So, you’re newly pregnant and want to read as many books as possible to learn all you can about the ins and outs of pregnancy and childbirth, and really want to make the best decisions for you and your little butter bean growing inside you. You are in the Pregnancy and Childbirth section at your local bookstore or looking on Amazon and are literally overwhelmed to the point of just giving up and turning around. Where in the world should you begin? How do you know that the book you are about to invest $12 - $30 in will even help you? How do you know what book is going to teach you about childbirth in a way that agrees with your philosophy? Yes, you could spend the next week or more of your life in the book store reading every single book’s back cover…or… you could just read this list of reader’s favorites and why they were a favorite, and invest in one of these.
1. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin “Ina May is so incredibly down to earth, and does a great job dispelling the medical ‘myths’ of what laboring women can do. The book is also full of positive birthing stories from lots of different kinds of moms, a good counter to cable tv shows and film depictions of screaming horror.”
“I loved reading all the positive birthing stories and other great info it provided”
2. The New Mom’s Guide to Your Body After Baby, by Susan Wallace & Monica Reed “It really prepared me for what to expect AFTER delivery, which seems to often be an overlooked or taboo subject. I read it before my first birth and was sooooo thankful I was ready for what happened after the actual birth.”
3. Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth, by Sandy Jones “I loved the week by week guide to my baby’s growth and the labor section.”
4. Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to a Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing (with CD), by Marie F Mongan “Mainly it comes down to being informed on different methods…with baby #1 and #2 I went in with NOTHING…and had no control because I didn’t know I could have control – I thought the dr’s were in charge, etc…but that was what to expect when expecting…this time I researched different methods. I also have restless leg syndrome and the hypnobirthing book just really opened my mind and helped me see I can have choices and control over my body and my labor – and not lose that control because of the “pain”. It made me look at birth from a whole new way – not to fear it but to welcome it! I am actually excited this time around – I don’t think this is the one and only book moms should read…it should be included so they can decide which method would be best for them! Just be informed!"
5. Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation, by Pam England and Rob Horowitz and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler “I liked these for their evidence based research and supportive of natural birth and trusting our bodies.”
6. Count it All Joy, by Judy Kay Jones, CPM – “It’s such a great collection of natural birth stories. Some with bad outcomes, some with good. It really shows all faces of natural birth.”
7. Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC), by Nancy Wainer Cohen and Lois J Estner “I really liked reading this book. It’s really old, but full of great information”
8. Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth, by Jenny McCarthy “If you want to get a good laugh read this book!”
9. Daddy’s Pregnant, Too!, by Sam Young “I never bought books for myself but my mother in law sent this book for my husband. I see it in book stores all the time but it is SO cute and so right on. The information isn’t given in big terms and it gives you a super realistic idea of what will actually happen and I probably learned more as far as what would really happen than what you read on the internet.”
10. Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience, by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
11. Our Bodies Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth, by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective and Judy Norsigian “It’s very pro-homebirth and pro-midwife. It was where I first read about the Bradley Method and led me to find Jessica Dixon, our awesome Bradley instructor!”
12. Supernatural Childbirth, by Jackie Mize “This book changed my life. By believing and following the principles laid out in the book, I had a completely pain free childbirth. I felt my muscles working and definitely knew my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing, but there was literally no pain.”
13. Natural Childbirth and the Christian Family, by Helen Wessel “This book, though ‘old’, is a great book that describes why childbirth doesn’t have to be painful and also goes into depth talking about relaxation. In addition, it describes what has led to the cultural belief that childbirth is the most horrible pain that a woman will ever endure, and talks about why that isn’t the way God intended birth to be.”
14. “I love Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, but after this last baby, I have to go with Hypnobabies Homestudy course as my absolute favorite – it was so great to have an almost painless birth!”
15. Your Pregnancy Week by Week, by Glade B Curtis and Judith Schuler “I followed it religiously through all three pregnancies”
16. What to Expect when You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel – “I loved that it tracked what your baby was working on growing that week. It really helped me pictured the growth and changing that was going on inside my belly”
So, there you have it. Our Facebook followers have spoken, and they have provided some great ideas for your book reading choices. No matter what, just make sure that whatever you’re reading matches with your birthing philosophy and that you are able to weed out the “junk”.