Some of you have found this page though a friend or facebook, and you may not be pregnant yet. You might not even be thinking about it. This is a great time to start reading about maternity care and childbirth! Seems crazy. Like lurking in the wedding section of Barnes and Noble when you’re not engaged yet. But I’m telling you, start educating yourself now! As part of my childbirth educator training I had to read a ton of amazing books and research papers. Many of them highlight the state of maternity care in the United States, and it’s not pretty. World Health Statistics in 2010 identified 33 countries with lower maternal mortality ratios than the United States, while 37 countries had lower neonatal mortality rates, 40 had lower infant mortality rates, 65 had lower low birthweight rates, and 32 had higher rates of exclusive breastfeeding to at least six months. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development identified 24 high- and middle-income countries with lower cesarean rates in 2007 and just 4 with higher rates. Yikes! When you DO see those two pink lines you want to already be confident in what your body can do and rest easy that you have already found a care provider that will support your birth plan. Can you do this while pregnant? Of course. But why cram for the test the night before? Jennifer Block’s, Pushed, is a great place to start. I finished this book and thought, “How was this not on some sort of required reading list at Simmons (My all-women alma mater)!?” So click on the book, order and put Pushed on your summer reading list!