With so many books out there on pregnancy & childbirth… how do you know which ones are worth your time to read and which ones should be left on the shelf?!
One of the things you can do is read the author’s bio and a chunk of the first chapter. Is the book focused on natural birth or medical interventions? If the book is written by a medical professional, chances are high that it will have a big slant towards pregnancy & childbirth requiring medical interventions.
Reading many of these books, plus many articles and birth videos helped me overcome the fear I had when I was pregnant with my first baby. I was completely clueless and my midwife went the whole 9 yards to educate me completely on all things pregnancy & childbirth. It was an amazing time of learning how our bodies are made to grow & carry a child, handle the pain in childbirth and nourish the child via breastfeeding.
Basically, I learned that even though God cursed Eve with pain of childbirth… He didn’t leave Eve or us to fend for ourselves! He graciously & lovely equipped our bodies to know how to handle that pain, so that it ends up being a labor of love… not a labor of pain.
Honestly, I do not believe that any healthy mama should use unnecessary medical interventions out of convenient or fear… but that’s my opinion. It is my desire that every mama should be well educated on how she will give birth and know the risks of medical interventions if she chooses that route.
Remember, knowledge is power and ignorance is not bliss!
Reading these books is a good place to start with helping you decide what your birth plan will be. This list of books (& DVDs) on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and postpartum health have been pulled together by popular choice among many mama friends that I know. Enjoy!
Top 11 Pregnancy, Childbirth, Breastfeeding & Postpartum Books/DVDs
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
This book is a must-read for every woman should be learning as much as she can before making major decisions regarding how you will give birth. It is hard to gather accurate, unbiased information. Not surprisingly, much of the research does not support common medical opinion and practice.
Birth activist Henci Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. This book will help you compare and contrast your various options and shows you how to avoid unnecessary procedures, drugs, restrictions, and tests.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you. Drawing from her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience.
This book gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention. Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this book takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.
Birthing from Within
Here is a holistic approach to childbirth that examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery. Exercises and activities such as journal writing, meditation, and painting will help mothers analyze their thoughts and face their fears during pregnancy.
For use during birth, the book offers proven techniques for coping with labor pain without drugs, a discussion of the doctor or midwife’s role, and a look at the father’s responsibilities. Childbirth education should also include what to expect after the baby is born. Here are baby basics, such as how to bathe a newborn, how to get the little one to sleep, and tips for getting nursing off to a good start.
Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a process of continuous learning and adjustment; This book provides the necessary support and education to make each phase of birthing a rewarding experience.
Childbirth without Fear
Essential reading for all mothers-to-be! In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh as it was when he originally wrote this book.
He unpicks every possible root cause of western woman’s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy.
A newer edition will be coming out on January 13th, 2013 and the foreword will be written by Ina May Gaskin. You can pre-order it now.
The Joy of Natural Childbirth
I have not read this book myself, but a good mama-friend highly recommended it.
First published in 1963, this pioneering book has introduced thousands of couples to joyful childbirth through four editions and over three decades. Completely revised, it presents a sound, scriptural philosophy of God’s goodness in in birth.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way
This book comes HIGHLY recommended by many of my mama-friends.
Since the Bradley method was first introduced in 1970, a growing number of expectant parents have opted for natural childbirth, knowing that it’s safer than medicated or surgical delivery.
This book provides all the answers on how to have a successful Bradley birth, offering sound advice on how to prepare physically for labor and what to expect during each of its stages. Photos & line drawings included.
A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health
Having a baby can and should be one of the most joyful experiences of a woman’s life. While there are hundreds of books that provide information on how to ensure the development of a healthy baby, few of them dedicate more than a few pages to the nourishment of the mother herself during this physically and emotionally demanding time. It is rarely discussed, but women commonly experience a wide variety of ailments during the postpartum period, from depression to anxiety, backache, and loss of libido.
This is the first book by physicians that is devoted entirely to telling women how they can prevent postpartum problems and attain optimum health after the delivery of their babies. Elements of the program, which is meant to be adopted during-or, if possible, before-pregnancy, include diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise, hormone-balancing, the use of medicinal herbs, and conventional medications. Developed by the authors in clinical practice, this program has a proven track record in helping women to avoid and overcome postpartum difficulties.
The Nursing Mother’s Companion, 6th Edition
This accessible and authoritative guide to breastfeeding has been trusted by new parents and recommended by professionals for more than two decades.
Kathleen Huggins has extensively revised and updated this 25th anniversary edition to equip nursing mothers with all the information they need to overcome difficulties and nurse their babies successfully from the first week all the way to the toddler years, or somewhere in between. Now more than ever, this book is an indispensable handbook for every new mother.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
Everything you need to know to make breastfeeding a joyful, natural, and richly fulfilling experience for both you and your baby!
Drawing on her decades of experience in caring for pregnant women, mothers, and babies, Ina May Gaskin explores the health and psychological benefits of breastfeeding and gives you invaluable practical advice that will help you nurse your baby in the most fulfilling way possible.
Inside you’ll find answers to virtually every question you have on breastfeeding. This book is filled with helpful advice, medical facts, and real-life stories that will help you understand how and why breastfeeding works and how you can use it to more deeply connect with your baby and your own body. Whether you’re planning to nurse for the first time or are looking for the latest, most up-to-date expert advice available, you couldn’t hope to find a better guide than Ina May.
The Business of Being Born
A great movie that talks about the reality of hospital births. Good for many women to see so they can get a good look at the pros & cons of hospital births and home births.
Not every woman’s birth is the same and you will see that in this movie.
I have not seen this, but it is on my list of home birth movies to watch! Can’t wait to see it and let you know what I think of it.
From what I read… it is a very simple movie looking into the lives of 3 very different women and why they are choosing home births for their babies. It also shares their journey and birth experiences.
Check out their website!
Are there any other books or DVDs that you would recommend to your mama-friends? Please share!
This list is great! Now I am armed for next time I go to the library.
Marillyn Beard says
Gen Evieve says
Read The Joy of Natural Childbirth — Excellent Book! I had a home birth and the relaxing exercises really helped me. I even took notes and wrote down key phrases on poster board and taped it to my wall. It really helped to remember what to do at each stage.
Marillyn Beard says
Gen Evieve – Thank you for your comment on the book!! It helps others to know if it really is a good book or not. Glad it was such a help to you for your home birth!
I also liked The Birth Book by Dr. Sears. I felt like he had a fairly neutral look at the various options for birth. Some of his children were born in the hospital and some at home. With my first pregnancy I read the Thinking Woman’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina Mays book and the Bradley Method. All were very helpful. The nursing mothers companion is also a must for postpartum.