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book recommendations

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
hello,

i'm in desperate need of some good reading material about pregnancy and birth. i am the baby of my family, and have never been around many pregnant women or newborns. i am due with my first in november and need to get reading!

please give me your favorite titles and authors. (i imagine this thread exists somewhere already but i didn't find it here...)
thanks
post #2 of 23
I love Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way
I also read Ina May Gaskin's book, not Spiritual Midwifery...the other one, it was pretty good
The Birth Book by Sears has some good basic info.
post #3 of 23
I second Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. It has a range of natural birth stories, most of them at home or the birth center and then lots and lots of information. I also liked Spiritual Midwifery the first time I read it but when I was reading through it my second time being pregnant I was truly disturbed by some of the things in it, so maybe avoid that one...
I also think you should always balance Ina May's stuff with plenty of other literature (there was no way I felt like either kissing my husband or mooing like a cow during either of my births, both of which she recommends).
Still it's a great book!
I also have "pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn: a complete guide" by Penny Simkin which is a really good reference as well as just to read as you go along.
post #4 of 23
Ina May's Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin (I love that one too, even if it is a little retro), The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth by Heidi Goer, The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears.
post #5 of 23
If you do read Spiritual Midwifery, look at it as a document from a specific time and place, with the language/attitudes that prevailed. I enjoyed it, but didn't get too invested in imagining that my contractions would be "orgasmic rushes." It was entertaining, though!

Here's my list of best books to read while pregnant

Our Babies Ourselves: how biology and culture shape the way we parent - Meredith Small. Not a “baby book” but an athropologist’s look at parenting. The book that influenced my kid-related thinking more than anything else.

A Child is Born - Lennart Nilsson. Way cool photographs of conception to birth all taken inside the body.

The Life Within - Jean Hegland. Feed your soul with this: one chapter for each month of pregnancy; beautiful and reflective with out a hint of sappiness. Savor the calm of it while you still can… (out of print but you can usually find it on Amazon or Abebooks.com for cheap).

Babycatcher: chronicles of a modern midwife - Peggy Vincent. Get psyched for birth with this highly readable and entertaining account of a Berkeley midwife’s busy practice.

The Birth Partner: everything you need to know to help a woman through childbirth - Penny Simkin. Title says it all.

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth - Sheila Kitzinger. A good read, sensible, down-to-earth, all the information you’ll ever need. Like a talk with a wise, hip granny.

The Nursing Mother’s Companion - Kathleen Huggins. Everything you need to know.

Or for something lighter but very informative, particularly if you’ve never given breastfeeding yea or nay much consideration, you can’t do better than So That’s What They’re For by Janet Tomaso. (Make sure you get the revised, 3rd. Edition).

Operating Instructions: a journal of my son’s first year - Anne Lamott. When it’s 3am and the baby’s just woken up for the tenth time and you find yourself longing to toss it out the window, you won’t feel like the worst parent on the planet. On the contrary, having read this moving and hilarious book, you will know that you are absolutely normal.

**Nearly everyone you know will press their old copies on you, but avoid at all costs the fear-mongering, annoying, What To Expect When You’re Expecting. This book will stress you out and make you question your every move. Pregnant women don’t need that).**
post #6 of 23
Spiritual Midwifery blew my mind. It totally changed my whole outlook on birth, and took away a lot of the fear. I didn't get hung up on the language, I concentrated on the overall message. It was a hugely positive book for me to read. Ina May's Guide To Childbirth is awesome as well.
post #7 of 23
in addition to the above:

The Home Birth Advantage by Meyer Einstein. Its dad-friendly and has great statistical info without being too "dry".
post #8 of 23
i am totally digging "Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth"! my SIL is due with her first in October and i'm definitely passing it onto her!

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Bodies-Our...6631595&sr=8-2
post #9 of 23

things I wish i read while pregnant...

THis is probably just me, but I really focused so much on the pregnany and birth experience, which were fabulous, that I was totally unprepared for the actual baby!

I recommend ANYTHING AP on the first few weeks of the babies life. I was totally unprepared, perhaps because I stupidly thought I could still read whenever I wanted to, as I did while I was pregnant. NOPE!!! IMO, as much as you would NOT want to read a book about giving birth WHILE giving birth, at least some of the "how to" baby stuff should be read before.

ANyway, my top picks:
Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
INa Mae's GUide to CHildbirth
Misconception by Naomi Wolf (An academic treatment, nice accompaniment to The business of Being Born Doc.)
post #10 of 23

Books...

Recommend:
--Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth: Excellent
--The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions: Great for pregnant women as well as labor companions
--Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation: Fabulous. Didn't do all the activities, but it's a great even without the activities.
--Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: Good as a reference
--A Child is Born: Wonderful pictures

Recommend, with Reservations:
--Having a Baby, Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth: Very Preachy, but some good ideas
--HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing: Good information and ideas, but fairly preachy and ridiculously repetitive. It's not necessary to read the whole thing to get the main concepts.

