There are many, many great books and videos out there.
You’ll hear about all the major ones from your friends and other parents you
talk to. I’ll list what I think are the best of the popular books below.
But first, here are my favorite books that may not be so well known but (in
my opinion) have so much to offer:
Pam England and Rob Horowitz. OK, you've read all the books about what to
expect, the stages of labor, pregnancy week by week... and yet you still are
wanting something more - something deeper. This book is for you! Using the
Zen concept of mindfulness, this book focuses on discovering how you want to
BE during labor and birth and parenting. The book provides art exercises,
case histories, coping techniques, and insights to help you prepare for,
rather than plan for, birth.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin.
See what Ina May has confirmed in her 30+ years of catching babies. This
new release (2003) is a powerful gem!
The Mind of Your Newborn Baby – David
Chamberlain. Wonder why I care so much about the consciousness of
babies? Read this seminal book on what babies are aware of before
they are born and, most importantly, why it matters. Fascinating case
studies demonstrate what babies remember from life in utero.
Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin. The
classic! Ina May brought home birth and midwifery from a hippie bus into
the living rooms of many middle-class Americans. This woman has such a keen
sense of what makes birth loving and groovy, and has the most impressive
statistics (for over 30 years!) to prove she knows what she is talking about. If you ever
dreamed of being a hippie, or just long for a good old-fashioned flash back
to the '70s, read this book and dig the pictures (it's also available on
video!).Birth Reborn - Michel Odent (or anything by
this famous pioneering French obstetrician). This book talks about his
process of realizing that women know exactly what to do to birth their
babies, and the result of taking that realization and transforming the
obstetric wards he’s been in charge of (and the amazing outcomes they
Sacred Birthing – Sunni Karll – A beautiful
exploration into sacred conception, pregnancy, birthing, and parenting. By
raising the vibration of the parents, a baby is born into an environment
that will totally support its needs in this lifetime. Even in the case of
surgical or traumatic birth, parents can guide and support their baby and
birth their baby into the world spiritually. Filled with ideas, exercises,
birth stories, and lovely words, this book will provide insights into the
prenatal and birth experience from the baby’s perspective, as well as
prepare parents for the sacred birthing of their baby.
The Birth Book – William & Martha Sears. I
admire most everything about the Sears' books. They have a whole series -
The Birth Book, The Breastfeeding Book, The Baby Book. The Attachment
Parenting Book, The Discipline Book...
Creating a Joyful Birth Experience – Lucia
Capacchione & Sandra Bardsley. A little-known gem of a book that includes a
multitude of art exercises designed to examine your strengths, fears and
inhibitions to giving birth with joy.
An Easier Childbirth – Gayle Peterson. This
birth introduces the reader to hypnobirthing, with lots of visualization
exercises and questionnaires to discover about the self and any hindrances
to giving birth with ease.
The Pregnant Woman’s Comfort Book – Jennifer
Louden. Pour a cup of tea and have a nice little chat with Jennifer about
how to be comfortable and stay sane during pregnancy and after your baby is
born. Written with a great sense of humor, and including absolutely
delightful ways to care for your self, this book is at the top of my list of
Transformation Through Birth – Claudia Panuthos.
The author provides much food for thought, and exercises to question
yourself, as you prepare for birth.
Hands of Love – Carol Phillips. Written by a
chiropractor who specializes in the care of pregnant women and newborns,
this book has some unique methods for approaching labor support from a
chiropractic and craniosacral perspective. Lots of emphasis on the
experience of birth from the fetus/newborn's perspective.
Immaculate Deception - Suzanne Arms. A
classic. This book brought to light many of the dark secrets of how birth
became medicalized in this country. A must read for anyone wondering how
birth got so damn complicated!
Other Recommended Books on Pregnancy & Birth
The Birth Partner – Penny Simkin
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – Henci
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn –
Simkin, Whalley, and Keppler
Speaking about books, I don’t think it’s necessary to
own any pregnancy books. You can get almost any book (and video)
from the public library, or your provider’s lending library, or from a birth
and baby supply store (such as Birth and Beyond).
It’s nice to have one or two good books on hand for
those last days of pregnancy and early labor when you can’t remember a thing
you learned in class : ), but really now, who is going to flip through a
book looking for the best position or comfort technique while you’re in the
middle of labor? That’s what you hire a doula for!
I DO think it’s necessary to own one good book on
breastfeeding, one good book on baby care, and one good book on parenting.
Here are some of my favorites:
The Nursing Mother’s Companion – Kathleen Huggins
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – The La Leche League
The Breastfeeding Book - William & Martha Sears
Our Babies, Ourselves – Meredith Small
Your Amazing Newborn – Marshall & Phyllis Klaus
The Baby Book – William & Martha Sears
What's Going on in There:
How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life -
Your Baby and Child:
From Birth to Age Five – Penelope Leach
The Continuum Concept – Jean Liedloff
The Aware Baby - Aletha Solter
The No-Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley
The Discipline Book - William & Martha Sears
And for those of you who are really on top of things
and are looking for books BEFORE you become pregnant, I recommend:
Parenting Begins Before Conception – Carista Luminare-Rosen
The Mind of Your Newborn Baby
– David Chamberlain
The Secret Life of the Unborn Child – Thomas Verny
Tomorrow’s Baby – Thomas R. Verny
What’s Going on In There? How
the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life -
It's My Body, My Baby, My Birth
Birth as We Know It
Birth Into Being
The Big Stretch
The Business of Being Born
Gentle Birth Choices
Giving Birth – Challenges and Choices
Born in the USA
The Timeless Way
Birth in the Squatting Position