The following are books that we have read or our moms and moms-to-be have read and recommended to us. Please let us know if you have found other helpful books.
Preparing for BirthBirthing from Within by Pam England, CNM and Rob Horowitz PhD.
Both a guide book and a birthing education method, this publication includes exercises to help women and their partners find strategies to “birth from within.” One of my favorite lines is: “finally mothers must make a heart-felt commitment: not to birth normally, but to give it their all, moment-by-moment. Once they’re done that, to then be okay with whatever happens.” (Page 128). Check out their website at: www.birthingfromwithin.com for more information.
Mind Over Labor by Carl Jones (recommended by a mom-to-be) Suggest the use of mental imagery to help you get through labor.
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper, R.N. Originally published in 1994, this book is still helpful for parents-to-be who are plunged into the birthing world. This guidebook gives information about the many options available for birth and works to take the fear out of the process.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin Ina May Gaskin is a homebirth midwife who helped found The Farm Midwives in Tennessee. Often read by students of midwifery there are several accounts of women’s births that are informative.
The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Lovine When you need a little levity and a bit of reality this is the book to grab. Informative without being preachy, this is one woman and her friends’ “real” experience of pregnancy.
Birth by Tina Cassidy. “Published in hardcover to widespread acclaim, Tina Cassidy’s smart, engaging book is the first world history of childbirth in fifty years. From evolution to the epidural and beyond, Cassidy presents an intelligent, enlightening, and impeccably researched cultural history of how and why we are born the way we are, exploring the physical, anthropological, political, and religious factors that have influenced and will continue to influence how women bring new life into the world.” (from the back cover)
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
By Jennifer Block
(Reviewed by Jules Javernick, CNM, May 2010)
We all bring specific biases to our reading and I cannot read a book about childbirth without bias. While “Pushed” is well-written and well-researched, it is starkly different then what I have experienced working as a midwife. Ms. Block states that most women she talked to “just want a normal birth.” She further states that these same women told her they felt pressure from their providers to be induced, schedule a c-section, not move during labor, etc. This has not been my experience so I read this book thinking “that doesn’t happen!” Well, obviously, somewhere women are not experiencing the kind of birth they would hope for and Ms. Block explores this. She also focuses greatly on home birth and several women’s experiences as well as those of their home-birth midwives.
I see value in reading this book for questions to ask your provider and perhaps to help you picture a birth for yourself. I would caution, however, that many of the birth scenarios that Ms. Block highlights are, in my experience, the exception and not the norm. This book provides good information to prompt a discussion not to scare you away from your provider.
WANT TO SUBMIT A BOOK REVIEW?
Click here to email us with your review
For Life after Labor: the Postpartum PeriodThe New Mother’s Body Book by Jacqueline Shannon Practical advice to help you rebound from the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and childbirth.
The Girlfriends’ Guide to surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Lovine (clearly we like this series) A funny, realistic look at life after labor. When you just need a good chuckle and reassurance that you will survive motherhood.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott If you are not familiar with Anne Lamott be prepared for her candor. You may not agree with all her life choices but you will love her frank discussion of her hopes and fears when she becomes pregnant and begins to raise Sam as a single mother.