Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began

Ecco. Mar. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780063157620. $28.99. HEALTH
Hazard (Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story), a practicing National Health Service (NHS) midwife, fearlessly tackles the myths, history, and science of the uterus in this new book. As she explains periods, conception, labor, menopause, and hysterectomies, Hazard addresses underserved populations, women of color, and people who are transgender, along with the areas where more research is needed—and it is needed in nearly every aspect of women’s reproductive health. When issues border on the political, she defers to the World Health Organization and NHS guidelines, keeping her thesis taut throughout. She incorporates the rise of social media as an influencer of women’s health, including PeriodTok (part of TikTok), the recent change in the United States’ legislative position on abortion, as well as the language that surrounds wombs: an “irritable” uterus, an “incompetent” cervix, and the ever-complicated social history of a “hysteria” diagnosis. To combat the shame surrounding uterine health, Hazard empowers readers with vocabulary and scientific understanding of the uterine microbiome, Braxton-Hicks contractions, fibroids, and endometriosis. In the middle of the book, she compassionately pauses to address all the forms loss can take for a woman and her womb, at all phases of her reproductive journey.
VERDICT A revelatory, straightforward, and important work.
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