Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Doula Adventures: Book Review of "The Labor Progress Handbook"

May was so busy I didn't even think about sharing a book review until June - oops! A tad late, but here is my review of The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin and Ruth Ancheta.

For your reading pleasure...

This book is fabulous and so, so helpful. I love that Ms. Simkin and Ms. Ancheta talk from their experiences and from research. The information they present is well-informed and balanced.

I appreciate the diagrams and the timeline that this book follows; this is how labor actually progresses. other reviewers have commented that they take this book with them to labors, and I have to say that I'll be doing the same thing.

The last chapter is the most helpful for me. The various ways to turn the baby and to soothe or comfort the mother are so pertinent. I especially like the "when to use" and "when not to use" features, because how much more straight-forward can it be!

I also appreciated that the authors were upfront about ideas that need further research, practices that are commonly used but not fully supported by research, and when their suggestions may not be effective. I think that the honesty and candidness is very useful, and I would love to get an updated copy of this book {my copy was published in 2000}, if such a thing exists, just for the added benefit of more research.

The part that was challenging for me was the highly medical-oriented terminology. This handbook was obviously written for medical professionals, not the mother herself or other lay people. That was slightly frustrating, but it was also good to get into the mindset of working with medical professionals who use the terminology. I would have appreciated a definitions page in either the beginning or end, just to be considerate. But this is my only complaint. I definitely will be purchasing this book for my doula practice.


For those future doulas out there, this book is gold. It is a teeny handbook that will fit into your birth bag and benefit you greatly. I will let you know if I find a more recent version. Happy reading!


  1. Sounds great! I'll be on the lookout for this one to add to my collection! :)

  2. It really is a nifty little book :)