"Pandora Issues in Women's Health" is a series of investigative books written by women about all aspects of our bodies and health. Each book takes into account women's lives in different countries and cultures and challenges conventional assumptions about health issues which affect us all. In this book, the author draws on the experience of over 120 women to explore the feelings resulting from an amniocentesis test. This test, which detects Down's Syndrome, is becoming a routine part of prenatal care for women over 30 and can radically alter the way we think about childbirth and becoming a parent. The results of amniocentesis, and the more recently developed chorion villus sampling, force us to confront agonizing dilemmas of what to do if there is a problem with the foetus. The author considers ways of coming to terms with the termination of a wanted pregnancy and at the kind of support which can be expected if the parents make the decision to raise a handicapped child. As propaganda about the benefits of breastfeeding increases, so do the worldwide sales of artificial milks and feeding bottles, and the number of breastfed babies decreases.
This book asks why more babies are given artificial milk when breastmilk is a nutritionally balanced food and a wonder drug that both prevents and treats disease. The author examines the political reasons for this situation and social attitudes to women. She reveals the myths and superstitions of modern medicine, and considers the vulnerability of doctors to commercial pressures and misinformation, and the link between the decline in breastfeeding, the population explosion and child malnutrition. Gabrielle Palmer has worked as a breastfeeding counsellor of the National Childbirth Trust, as an organizer for Save the Children Fund and as a nutritionist in Mozambique.