Suggested Prenatal Reading
All of the books below approach pregnancy and childbirth as a natural process that leaves mom and baby the center of the event.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, Bantam Dell, 2003
Few prenatal books can compare to the beauty of Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. In case you didn’t already know, Ina May is a midwifery guru! Her book teaches women to trust their bodies and the process of birth to create a healthy and conscious birth experience. It is a comprehensive prenatal guide with much information on the mind-body connection to birth as well as guidance on how to have a beautiful and intervention free birth. As technically informative as this book is, possibly it’s most outstanding component is the birth stories that will inspire you to follow your body and discover how your birth can be a calm, spiritual experience that you and your birth partner can cherish forever.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin – The Harvard Common Press, 2008
A well respected and easy to read guide for anyone preparing to support a woman during childbirth. It is a very informative balance of natural support approaches and explanations/descriptions of what to be expected from a medical perspective. For the first time dad or labor companion especially, this is a well presented comprehensive preparation for their role in supporting mom.
Hypnobirthing, The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy. – Health Communications, Inc., 2005
A must read for every pregnant woman who wants to experience a natural birth. This book teaches expectant moms how to release their fear of the birthing experience and have a safe, easier, more comfortable birth through breath awareness and visualization. While reading this book our prenatal yoga instructor was struck by how this method mirrored her instinctive yogic approach to pain management during the birth of her first baby. This method allows mom to prepare and relax her body and mind to both transform/decrease the perception of pain and, in turn, decrease the length of the birth process. Welcome your new baby into the world with calm confidence and a sense of joyous anticipation. A CD of relaxation scripts is included. One nice touch is that one of the scripts is designed to be done with your birth partner in preparation for the birth.
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper, R.N. – Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, 2005
A beautiful book that talks about natural birth choices that result in safe, meaningful, family centered birth experiences. The reasons for adopting such an approach and why many of the current, routine medical interventions are not only unnecessary, but impact negatively on the mother and child are also talked about. Last, but not least, the most beautiful, gentle births are captured on the DVD that accompanies the book. Not only is this book informative, it will allow you to approach your birth without fear and with a sense of control. It is a favorite with our prenatal students.
Birthing From Within by Pam England, CNM, MA & Rob Horowitz, PhD – Partera Press, 1998
Another book that helps women to follow nature and their own instincts throughout the birthing process. This book touches on birth art and birthing practices in other cultures, as well as an outstanding section on non-pharmacological methods of approaching pain control. An empowering book that encourages women to tap into the unlimited sources of inner strength that we have used to birth our babies since the beginning of time.
Spirit Babies by Walter Makichen – Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2005
This is a book written by a clairvoyant who teaches potential parents how to connect with the spirit of their unborn child. It includes lots of chakra meditation techniques to aid in making this connection, as well as descriptions of sessions with parents who have sought Makichen’s help while attempting to conceive. The book is mainly designed for couples trying to conceive, however, as someone who loves the idea of baby spirits being drawn to parents who are best suited to give them the kind of love and care they need most, I found it to be a fun, light read even after I was pregnant.
Suggested Breastfeeding Books (Read Before Baby Arrives)
In the midst of all the birth reading that moms tend to do make sure that you (and your partner) read ONE of the breastfeeding support books below before baby comes. You will be so happy you did once your bundle of joy arrives! These are all stellar books on breastfeeding.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International (Jul 13 2010)
Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide To Breastfeeding Revised Edition by Jack P Newman (Mar 18 2014)
Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Jack Newman (Oct 25 2010)