Lets face it… There are so many pregnancy and childbirth books out there… who really knows what is junk and what is worth its weight in gold until you start reading them?
Since becoming pregnant with my oldest son, being really involved in the childbirth community, and of course through working on becoming a certified Lamaze teacher, I have been doing a lot of reading…
I wanted to share a couple of my personal favorites with everyone, especially first-time mothers, so they can skip the books that are going to scare the crap out of them or think they have every pregnancy-related illness the moment the second trimester kicks in.
1.) The Official Lamaze Guide – Giving Birth with Confidence by Judy Lothian – Amazing book with a lot of good information in it, and no, I am not just saying this because I am affiliated with Lamaze! Actually I think that the book itself is what encouraged me to become a Lamaze teacher above all the other childbirth education courses out there.
2.) The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – Henci Goer – This also has to be one of my all time favorites. When I sat down to read it, I was pregnant with my second son, and I couldn’t put it down. I think what I found to be most interesting were the studies included. It made for great follow up reading material for a study geek like me!
3.) Birth As an American Rite of Passage – Robbie E. David Floyd – A great example of the way American’s look at childbirth and the rituals of how childbirth is handled in American hospitals.
4.) Birthing From Within – Pam England – This book takes a more natural and holistic approach to birth and looks at it not really as a medical event or medical emergency but a rite of passage into parenthood and as a major part of life for a woman becoming a mother. It also includes exercises and areas for you to take notes. I have not personally read the book in its entirety yet, but it is on my list, and most birth professionals I know include it on their must-read lists.
5.) Born in the USA – How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Women and Children First – Marsden Wagner – While this is my personal all-time favorite, I think that any book by Marsden Wagner is a must-read for pregnant women or women who plan on becoming parents some day. This is the top on the list, but he also has Creating Your Birth plan, which is an easy read and super helpful. Wagner was also the head of the Women and Children division of The World Health Organization for a period of time.
6.) Your Best Birth – Ricki Lake – Since I personally haven’t read it yet, although I have a signed copy I won hanging out on my nightstand, I can only quote what others have said…
“The beginning of the love affair with your child starts here. This book makes planning your birth fun and easy. A must read for every expectant parent.”
— Louann Brizendine, M.D. Author, THE FEMALE BRAIN
7.) Gentle Birth Choices – Barbara Harper – This was one of the first birth books I ever read. I was 19 years old and just starting out in my training as a doula. I found it all so fascinating, especially the information about water birth, something I knew nothing about at that time. Not only that, but Barbara Harper is now a great friend of mine… how cool is that? The first birth book I ever read, and years later I had her on my radio show!
8.) Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care – Jennifer Block – Another amazing author. The words of the book just jump off the pages and pull you in. I read Pushed in about 6 days because I just couldn’t put it down. There is a lot of great information on the history of childbirth and maternity care in America, which paints a picture of how we got to where we are today.
9.) Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin – Another great book that I read when I was pregnant with my youngest son. I wish I had gotten my hands on it when I was pregnant with my oldest! Not only is Ina May a wealth of knowledge, but the book is an easy read. Plus, she totally comments on my blog posts here! Hah!
10.) The Birth Partner – Penny Simkin – Great information on how to be helpful to a woman who is in labor. Helping her stay comfortable, what her needs are, and how to handle her emotionally. This is a great read for anyone who will be acting as a doula, or just for your partner who will be present for your birth. I wish I made my husband read it!
There are so many books out there, but these are probably my favorites, or highest ranked among those I know. If I left our your favorite, please comment below to include it! Help build an awesome list of reading for new mothers and pregnant women everywhere!