During my first pregnancy, books were of huge importance for me to achieve my natural birth. I absorbed so much positive information which ultimately instilled a confidence in me. These books contain a lot of practical skills which are helpful to have in your labour toolkit as well. Much of birth is about preparation, knowledge and confidence.
These are my top 5 must reads for mums planning a natural birth, particularly first time mums, VBAC mums and mums who hold a lot of fear about birth.
5. Juju Sundin- Birth Skills
Juju is a physiotherapist in private obstetric practice in Sydney. This book is full of practical suggestions for coping throughout labour and birth. It's super important to have in your mind many different techniques and methods, even if you are set on just "breathing through", it may not be enough to get you through. Suggestions such as stomping, positions, vocalisations, this book is great for first time mums and mums experiencing labour for the first time.
Available in book form and eBook. Purchase the kindle version below.
4. Active Birth: The new approach to giving birth naturally - Janet Balaskas
This book has been around since the 1970's and has recently been updated. It's full of pregnancy yoga positions, birth positions and postnatal exercises. This book also goes into detail the different stages of labour and how to managed through each stage. Whether you're planning to birth at home or hospital, this book is definitely an essential classic.
Purchase the kindle version below.
3. The Birth Partner: Everything you need to know to help a woman through labour - Penny Simkin
This one is for your birth partner. This book is an excellent birth support 101, great for even the most clueless partner. Packed full of information about the stages of labour, pain medication, non-medication pain relief techniques, cesaerean support and breastfeed support. Definitely a book to pack in your labour bag, has some fantastic suggestions on "troubleshooting" (for example if labour stalls, if baby is posterior etc ).
2. Birthing from Within - Pam England
This book is a little different to most "birth preparation" books. It's more of a holistic approach which sees birth as a path of self-discovery, not just a physical and medical event. The exercises detailed explore the inner workings and subconscious thoughts surrounding birth. This book also provides techniques for coping with pain without drugs and some baby care basics. I really love this book, I've found the exercises particularly helpful for processing a negative or traumatic birth.
1. Guide to Childbirth - Ina May Gaskin
I. love. this. book. I recommend it to everyone. If you must read one book and only one, this is it. Ina May is America's leading midwife and possibly the most well know world wide. It's the perfect mix of inspiring and positive birth story's and Ina's wealth of knowledge about the natural birthing process.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read this book and instantly felt any fear melt away and I was filled with confidence. I believed in my own body's ability to birth and I trusted the process. I doubt I would have felt as confident hadn't I read this story.
Do yourself a favour, read it!
If you're a client of mine, I have all these books available to you in my lending library.