Recommended reading for pregnancy and childbirth

by Réka Morvay on May 23, 2009

Following is a list of recommended reading for pregnancy, childbirth and baby care books.

Pre-conception

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

Fertility awareness is a scientifically proven, but little known method of birth control. It can also help you in optimizing your chances of conceiving. The book comes with thorough and practical explanations of your cycle, and how to tell when you’re most fertile.

Pregnancy

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Some people call this book alarmist, but I say if you’re not looking at it as a list of mandatory pregnancy problems that you must check off one by one before you have your baby, than it can be a really valuable resource to provide reassuring answers to all your pregnancy related questions. If you’ve ever wondered “is it normal that…” then this book is for you.

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth

Sheila Kitzinger provides an in-depth look at mother and baby’s emotional and physical development during pregnancy, and a candid view of what happens in birthing rooms at hospitals, how to have a woman-centered, positive birth experience, and how the birth partner can help.

Labor

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Ina May is an amazing midwife in the United States. She and others like her established The Farm birthing center, where intervention and C-section rates are so low that hospitals go there to learn how they are doing it! In this book, Ina May begins with dozens of birth stories from women who have given birth on The Farm. The second half of the book is a clear, and unique, discussion of how birth works, and how women can prepare for a natural, satisfying birth experience. She also discusses the scientific evidence – or lack thereof – behind many obstetrical procedures.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way

This book has given me so many “yes, yes, YES!” moments as I was reading it, both as a mother and as a childbirth educator, that I can only recommend it. It gives really concrete, tangible, practical tips for having a natural, intervention-free birth, and clearly explains the risks associated with routine hospital interventions. Most importantly, it provides very concrete instructions for both the mother and her partner for what to do before and during labor for a good birth experience.

Baby care

Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five

Penelope Leach provides clear, sensitive descriptions of baby’s physical, emotional, social development and also offers unbiased discussion of parenting choices. Best of all, she also includes very practical tips for how to, for example, calm newborns, make bathtime enjoyable, how to decide where baby should sleep, how to handle sibling rivalry, and much, much more. The book includes gorgeous color photographs that are very instructive (like the picture of the difference between colostrum, foremilk and hindmilk).

Breastfeeding

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solving Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America

Dr. Jack Newman is one of today’s foremost lactation experts. His book provides practical information on how to overcome any and all breastfeeding difficulties you might run into.

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