Reading List for Your Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley, MD
The definitive text on the Bradley Method , this book is written in a very folksy manner and is directed at the husband/coach, but should also be read by the mother-to-be.

Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth - by Grantly Dick-Read
In this original and unabridged reissue, Grantly Dick-Read, the obstetrician who gave birth to the natural childbirth movement, unpicks every possible root cause of western woman's fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy. In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read's philosophy is still as fresh as it was when he originally wrote this book.

Assistant Coach's Manual by Susan Bek, Marjie Hathaway, & Coni Sherman
is the Bradley Method manual for doulas at natural childbirth. This is a good quick summary to give to those unfamiliar with natural childbirth. It covers how to choose an assistant coach (doula), preparations, and then a large reference section on birth.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon
An excellent book on learning and applying the Bradley Method . Includes relaxation techniques, exercises, labor positions, and emotional signs of labor.

Children at Birth by Marjie and Jay Hathaway
Even if you won't have children at your birth, this can help you decide who to have present and how keep them from adding stress to your birth. Also, the chapter on Consumerism (Choices) is a must-read for any pregnant couple.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
If you're not sure you want to breastfeed, this book will convince you to. Very helpful, with just about every situation and question covered.

The Nutrition Almanac (4th Ed) - Gayla J. and John D. Kirschmann
(Note: The older edition had Lavon J. Dunne as a contributing author. His name doesn't appear on this newer edition.) An encyclopedia of vitamins and minerals, and the illnesses they can help. A great reference, for pregnant and non-pregnant people.

Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy by Thomas Brewer, MD
Most people aren't aware that a low-salt, low-calorie diet during pregnancy can be deadly. If you can wade through the first half of the book (very clinical), the second half is extremely useful.

The Birth Book by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN
The Sears' have had 7 children by different methods and in different locations (hospital, home). The information contained within is unbiased and very practical. Includes every known procedure done during pregnancy, and their pros and cons.

The Pregnancy Book: A Month-by-Month Guide by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN

The Baby Book by William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN Should be called the "Baby Bible"! Read this before the baby is born. Has information on just about every topic concerning babies, from how to fold a cloth diaper to co- sleeping and attachment parenting. Has a great section on breastfeeding that actually covered certain problems and situations better than the La Leche League book.

Attachment Parenting - (New Book!) Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child, by Katie Allison Granju with Betsy Kennedy RN, MSN and with an introduction by Dr. William Sears.

The Birth Partner - by Penny Simkin
"Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth (Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, &)"

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - by Henci Goer & Rhonda Wheeler
is the best book I've ever seen in regards to condensing current research on childbirth into readable and understandable terms. The author gives clear and concise descriptions of various OB procedures and interventions that are easy to follow. She gives pros and cons of each [working within her own bias, which she does freely admit]. I think this would be an excellent book for any couple expecting an uncomplicated birth to read. This is information that every pregnant woman *should* have access to in order to make good decisions. However, there is definitely an anti-OB bias [which the author admits] and this isn't a book designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about a hospital birth. Be aware of that going into this - the author raises very important but possibly disturbing points for those planning a hospital birth with an Obstetrician in attendance.

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina Mae Gaskins
Gaskins is a midwife on the Farm, a collective of midwives and other like-minded individuals in Tennessee. This book has some wonderful birth stories, with a great section for parents and midwives, and has the effect of showing the reader just what a miracle birth truly is.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina Mae Gaskins
An updated and informative guide to natural childbirth.

Safer Childbirth - A Critical History of Maternal Care by Marjorie Tew
An expose of clinical birthing procedures, showing that for some women hospital birth might actually be more dangerous than home birth.

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year - by Susun S. Weed
An excellent book for those who like using natural herbal therapies. It is an excellent resource for any pregnant women, whether she has never considered herbal remedies before, dabbles in them occasionally, or is a full-fledged herbal practitioner, but it is very friendly to the newcomer to herbal medicine.