When I was pregnant with Little Bird, there were many books that I turned to when I needed encouragement and confidence. I knew I wanted a natural birth, but was worried I might not be able to do it, especially with the overwhelming amount of people who seemed to believe it was a bad choice to have a natural birth, or that there was no reason for it.
So here are a few of the books I found encouragement in:
Really, anything by Ina May is a great book for encouraging un-medicated childbirth. Her books often feature birth stories. This book in particular is half birth stories, giving you many ideas of the ways natural childbirth can go. She does a wonderful job of dispelling fears that your body “can’t do it” and taking some of the fear out of the pain that goes along with it. She has a very spiritual approach to birth. (See also, Birthing From Within)
This was my favorite. It goes through different interventions, their risks, and ways to avoid them if you are not comfortable with it. When I read it, I did not find that it seemed critical of people who decide they are comfortable with interventions and medication, but simply wanted women to be more aware of what to expect.
If you read 3 books, add this one in. If your husband/birth support person reads one book, this should be it. It is written by a man who fully believes in a father’s role in the birthing process and he does a wonderful job of exploring what to expect and dispelling fear as well. This is particularly beneficial if you partner feels like they don’t understand what is expected from them during the delivery of the child.
Doulas in your area will normally have wonderful recommendations. If you take a child birth class on natural birth, they will often have recommendations or books to loan to you as well. I was exposed to these books when I took Pure Birth classes from Melissa Morrill at Pure Birth.
Books to avoid:
Anything that causes overwhelming fear or makes you think everything ever is wrong with you or your baby. Pregnancy is stressful enough without reading books that feed into the natural fear that goes along with doing something new and life changing. For me, What to Expect was one of those books. Anytime I read about something that could be wrong with me and baby or could go wrong in labor, I started to feel very panicked. While I believe this was largely due to having miscarried with my first pregnancy, it certainly wasn’t helpful. I decided that I would stick to my OBGYN, midwife, and supportive books and felt much more positively about my pregnancy from then on.
Who has my birth books? I started loaning out my library and cannot remember who had them last!