Birth Preparation

One Doula’s Favorite Pregnancy Books

I love reading. Put me in a big bookstore with a good cup of coffee in my hand and I’ll be happy forever.

Even if you aren’t a huge reader, pregnancy is an important time to learn all you can! Whether it be podcasts, conversations with your doula, audio books, or paper books, learn all the things. Learn about birth and your  body and the power you have to make decisions during this process.

Since books are my personal favorite way to learn, here’s a list of a few that I recommend to my clients:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

This is my TOP recommendation for all expecting Mamas! The entire first half of the book is full of birth stories that showcase the variety of ways that normal birth can play out. Ina May Gaskin also has a wonderful, humorous way of presenting information about pregnancy and birth, with a wisdom that only comes from decades of witnessing birth.

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

If you are looking for a week-by-week guide to pregnancy, this is by far my favorite option. Instead of listing all the things that could go wrong or making you feel like every possible test and probe is always needed, this book things positive and informative. It also offers natural remedies and options for common pregnancy symptoms, as well as touches on the pros and cons of optional tests and procedures.

Birth Without Fear: The Judgement-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum

This book just came out, and I’m so excited to get it to read! I added it to the list even though I haven’t read it myself yet, because I love the amazing online community that came before it. Reading birth stories and articles from the Birth Without Fear website was one of my first steps to healing from the trauma of my first birth experience.

Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

If you are looking for a comprehensive book about childbirth to really dive into, this is my top recommendation. With its detailed description of how a normal labor progresses, descriptions of what a Doula’s role might be compared to a partner’s, and suggestions for positions and other ways to support the laboring woman, it’s a gold mine of birth information. I also love that it has short re-caps at the end of each chapter, if you are needing to share bite-size pieces with a friend or other birth companion who may not have time to read the whole book.

Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage

Here’s another newer book that I can’t wait to get my hands on! I have heard the author, Robin Kaplan, speak on getting a good latch, and I was impressed with her knowledge as well as her understanding that there is no on-size-fits-all solution for breastfeeding questions. Each Mama-Baby pair is unique and on their own journey. Robin also went through some of her own struggles with breastfeeding, so don’t expect judgement or a rigid “right” way from this book.

If budget is an issue with the baby on the way, look for some of these books at your local library or used bookstore! Or, see if your Doula has a lending library! I have several birth books available for clients to borrow, and my collection is always growing.

I hope these suggestions spark your interest and get you thinking about what you would like to learn before heading into your own pregnancy and birth experience!

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