Filed under: | Tags: | December 31st, 2010
This page is here more as a reference page. I know that when I was looking for books while I was pregnant I found it frustrating. I wanted a book that told me more then the basics and about what would be done to me. I originally started my pregnancy with a doctor, but after doing some research I quickly changed to a midwife. I am certainly not saying this is for everyone. I do recognize that some moms feel more comfortable under the care of a doctor or there are medical reasons that it is necessary. However, I will say that birth with a midwife rather than a doctor is safe for low risk women. So with all of this in mind, here is a list of books I read that I found helpful. (For more information about my personal homebirth as a first time mom, click here.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
Ok this book was pretty good information wise. The edition I read had around half the book dedicated to home birth stories, and the other half dedicated to the medical side of birthing babies from the midwife perspective. I think as a mom-to-be it can give a good idea of different things that might happen during birth and what medical things your midwife might need to do. The only thing I found a little weird when reading was the type of language used. It contained words like psychedelic, groovy, and other older “hippy” type words. I found it a little hard to take some of the birth stories seriously because of that, but looking past the language used (which was the words of the era of course), I found it a good read chalk full of information.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This by far was my favorite read. I didn’t find the language off putting at all really, and it gave me more confidence in my body brings a child into the world without drugs. There are also birth stories in this book, and I found I could relate better because it is language from my era! This book really sold me on my choice to have a home birth and the safety of said home birth. Let me also state that this book is applicable to moms who want to have a natural birth in a hospital. This book is aimed more at the mom-to-be, but is not dumbed down like many other books tend to be. She clearly describes the stages of labor, problems that can occur and the solutions, and all the good stuff the different hormones do. I often recommend this book to pregnant women.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
This book is the reader friendly book that discusses different medical procedures and why they cause problems. It really talks about using evidence based medicine and not just the status quo medicine that often seems to prevail during a birth. For instance, continuous electronic fetal monitoring is unnecessary because intermittent has been shown to be just as effective and also allows the mom to move as she wishes. I do recommend this book too.
For you non-readers out there, I highly recommend the DVD The Business of Being Born with Ricki Lake. It covers a lot of important topics regarding medicalized births (this isn’t all about the physicality of having the baby as much as it is about our hospital system)… I think every pregnant woman should watch this! If you don’t read anything else…watch this DVD! Besides, after it, you might just find yourself hungry for more information – and books!
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
This book I would put a little further down my list, but still a very good read. She really addresses the darker side of our modern maternity care system here in the USA. It has various birth stories as well. I really think that women need to read more books like this to expose how we are marginalized as a birthing mother.
Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
This book is an absolute must read! This and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth should be read if you are really wanting both the medical system side, and the physical side of birth. In this book he really reviels the “good ol’ boy” component of our maternity system. He also talks about all the things that are done that are truly unnecessary. After my husband and I read this he something along the lines of “you know… I should become an OB/GYN and you should be a midwife… and we should have a healthy practice that support women best”. Now… we aren’t going to do that in reality, but this book makes me wish more doctors would support midwives in their care of low risk women.
Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature by Henci Goer
This is definitely on the medical side of things. This is a wonderful resource if you need evidence to show people why you chose the birth you did. It is long, and unless you like a technical/medical study read – maybe a little hard to get through. However, I found it useful to refer to especially when family members were really pressuring me to go to the hospital and to an OB/GYN. It is not all about midwives and home births. Rather it is about different procedures, drugs, some about midwife, and things like that. I found it useful never the less.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
I got this book right before I had my son, and it was super useful. I referred back to it many times. I had a hard time establishing a good latch, and also ended up with thrush while nursing my little boy. Her book had information about these and many more problems and the solutions. I also highly recommend a lactation consultant (which I did not have.) For any mother wishing to breastfeed (which is VERY beneficial for both mother and baby might I add), this book should be a must.
KISS Guide to Pregnancy by Felicia Eisenberg Molnar
Ok, I am going to say that this book isn’t bad but I didn’t really care for it. The reason is because although it gave good general information and touched on a woman’s many options… it really bothered me when talking about the procedures that will be done to me as a birthing mother – and the fact that I should be nice and get me toenails done as a nice thing for the doctor. Um – no. If I am having a baby.. my toenails are the LEAST of my concern. If you are looking for a book that is a general overview without much detail – this is the book for you. I would say that if you are planning a natural birth either at the hospital or at home…you cannot stop at this book because you’ll need to be far more prepared.
Alright, well this is my list for now. I know I have a few others I have read, but I will have to post them later. I imagine that with future pregnancies I will read more and add to the nuggets of gold here. Oh, and I am by no means paid by anyone – I just want to share some very good information with mothers to be.