All the reading material your midwife secretly (and not so secretly) wishes you would binge during your pregnancy.
There is no shortage of books on the market covering all things under the sun when you find out you’re expecting. It can be hard and confusing to weed through all of the excess into the holy grail of birth knowledge, so we have compiled a list of our personal favorite resources for your pregnancy, birth, postpartum and baby library.
1. THE BIRTH PARTNER BY PENNY SIMKIN, KATIE ROHS
Now fully revised in its fifth edition, The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide to helping a woman through labor and birth, and the essential manual to have at hand during the event. The Birth Partner includes thorough information on:
- Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun
- Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way
- Epidurals and other medications for labor
- Pitocin and other means, including natural ones, to induce or speed up labor
- Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain
- Cesarean birth and complications that may require it
- Breastfeeding and newborn care
- and much more
For the partner who wishes to be truly helpful in the birthing room, this book is indispensable.
2. REAL FOOD FOR PREGNANCY BY LILY NICHOLS
Prenatal nutrition can be confusing. A lot of the advice you have been given about what to eat (or what not to eat) is well-meaning, but frankly, outdated or not evidenced-based. In Real Food for Pregnancy, you will get clear answers on what to eat and why, with research to back up every recommendation. Author and specialist in prenatal nutrition, Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, has taken a long and hard look at the science and discovered a wide gap between current prenatal nutrition recommendations and what foods are required for optimal health in pregnancy and for your baby’s development. There has never been a more comprehensive and well-referenced resource on prenatal nutrition. With Real Food for Pregnancy as your guide, you can be confident that your food and lifestyle choices support a smooth, healthy pregnancy.
3. GENTLE BIRTH, GENTLE MOTHERING BY SARAH J. BUCKLEY
An authoritative guide to natural childbirth and postpartum parenting options from an MD who home-birthed her own four children. Sarah Buckley might be called a third-wave natural birth advocate. A doctor and a mother, she approaches the question of how a woman and baby might have the most fulfilling birth experience with respect for the wisdom of both medical science and the human body. Using current medical and epidemiological research plus women’s experiences (including her own), she demonstrates that what she calls “undisturbed birth” is almost always healthier and safer than high-technology approaches to birth. Her wise counsel on issues like breastfeeding and sleeping during postpartum helps extend the gentle birth experience into a gentle parenting relationship.
4. BIRTHING FROM WITHIN BY PAM ENGLAND AND ROB HOROWITZ
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 audiobook 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; Birthing From Within provides the necessary support and education to make each phase of birthing a rewarding experience.
5. INA MAY’S GUIDE TO CHILDBIRTH BY INA MAY GASKIN
Drawing upon 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. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth 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, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first, second, or third pregnancy, we are quite certain that there is always something new to glean from every single book.
At Dulce Birth and Wellness Center, you can find every one of these reading recommendations above in-person in our Lending Library.