn't read any further. Probably a necessary book, but not one I am going to finish.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    This book was pretty awesome. I like the time honored investigative bent of "follow the money." If you follow the money you will get to the reason for some of the stupid things done to mothers/parents and children in the US. I found the comparison of vaccine schedules from the US to countries in Europe enlightening but I can't bring myself to deny the polio vaccine to my children. Maybe it's because my parents are older than other mothers with children my age but my mother was a sickly child and This book was pretty awesome. I like the time honored investigative bent of "follow the money." If you follow the money you will get to the reason for some of the stupid things done to mothers/parents and children in the US. I found the comparison of vaccine schedules from the US to countries in Europe enlightening but I can't bring myself to deny the polio vaccine to my children. Maybe it's because my parents are older than other mothers with children my age but my mother was a sickly child and knew kids with polio. Those stories are horrible. I worked with a woman who had polio and even though her symptoms were gone for something like 40 years they came back. Oh well I'd write more but it's the boy's bedtime.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie Williams

    A brilliant book that should be read by all parents. Anyone thinking doctors and Big Medico are putting the patient and child first should think again! In a "for-profit" system of health care like in the USA this is wishful thinking. Almost every page made some eye-opening, and well documented points. I was astonished at the risks from ultra sound ( I had previously believed there were none), the fear-mongering by doctors to maximise doctor visits and medical tests, or the outlandish basis circu A brilliant book that should be read by all parents. Anyone thinking doctors and Big Medico are putting the patient and child first should think again! In a "for-profit" system of health care like in the USA this is wishful thinking. Almost every page made some eye-opening, and well documented points. I was astonished at the risks from ultra sound ( I had previously believed there were none), the fear-mongering by doctors to maximise doctor visits and medical tests, or the outlandish basis circumcision is pushed. In short, this book gives a compelling account of how the natural process of childbirth has become "medicalised" by the medical profession in order to make large incomes at the expense of the mother and the child.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amber Launstein

    So good!! Lots of great information on the money made behind the scenes of American hospitals and with corporations. I learned so much, including how drug or formula or diaper companies can subconsciously sway new parents just by offering samples at clinics or sending doctors to conferences free of charge or simply just by bringing donuts in the middle of the night to the labor and delivery unit. I really liked how she ended each chapter with a monetary breakdown based on what the hospital would So good!! Lots of great information on the money made behind the scenes of American hospitals and with corporations. I learned so much, including how drug or formula or diaper companies can subconsciously sway new parents just by offering samples at clinics or sending doctors to conferences free of charge or simply just by bringing donuts in the middle of the night to the labor and delivery unit. I really liked how she ended each chapter with a monetary breakdown based on what the hospital would make vs how much it cost to choose a natural option. I would recommend for any parent to be or new parent!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Curious after hearing from a nurse friend that the common practice of having women deliver babies in bed is more for the doctor's convenience than best practice. I wondered what else might be amiss. There are some interesting things to consider in this book, but I don't appreciate the sensationalist approach that the author takes by focusing on extreme examples. I have the feeling that she has an agenda against what she perceives as the birth industry's agenda, which is almost equally as unsavor Curious after hearing from a nurse friend that the common practice of having women deliver babies in bed is more for the doctor's convenience than best practice. I wondered what else might be amiss. There are some interesting things to consider in this book, but I don't appreciate the sensationalist approach that the author takes by focusing on extreme examples. I have the feeling that she has an agenda against what she perceives as the birth industry's agenda, which is almost equally as unsavory.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tara Deland

    Incredibly eye-opening book. I was aware of the breastfeeding versus infant formula issue and the finer points of the vaccination debate; however, I was not aware of some of the other topics like the difference in rates of cesarean sections between birth attended by midwives versus in hospitals with OBs and the diaper/potty training issues. I recommended it to my brother and his wife and will continue to recommend this book to any expecting mother.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lizzette

    Loved this book, it was bits of information I had come across in various articles and references and then some all combined into one book. I wish I had known more of this before I had my first child but you can only make decisions based on what you know. As I continue to learn, I make better choices and despite going against the norm, the information given in the book will truly help to make you a more informed consumer and think of the "why" behind some of the advice our ob/gyn's give us. Loved this book, it was bits of information I had come across in various articles and references and then some all combined into one book. I wish I had known more of this before I had my first child but you can only make decisions based on what you know. As I continue to learn, I make better choices and despite going against the norm, the information given in the book will truly help to make you a more informed consumer and think of the "why" behind some of the advice our ob/gyn's give us.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    my favorite book so far that presents an overall presentation of issues face today that may not be accurate but socially acceptable. The author brought up issues I hadn't heard discussed before, like cloth diapers, as well as issues that are circulating today, like vaccinations. I plan to have my mother read this book when I get pregnant so that she will understand where I'm coming from with some of my decisions. my favorite book so far that presents an overall presentation of issues face today that may not be accurate but socially acceptable. The author brought up issues I hadn't heard discussed before, like cloth diapers, as well as issues that are circulating today, like vaccinations. I plan to have my mother read this book when I get pregnant so that she will understand where I'm coming from with some of my decisions.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Jennifer Margulis follows the money involved in the big business(es) surrounding having babies in the United States, and where the money leads isn't always pretty. This is the book I wish I'd had years ago when I was pregnant and having my six babies. It would have save me a lot of grief and a lot of money. Highly recommend. Jennifer Margulis follows the money involved in the big business(es) surrounding having babies in the United States, and where the money leads isn't always pretty. This is the book I wish I'd had years ago when I was pregnant and having my six babies. It would have save me a lot of grief and a lot of money. Highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Briana

    I loved this book and read it very quickly. Most things I already knew and agreed with. I thought the section about ultrasounds was very interesting, as well as the section on diapers. In fact, we're going to switch to cloth diapers with our youngest now and then we'll have them for the next one which is due in 7 months. I loved this book and read it very quickly. Most things I already knew and agreed with. I thought the section about ultrasounds was very interesting, as well as the section on diapers. In fact, we're going to switch to cloth diapers with our youngest now and then we'll have them for the next one which is due in 7 months.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue1001

    This book was very well researched. I loved the case studies, but appreciated that they were backed up with scientific studies. Every parent-to-be needs to read this in order to make thoughtful medical decisions that affect the health of their baby.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hines

    Honestly, this book made me feel bad, and I agree with a lot of the concepts put forth. There's a lot better ways to convey this information to parents to effect positive change, in my opinion. Honestly, this book made me feel bad, and I agree with a lot of the concepts put forth. There's a lot better ways to convey this information to parents to effect positive change, in my opinion.

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