Not Recommended:
--What to Expect When You're Expecting: Ugh. Terrible. Actually threw it in the recycling bin as I couldn't bring myself to donate it and have someone else be stuck with it.
post #11 of 23

A few more books...

For after the baby arrives...

Recommend:
--Children's Hospital Guide to Your Child's Health and Development: Very helpful reference.

Recommend, with reservations:
--Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting: Better than Having a Baby, Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
post #12 of 23
in terms of breastfeeding books, the best one I ever read was called "Bon Appetit Baby." It was a great book with all the best basics on breastfeeding, complete with a feeding and diaper chart which helped put my mind at ease when I was a nervous first time mom. Lots of encouraging, accurate, mother-to-mother advice with no fear mongering.

http://www.amazon.com/Bon-Appetit-Ba...6647486&sr=8-3

Some of the other books made me really nervous, including The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding...I felt like they highlighted a lot of the possible problems and while that would be really great once I actually HAD the problem and needed to fix it, as a first time mom with flat nipples, it terrified me! Not to say you shouldn't buy it, it's just not the first book I'd flip open in terms of learning the basics of breastfeeding.

kellymom.com is also a great resource for learning about nursing.
post #13 of 23
Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber.

Awesome awesome book!
post #14 of 23
Oh, also Your Best Birth by Rikki Lake and Abby Epstein. It should be coming out in May. I just read an advance copy and I really liked it. You should also look into renting "The Business of Being Born", they have it on Netflix.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
i just wanted to say that each and every one of you is AWESOME! :
thank you so much for your ideas. please keep them coming.

i'll be ordering my first round of books today!
post #16 of 23
I just wanted to clarify, that Spiritual Midwifery really helped me have a wonderful and blissful birth with ds #1. However reading it in my 2 nd pregnancy there were several instances where I felt the women were coerced into acting a certain way to fit into the community and that made me really uncomfortable. I was especially uncomfortable with Stephan Gaskin's role in a couple of the births. Ina May and the other midwives are also highly interventive in the early years. Something she revises with experience and so makes the Guide to Childbirth superior. But I agree that taken with a grain of salt Spiritual Midwifery is wonderful, empowering and entertaining.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
The Nursing Mother’s Companion - Kathleen Huggins. Everything you need to know.
This book was recommended to me by several people and I saw it again here. My personal feeling is that no one book fits all and since this one seems helpful to a lot of people, you might like it. However, to give an alternate perspective, I really disliked it; I think it has some good information and would have been helpful if my breastfeeding situation was straightforward, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have challenges breastfeeding (like I did). I'd advise getting this one from a library first to see if it's something you'd want to buy.

Actually, I'd kind of advise that with any books if you can. It's a great way to get a taste of the book and the author's style and see if it fits you before committing any money. Once you find books you like, it's nice to buy them (if you can). I made lots of notes in mine, flagged pages, etc.

Good luck!
post #18 of 23
As far as bf'ing books go, I had them ALL, read them ALL and still didn't "get it" when we were 1st trying to get going. Every book i read (especially the LLL books) said that if it hurt, you're doing something wrong (!). Except I wasn't. I had a bf consultant come and help, spoke with ALL the lactation consultants at my disposal, kept pouring over those books for an explanation. Turns out - it just hurts sometimes! The best thing that I did was to keep talking to real women who'd breastfed their babies, and I learned that it's NORMAL and it WILL END. Someone told me their nipples hurt terribly until their baby was 10 weeks old, and I held onto that and hoped. And it stopped, right around 10 weeks (it might have been 12). Just my 2 cents - take those books with a grain of salt. Not everyone fits into the exact specifications and scenarios within them. That goes for pregnancy and birthing books too!
post #19 of 23
The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth by Henci Goer

Having a Baby, Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyMommy View Post
This book was recommended to me by several people and I saw it again here. My personal feeling is that no one book fits all and since this one seems helpful to a lot of people, you might like it. However, to give an alternate perspective, I really disliked it; I think it has some good information and would have been helpful if my breastfeeding situation was straightforward, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have challenges breastfeeding (like I did). I'd advise getting this one from a library first to see if it's something you'd want to buy.

Actually, I'd kind of advise that with any books if you can. It's a great way to get a taste of the book and the author's style and see if it fits you before committing any money. Once you find books you like, it's nice to buy them (if you can). I made lots of notes in mine, flagged pages, etc.

Good luck!

oh, i agree about checking the books out before you buy! under normal circumstances, i don't think i would even care too much what others read, i would just go to the library/bookstore and check books out myself until i found the ones that spoke to me.
however, i live in a non-english speaking country and english books are VERY scarce. i'm talking maybe 50 books total on the shelves at the library or bookstore. so i am forced to rely on the opinions of others to help me make my choices. that's why i am so grateful for all of the responses!
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