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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Nov 02

    Best birth books for mothers with a high risk pregnancy

    Karen Gauthier

    Hello! I am a former childbirth educator and doula (actually, former Director of CBE for ALACE). I have been out of the loop for at least ten years now due to major life changes. My 33 year old daughter will be giving birth to my first Grandchild around the end of April...I am beyond thrilled! Anyway - My daughter (Michelle) has a genetic blood clotting disorder, and has to give herself daily Lovenox shots to keep her blood from clotting, as coumadin causes birth defects. Michelle was born at home, and watched and witnessed me live out my birth philosophies for, well...years. I've tried to be respectful of her choices in life in general, and now as she plans for the birth of her child - this as well. What I want to do is call her daily with thoughts and suggestions (she lives across the country from me), but have decided to totally leave it up to her to approach me instead. And surprise, surprise, she has been calling me now and then with not only questions, but profound questions. Such as, "how did you know how to be a mom?". So, this is where I need your help. Her latest question is about what birth books she should read. I am feeling such a sense of responsibility, and I am also feeling insecure. I know what I read in 1980, and I know what I had stocked in my CBE library, but I am not quite sure what is currently considered helpful, nor what might best suit her with what is being considered a high risk pregnancy. I can almost hear responses now - birth is birth is birth. It hasn't changed since the beginning of time. And I do agree with that! I mean Grantly Dick-Read, Shelia Kitzinger, Ina Mae Gaskin....those authors and books will always be helpful and classics. But I want to suggest something that will help prepare her for an empowering experience in what might feel like a submissive environment. She has expressed that she does NOT want an epidural, and as we all know, this carries with it a whole plethora of other things that she will need to think about if that is the case. So, anyway - I ramble, but can you please suggest a few book titles that I might pass on to her? Thank you so much in advance!

    Henci Goer

    You are a wise woman to have given your daughter the space for her to come to you. She's much more likely to take--or at least consider seriously--your advice. I can give you a few ideas for books, and I also want to give you some websites I think are especially helpful. This isn't my particular area of expertise, though, and you may want to consult others as well.


    • The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence
    • Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
    • The Birth Partner 4th edition by Simkin: This will give your daughter's partner everything he needs to know to support her in labor.
    • Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Bardacke: Excellent and unique book to teach how to stay in the present and cope flexibly with events as they occur.
    • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Gaskin: Contains common sense, down to earth advice, and numerous stories of women recounting how they experienced labor and birth.

    If you don't mind my suggestion, I put in the first two URLs because if you order on Amazon through the Lamaze website, Lamaze makes a little money on the transaction. The others aren't available through the Lamaze website. For those, I suggest you do a reverse on what Amazon would like you to do. Amazon wants you to use brick and mortar stores as their showroom and then order through Amazon. I use Amazon to find out more about books or products that interest me and then go to a store and ask them to order them.


    These are what come to mind at the moment. If something else comes to me, I'll get back to you.

    ~ Henci

    All Times America/New_York

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