Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Best books about Pregnancy & Childbirth

Pregnancy is a complicated time for women as our bodies (and souls) are changing to accommodate a new, powerful life force. It is also a naturally anxious time for a woman - Will my baby be okay? Will I be okay? How will I manage? How much will my life change? Most women get overloaded by all the wrong kinds of advice - like all the things that can go wrong. While most of it is well-meaning, I truly believe that the most important gift you can give the pregnant woman is confidence and the belief that yes, she can give birth, and yes, she will make a great mother.

For both my pregnancies, I read a lot of books to increase my confidence about giving birth and explored many different options. It helped me narrow down a birth plan, educate me about my body, and get me mentally prepared to give birth.



It is also very important for a woman to BE INFORMED and educate herself about the different stages of pregnancy, childbirth, and even early infant care. You need to coach yourself - and your partner - about the different stages of labour. You need to research different positions for birthing and explore Plan A, B, and C.

Here are some of my favorite books about pregnancy & childbirth:

The first prenatal class we took in preparation for Maya's birth was a Birthing From Within class and their confidence-building methods transformed me from a scared girl to a brave woman, ready to surrender to my birth. Funnily enough, I didn't read this actual book until I was pregnant with Veda and found a lot more useful tips. One thing I really adore about the Birthing From Within approach is that it concentrates on childbirth as a couples event and it gets the dad involved as an equal partner, which really sets the tone for your journey as parents. This approach fully involves dad in the labour, rather than treating him like a useless sidekick. It not only addresses the woman's fears about childbirth, but also the man's. It is truly a partnership childbirth book, as all books should be in this genre. It also has a lot of great creative projects you can utilize to face your fears and express yourself.
This is an excellent book that gives a comprehensive guide of all possible options for birth. It covers the pros and cons of different prenatal providers, places of birth, interventions, and more. Definitely a must read for anyone who is pregnant and researching options for their delivery. I loved the woman-centered and birth-centered tone of this book and it respects the fact that every woman is different and it's not a "one size fits all" approach. It also features real birth stories.
Also check out: Ricki Lake's groundbreaking documentary The Business of Being Born.
Ina May is the leading midwife in the United States with over 30 years of experience. She encourages women to have unnecessary medical interventions during birth. Ina May is slightly old school and she uses a lot of ancient wisdom. This is a good book for women to read if they have some fears of childbirth because Ina truly believes that childbirth is beautiful and it's nothing to be scared of. The book shares a lot of tips, including alternative pain relief, positioning that you can do during childbirth, and how to create a safe and soothing environment for childbirth.
This is a great guide if you're interested in breastfeeding. I would read this before giving birth, and have it handy for on a bedside table for late night nursing. It's not just about breastfeeding, it has chapters on weaning, nursing challenges, sleep, and creating "nursing manners" with your baby (like not letting the baby slap you!).

Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally
This is an excellent book with great advice about labour, but also the importance of movement during pregnancy, labour, and beyond. The book contains a lot of yoga-type stretches that you can do during pregnancy and there is a broad section of childbirth positions for each stage of labour. This book has a large section on water births, and also good postpartum exercises.

What to Expect When You're Expecting
What to Expect is a comprehensive guidebook that informs you of all the different stages of pregnancy in great detail. All pregnant ladies own this book...for a reason! It is so informative and it is invaluable. It's a week by week encyclopedia and a great starter book for a first pregnancy.

From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent
I read this book during my pregnancy with Maya, and I found it to be a good alternative to What to Expect. It is a neutral guide, with a lot of different options. It's not preachy, which I loved.

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Dear readers, what are your favorite books about pregnancy & childbirth?

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