“A midwifes guide to getting the best for you and your baby in pregnancy and birth” says it all. Susan Ross has produced an up-to-date guide to negotiating Australias minefield of maternity care. It is primarily a manual for assessing your options, advising on questions to ask your carers and teaching you how to inform yourself of the pitfalls of the private/public health systems. In addition, it unapologetically offers the midwife perspective on maternity care. Susan is, after all, a Sydney midwife and educator of over thirty years experience who has worked in a variety of settings including public and private hospitals, community health and independent practice. She is clear to state at the beginning that this is not a “how to have a baby” book. She says that she simply saw a need to provide consumers with unbiased information and support about pregnancy care, labour, birth and postnatal care, believing that Australian women are not being offered appropriate information on which to base informed choices about the care they receive. Yet Birth Right is very much a book about having a baby – potentially “the journey of a lifetime and the ultimate womanly experience” as Susan describes it in her Introduction. She targets women who are pregnant for the first time, or who want their second birthing experience to be different from their first. Modern Australian women are largely unaware of their choices and go into labour ill prepared for birth and beyond. Many women with private health insurance simply assume that a private hospital or obstetrician is their only correct choice. Women who use this book (for it is designed to be used, not just read) will hopefully feel more confident to take back the decision making power that is rightfully theirs. Topics of special focus range from choosing a caregiver and a birth place to emotional and physiological information about pregnancy and birth on to postnatal care, breastfeeding and taking baby home. The personable dialogue is peppered with case studies from mothers, midwives and obstetricians that help put the information in context for readers. An appendix at the back suggests what to buy and not buy for baby (always subject for debate) and lists useful Australian contacts. It is Susans hope that a mother to be may, knowing she is secure in her birthing environment, feel empowered “to go to a very special, primal place, untouched territory for most modern women until they are in labour.” And those of us who are privileged to have gone there urge other women to seek its possibilities. Susan Ross Birth Right is a secure place to start on this womanly journey.