Looking for a good book or two to prepare you for labor? Or even just some light bathroom reading??
These were some of my personal favorites:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Written by Ina May Gaskin, arguably the United State’s preeminent midwife, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is a comprehensive book detailing the benefits of natural birth and how to achieve a natural birth. Full of rich birth stories, it offers practical advice on natural pain relief, factually explains the labor process, and delves into the mind-body connection during labor.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
A must read. Offers evidenced-based information regarding the risks and benefits of many common interventions and procedures used during labor and delivery, such as episiotomies, induction, vaginal birth after C-section, breech births, fetal monitoring, doulas, birthing locations and more, helping mothers to make educated decisions when planning their birth options.
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
My labor survival guide. Everything you learn in a Bradley class is in this book. Detailed descriptions of the physiological labor process helps you to visualize what your body is doing during labor. Includes guided relaxation and practice contraction transcripts for mom and labor coach. Also, information on nutrition, what to expect during and how to mange each stage of labor, and explanations of many common birth interventions and procedures.
The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by William and Martha Sears
Many parents turn to Dr. William Sears, a leading American pediatrician, for his gentle advice and knowledge on raising children. He and his wife have eight children, and this book covers almost every aspect and decision related to labor, from pregnancy through postpartum, in the soothing and family-centered style his fans love.
Hypnobirthing is about training the mind to relax during labor so that the body can function as it was designed to. It explores how fear inhibits the labor process, and how the release of fear can also release the pain of labor. Be sure to get the CDs as well–understanding the method is key, but the relaxation tracks are where it’s at.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
A timeless classic in the annals of birthing literature. It ushered in the era of modern midwifery, and changed women’s perceptions of what labor and birth could be when done naturally. It’s been updated since first released in 1976 with up to date medical information, statistics, new birth stories and newborn care.
Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read
The “father” of natural childbirth, Dick-Read examines the many reasons women have come to fear labor, ultimately helping women to understand and believe that their bodies are powerful and capable of this amazing process. A former obstetrician, Dick-Read eventually went on to become a huge advocate for home water birth. I’d buy it for the cover alone, but that’s just me (…amazing…).
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
If you’re looking for a good book for dad to read (or whoever your birth coach may be in the delivery room), this is a good one. It helps the labor coach understand what will happen during labor, how to prepare for the labor room, the best ways to support a laboring woman and to help ease her discomfort, how to be an advocate for her needs, and how to take care of mom after baby is born.