I am someone who likes to prepare and plan. I also like to research and read about a lot of things that may come up in our lives. One of these things is pregnancy. Especially after my first pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum when I ended up feeling defeated and not as educated as I should have been. During my first pregnancy, I read the ONE book I believe most, if not all pregnant women read: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. And honestly, while it was fun getting all the little facts about my growing baby every week, it does not give much realistic advice on preparing for a natural birth and knowing red flags when it comes to maternity care. I personally, would not recommend this book to any woman and have since thrown out my copy. Since having my first child, I have become somewhat of a birth and breastfeeding advocate and believe in sharing as much information and helping to educate others. I completely believe in the saying “when you know better, you do better” and believe women should educate themselves on ALL of their options when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. I decided to compile a list of books I have found helpful (and some books I am currently reading) about natural pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
Books I Have Read
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – This is by far my favorite! It is written by Ina May Gaskin who started The Farm in Tennessee. She has 30+ years Midwifery experience and in my opinion, THE best in the field. This book really makes you feel empowered and is all about helping women believe in their bodies. It has some positive birth stories, what many practitioners fail to tell you about the interventions used these days, how to create a peaceful birthing atmosphere and MUCH more.
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding – Another by Ina May. Great resource, full of information and everything you need to know about breastfeeding your baby. She talks about the benefits of breastfeeding, challenges, weaning, pumps etc.
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers – I read this book while pregnant with my first child. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and this book DEFINITELY came in handy! Now looking back on my breastfeeding journey and have nursed 2 newborns, babies and toddlers, I know I owe some of my success to the realistic advice of this book. I really loved how easy this book was to navigate and looking up something if I had a specific question.
- Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care – I found this book VERY interesting. It is a long read and shares a lot of information and statistics plus the history of maternity care. I really found that this book opened my eyes and was one of the reason I continue to research and ask questions! It really will benefit ANY woman who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant regardless of the type of birth you want.
- The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year – Exactly as the title states, it is a natural approach to parenting and caring for baby in the first year. It is all about following your intuition and more of the attachment parenting or “crunchy” way of doing things. Topics include, birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, sign language and baby led weaning. It was a very easy and fast read!
Books I am Currently Reading
- Birthing From Within – I am about halfway through this book this pregnancy. It is a VERY spiritual and holistic approach on pregnancy, labor and birth. It helps teach women that birth is not a huge medical problem but natural and more of a rite of passage. It offers exercises and techniques for women to look inside themselves and discover any fears they may have about birth and ways to overcome them. There are techniques for coping with labor without the use of drugs and a section for the fathers/ birth partners explaining their role. It also touches on some basic newborn care.
Books I will be Reading This Pregnancy
- Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth – I have yet to read this one, but it comes highly recommended for those wanting a natural birth. I will update once I have read it!!
**BONUS** Documentaries I Recommend
- The Business of Being Born – This documentary explores maternity care in the U.S. I HIGHLY recommend for any expectant or soon to be expecting mama AND father/ birth partner. I watched it on Netflix.
- More Business of Being Born – A 4 part continuation of The Business of Being Born. A conversation with Ina May Gaskin, exploring options and a part on VBACs. Also watched this one on Netflix.
- The Milky Way – A wonderful doc on breastfeeding. The lack of support many women have when it comes to breastfeeding in the U.S., a look at how things are done in the U.S. vs other parts of the world. Very informative and a great watch for those interested in breastfeeding. (My son and I have a breastfeeding picture cameo in this doc too 😉 )
- Breastmilk – This one is on Netflix, I plan on watching it VERY soon and will update!
What books have you read and found helpful in preparing for your birth?
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