Originally Posted by jenrose
Midwifery Today publishes a book called "The Heart and Science of Homebirth". It's due to be updated in April, I believe, though I can ask them if you want. (I used to work there, it's out of print at the moment.)
Lots of research in there, and lots of stories.
Henci's book, for the last poster, is all science. I'd add Marsden Wagner's "Pursuing the Birth Machine" for more science.
Birth Reborn is one of Michel Odent's earliest books. He's done several since. The Farmer and the Obstetrician was an amazing read, IIRC, and he's got at least one more out there. Well worth it. He talks a lot about the biochemistry of birth, which I find fascinating.
One note on the unassisted childbirth books. I've read both of them, and they strongly influenced me with my last birth. I planned a UC, and had a midwife as backup. What I found was that there came a point when things were out of my comfort zone (and as someone who's been reading about birth since I was 12, and I think I've read 97% of the books on your list and more besides, I have a pretty sturdy comfort zone with birth), when my instincts were NOT telling me things were okay, but not really screaming they weren't either.. and in that place of uncertainty, my midwife came in, confirmed both that things were a little odd and that they weren't dangerous, and I got my homebirth rather than transporting, because her reassurance helped me trust the process more. That's NOT a message you're likely to get from those two particular books. And indeed, my daughter was born with congenital issues... and again,.. my midwife was able to confirm that yes, things were odd, and no, they weren't dangerous. Because of that, my baby was born vaginally, at home, in water, and never needed the NICU, we sorted out her feeding issues at home. I'm not anti-UC, but I feel strongly that for any birth situation, the biggest barrier to a safe birth is inflexibility. Be that a mom planning a hospital birth whose labor goes too fast to get there in time, or a woman planning a homebirth, UC or not, where something stops feeling safe. Having contingency plans let us keep things as safe as possible, as natural as possible, as long as possible. We didn't have to start getting medical until she was 5 days old, and even then it was far less invasive than the NICU would have been.
I trust birth, and I trust my body, but there are two phrases that cover it pretty well for me. Harriet Hartigan says, "Birth is as safe as life gets". Well, here's the thing. Life isn't actually all that safe. things can happen, things can go wrong, and we have to choose whether to live in fear of the things going wrong, or to live our lives giving them a chance of going right, in full knowledge that life is not predictable.
What I say is this.... Birth is not a tame lion, but it is noble, and strong, and good. And it must always, always be respected.