Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Pain-free childbirth?

Now here’s a book I’m curious about: “Epidural Without Guilt: Childbirth Without Pain.” Written by Dr. Gilbert Grant, an anesthesiologist at the New York University Medical Center, the book lays out the case for women to dull the pain of childbirth without worrying about harming their baby, prolonging their labor or upping their risk of getting a Caesarean section.

I haven’t read the book — just read about it — but here’s a sampling of the information that Gilbert’s publicist sent me recently:

Dr. Grant explains the state-of-the-art techniques that women can use to alleviate the pain of childbirth. His book seeks to dispel the many myths and concerns women may have about having an epidural during delivery…

 ”Here is a sample of the many ideas he offers:

 “Don’t believe the myth that taking an epidural increases the chance of a cesarean. It’s simply not true, and has been disproven by many scientific studies from around the world…  

“Dr. Grant believes that it is important for women to understand that there are many downsides to experiencing the pain of childbirth….

“Women who experience severe pain during and after delivery may have more difficulty nursing their newborn. Pain reduces the amount of milk the mother produces. Also, if they are in pain and feeling lousy, they are probably less able to focus on someone other than themselves.”

It’s been a while since I gave birth, but I still recall reading about, hearing about and contemplating the very emotionally-loaded debate over whether women should give birth without painkillers, ask for an epidural (stat!), or just see how it goes and use their best judgment, whatever their birth “plan.”

This book seems sure to stir up lots more opinions about perhaps the most intimate, personal, powerful time in a woman’s life. If you’re curious,  check out a copy of the book at your local library or bookstore, or visit