Book Beat

Labor Tricks From Down Under


Australian physiotherapist Juju Sundin has more than 30 years' experience preparing expectant women for delivery. In Juju Sundin's Birth Skills: Proven Pain-Management Techniques for Your Labour and Birth (with Sarah Murdoch), she reveals her time-tested methods for mastering labor pain, from rhythmic movement (foot stomping) to vocalization (bellowing loudly)—to visualization (picturing your diaphragm muscles working like a French-press coffee plunger to help push the baby out).

Written in Australian English (exercise balls are called "fit balls"), Birth Skills may seem foreign to American readers, but you'll appreciate Sundin's explanations of the physiology behind pain management. Perhaps her book's biggest selling points are photos of two refreshed-looking moms holding their minutes-old babies and looking as if they've returned from a stroll in the park rather than having just given birth.

And that's Sundin's point: With the right mind-set and coping techniques, labor doesn't need to be the horror many moms-to-be imagine. (Allen & Unwin, $20)