Birth Day by Mark Sloan
A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth

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Synopsis

"I delivered twenty babies in the summer of 1977. I was hardly more than a baby myself, just turned twenty-four and starting my third year of medical school."

So began Mark Sloan's three-decades-long exploration of the wonders and oddities of human childbirth. Pediatrician, husband, and father, the author has attended nearly 3,000 births since that long-ago summer, encountering everything from routine deliveries to tense labor-room dramas. In Birth Day Sloan draws on his personal and professional experience to weave the strands of memoir, history, science, and culture into a fascinating - and often funny - tapestry of this fundamental human passage.

Birth Day takes the reader on a remarkable journey, from the dawn of human history to the quiet efficiency of a modern-day operating room; from Aristotle and Julius Cesar to a trailblazing, cross-dressing British army surgeon; from a recent past filled with the horrors of childbirth gone wrong to the present day, in which every pregnancy is expected to end happily. Some of Birth Day's many topics include:
* The evolution of human childbirth - or, why do gorillas have it so easy?
* The first five minutes of life - scuba divers, astronauts, and the amazing adaptations that transform a fetus into an air-breathing, out-in-the-world baby.
* Cesarean section - a look at its origins, its future, and how it came to be the most frequently performed operation in American hospitals.
* Pain and politics - the age-old quest for painless childbirth, starring Adam and Eve, Queen Victoria, a nineteenth-century medical brawl, and the rise of today's "epidural monoculture.”
* Daddies - raging paternal hormones, hidden anxieties, and the emotional evolution of men (including the author, his father, and grandfather) as they approach fatherhood.
* The five senses at birth - Does light enter the womb? How loud is it in there? What is a newborn baby searching for with those first anxious glances?
* A tour of the newborn body - Springy skulls, hairy ears, innies and outies, the advantages (and disadvantages) of looking like your father, and why the United States is one of the world's most circumcised nations.

Delightfully instructive and entertaining, Birth Day offers a fresh, sometimes irreverent take on a universally familiar topic. Warm, reassuring and packed with stories from the author's work and life, this unique book is one pediatrician's meditation on the hiding-in-plain-sight marvels of human birth.
 

About Mark Sloan

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Mark Sloan, M.D., has been a pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics for more than twenty-five years. He is one of the highest-rated pediatricians (by patients and peers) in Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region. His writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He lives in Santa Rosa, California, with his wife and two teenage children, who continue to provide him with a wealth of practical pediatric experience.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published March 24, 2009 by BookBaby. 386 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Birth Day

Publishers Weekly

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California pediatrician Sloan has helped deliver more than 3,000 babies, and he marvelously captures the precarious nature of childbirth—both its joys and its anxieties—while treating readers to an informal and captivating history of the medical practices surrounding birth in America.

Feb 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Exp...

The Washington Post

You might expect a book about childbirth to be written by an obstetrician.

Mar 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Exp...

San Francisco Chronicle

Using analogies that he admits aren't always adequate - equating birth to a scuba diver coming up for air, for example - then showing why, Sloan makes his material accessible to those who haven't thought about the ins and outs of birth since their high school biology class.

Apr 13 2009 | Read Full Review of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Exp...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

One of the most entertaining of these is the aggressive new father who tries to get Sloan to change his son's Apgar score -- which measures things like a newborn's heart rate and coloring -- from a nine to a ten, which Sloan likens to "arguing over the baby's birth weight."

Apr 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Exp...

Bookmarks Magazine

Some of Birth Day’s many topics include

• The evolution of human childbirth—or, why do gorillas have it so easy?
• The first five minutes of life—scuba divers, astronauts, and the amazing adaptations that transform a fetus into an air-breathing, out-in-the-world baby
• Cesarea...

Mar 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Exp...

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