These are some of the books that most shaped my thinking about
pregnancy and birth:
- The Pregnancy Journal, A. Christine Harris. For
each day following conception, it tells you what's going
on with both mother and baby. I can't praise this one enough.
- Heart & Hands: a Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and
Birth, Elizabeth Davis. My favorite midwifery text; it's
written at a very accessible level, and the illustrations are
- The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book, Jennifer Louden.
Compassionate, empowering, tolerant of diversity.
- The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer.
This has been the one book I recommend to every expectant mom who
calls me, whether she takes my class or not. (An updated edition
is coming soon.)
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I just read
recently, is superb — it'll be the other book I recommend to
anyone I talk to!
- The Birth Book, Sears & Sears. As in The
Pregnancy Book, their family configuration and religious
outlook may not appeal to everyone. But I love their overall
childrearing philosophy, and both the pregnancy and birth books
are extremely clear, helpful, and comforting.
- Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, Susan
McCutcheon-Rosegg. The illustrations are quite helpful. Just
skip the over-detailed and fussy instructions on relaxation
position (relax in any position you can fall asleep in!) and
you'll be fine.
Other books I've found helpful enough to recommend include:
- The Nursing Mother's Companion, Kathleen Huggins. The
best nursing reference I've personally used, better than even the
Sears & Sears or La Leche League texts.
- Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First
Year, Anne Lamott. Think you might be a bad mommy? Read this
and be comforted!
- Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin. The classic.
- The American Way of Birth, Jessica Mitford. How birth
in the United States became hopelessly medicalized and dehumanizing.
- A Child Is Born, Lennart Nilsson. Classic photographs
of development in the womb.
- Birthing from Within, Pam England. Perhaps too
emotion-based for my personal taste, but especially valuable
for women with abuse or trauma in their pasts.
- The Year After Childbirth: Surviving and Enjoying the First
Year of Motherhood, Sheila Kitzinger. Anything by Kitzinger
is worthwhile, but this was a standout.
For specific articles on dozens of topics, see my
"Online articles and information" page.
This list is of entire sites I'd wholeheartedly recommend to anyone
wanting to learn more about pregnancy or birth:
Midwife Ronnie Falcao's
Archives. If you have a question, there's probably an archived
discussion about it here.
The Midwife Next
Door (aka "Birth Sense"). By a hospital-based CNM, this gives
perspectives on both midwifery and hospital birth — don't miss
the page or
sidebars on "What the Midwife Heard"!
things said to birthing women by their healthcare providers will by
turn amaze, amuse and infuriate.
Sensibility, a "research blog about healthy pregnancy, birth and beyond."
The Unnecesarean is a site
"pulling back the curtain on the unnecessary cesarean epidemic." While the author recently published her last blog post at the site, previous posts are available in its archives -- and her Unnecesarean group on Facebook is still active.