Cover of "Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth a...

Cover via Amazon

I just read Jenny McCarthey’s book Belly Laughs and I really enjoyed it except for one thing: She seems like she is trying to persuade women that the epidural is the best way to go, yet at the same time seems completely uneducated about epidurals and the effects it can have on labor and delivery. She also puts childbirth education classes in a bad light and makes them seem irrelevant and silly.

The epidural is fantastic for many women in labor under the right circumstances, especially if they are having a very long and/or painful labor and need get some rest. But, I don’t believe that if you are so uneducated about it that you should really be going around saying things like, “everyone should get the epidural…and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t get one… and this is not the 70’s, it’s the 21st century”. Really? Then if the epidural is so great, why did you end up with a crash c-section and the doctor trying to vacuum suck the baby out before hand? I am not saying that the epidural is the absolute reason that her delivery went like that, but everyone should know that epidurals always have the possibility to prolong labor and to make it harder to push the baby out because you can’t feel what you are supposed to be doing!

The cord was wrapped around her baby’s neck, which could also be one explanation for why he got stuck in the first place. If the baby is in that much danger, of course a crash c-section is needed, don’t wait around! But I am saying that this woman is a role model for women, namely pregnant women in this case, and her view in this book on these important subjects is, in my opinion, not at all helpful for the health and safety of pregnant women or their babies.

I am not against the epidural, I am for women making educated choices according to their situation and needs.My sister had the epidural with both her labors by the way, and did not have any complications, plus she pushed in her second pregnancy after the epidural wore off and still ended up having an episiotomy, as with her first delivery. But I am pretty sure she only needed the episiotomy both times because her baby boy’s heads were big!

In the book Jenny even admits that she and her husband fell asleep during a Lamaze class and never mentions ever going to a childbirth class or anything, at least not in this book. That is horrible, why would you not educate yourself on something so important? In fact she doesn’t mention education on anything having to do with birthing, only pregnancy symptoms and discomforts. And that is fine, this is not meant to be a medical book, I just don’t like how she is so pushy about the epidural like it is the best thing on the planet. She also makes it seem like there is no need for childbirth preparation classes, and  makes it seem like they are just an SNL joke. Of course it is her opinion, but there is no other topic that she is so frequently adamant about than having the epidural, and that is the thing that bugs me!

Maybe she felt guilty about having the epidural and is using her book to redeem her choices in the eyes of the public by speaking about how supposedly fantastic the epidural is? I don’t know. She also mentions how horrifically terrified she was during her labor, which is understandable and normal to a point. But if you are in a panic like she seemed to be, than childbirth education classes could have helped so much to ease fear and panic. Maybe she did attend a class, but she just never mentions it?

Of course her doctor should have educated her, but as we all know much of the medical community still pushes drugs on to women in labor. Shame on you doctor!

I still love Jenny McCarthy, especially for all the work and extreme research and awareness she has brought to the subject of autism in children. Maybe the epidural was the best choice for her delivery, and maybe not, I wasn’t there. But I want to say that I really don’t appreciate her tone on childbirth education in this book. Educate yourselves on these subjects for your health and for the welfare and health of your baby please, and get more than one opinion!

Other than the issues I had with this book above, this book made me laugh and is a great companion during pregnancy when it comes to all the terrible and wonderful, but not truly serious, symptoms and side effects of pregnancy.


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