In this series of posts, we'll take a look at one of the most powerful influences on your life as a parent--the media. I'll give you my doula/childbirth educator/mama scoop on what's most likely to build your confidence and what's just going to freak you out!
Once that positive pregnancy test confirms you're on your way to mamahood, the reading begins. Books, books, and more books have been written about preparing for pregnancy and birth, but which ones are worth the read and which ones are better used to prop up a wobbly table? Here's a list of my top picks and why:
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin -- This book is hands-down, without a doubt, my favorite to read during pregnancy. As one of the leading midwives in the country, Ina May shares inspiring birth stories in the first half of the book. The second half gives an incredible insight into the physiology of birth and the female body, something that I feel not only builds confidence in the birth process, but as a woman in general. Dig in to this one and you'll find your inner mama for sure.
- The Official Lamaze Guide by Judith Lothian & Charlotte DeVries -- The subtitle to this book is Giving Birth With Confidence and that's seriously what reading this book will do (and I'm not just saying that since this is the Lamaze blog.) I feel this is the perfect blend of crunchy, earthy birth and evidence-based information. I'm not required to give the Lamaze Guide to all of my students--I choose to because it's that good!
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, & Ann Keppler-- If you're looking for a complete guide to having your baby, this is it. Step-by-step, you're guided through what to truly expect when you're expecting without any of the scary stuff. It also includes accurate information about birth procedures and interventions, and good insight into what to expect for mama and baby in the early postpartum time.
- Birth Day by Mark Sloan -- This book is one of the few out there that answers the questions that often go unasked. Why do so many women push on their back (spoiler alert: it's NOT because it's easier for mama or baby)? How do babies make that transition from womb to world (it's pretty amazing)? Will my partner really get me through birth and on into parenthood (one word: hormones)? Birth Day provides an amazing history of pregnancy, birth, and babies, tying it in with modern day practice. I think to truly understand what you're getting into, you must know how we got there, and this one does it in an entertaining, yet informative way.
- Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent -- If you know the basics of birth and don't need another how-to guide, check out this fabulous collection of birth stories written by a midwife. As you follow her professional journey, you're invited to dozens of amazing, raw, empowering, and emotional births. From home, to hospital, to houseboat, there is never a dull moment. The stories will make you laugh, cry, and make you realize--hey, I can do this!!
Happy reading, Mamas!!