I get asked all the time for book recommendations, so I thought I'd do a roundup of my 5 favorite books for pregnancy and childbirth. Whether you are interested in natural childbirth, hospital births, or various birthing techniques, these books cover a range of topics to support you in your unique birthing experience.
NOTE: I don't agree with every aspect of every book on this list. But these are the books that had a personal impact on my births and my work as a doula.
Ina May Gaskin, a renowned midwife and advocate for natural childbirth, shares her wisdom and expertise in this comprehensive guide. Drawing upon her years of experience attending births at The Farm, a midwifery community in Tennessee, Gaskin presents empowering birth stories, practical advice, and valuable information about the physiological process of childbirth. This book is a must-read for those seeking a natural approach to birth and aims to instill confidence and trust in the body's innate ability to give birth.
For expectant parents who choose to have their baby in a hospital setting but still desire a natural and empowering birth experience, Cynthia Gabriel's Natural Hospital Birth is an excellent resource. Gabriel combines personal stories, research, and practical tips to guide readers through the process of achieving a natural birth in a hospital environment. From creating a birth plan to working effectively with medical professionals, this book empowers couples to navigate the medical system while maintaining their preferences and desires for a natural birth.
Hypnobirthing offers an alternative approach to childbirth that focuses on relaxation, self-hypnosis, and positive affirmations. Marie Mongan's book introduces the concept of hypnobirthing and provides expectant parents with techniques and tools to reduce fear, pain, and anxiety during labor. Through guided relaxation exercises and visualization techniques, Mongan empowers couples to approach childbirth with confidence and calmness. This book is an excellent choice for those interested in exploring a more mindful and relaxed birthing experience.
The Birth Partner is an invaluable resource for partners, doulas, or anyone who will be providing support during labor and birth. Penny Simkin's book offers practical advice, guidance, and techniques to help birthing partners become confident and effective advocates. From comfort measures to medical interventions, Simkin equips birth partners with the knowledge and skills to offer support throughout the entire birthing process. This book is a must-read for those seeking to actively participate in and support the birthing person.
In "Babies are Not Pizzas," Rebecca Dekker delves into the evidence-based research surrounding various aspects of pregnancy and birth. This book empowers expectant parents to critically evaluate common medical interventions, hospital practices, and birth myths by presenting the latest scientific studies and findings. Dekker encourages readers to advocate for their own birth preferences while making informed decisions based on reliable information. With a focus on patient-centered care and shared decision-making, this book equips parents with the knowledge to navigate the healthcare system confidently.
Hopefully, one (or all) of these books will educate, inspire and empower you to have a joyful pregnancy and birth.
If you want a more comprehensive and easy-to-digest way to prep for your birth, you should take our Birth Class for Couples!
Our class takes information from all of these books (and a lot more) and teaches it in a digestible and FUN way. We play games, facilitate discussions between you and your partner, and lead you in hands-on practice so you BOTH will feel 100% prepared for your big day!