I definitely recommend some kind of course for you and your DH if this is your first baby or first natural birth. In my opinion, you want something like Bradley if you want something focused on intensive information, Hypnobabies if you want to get especially prepared in state of mind and are very thought centered, Birthing from Within if you're more artistic and also for state of mind and to work past any mental blocks. The course you choose will come with recommended books, the "required" stuff as well as suggested reading. Each approach is different and you're working toward a different mindset, for example with Hypnobabies you eliminate any negative language about birth and call everything positive names. You won't need to know too much about refusing unneeded interventions assuming you don't need to transfer for something minor. But you'll want to understand, in your heart and head, what can happen however the birth unfolds, whatever time frame and however it ends up feeling. That way it's easier to accept it and let it happen.
Besides study, picture yourself laboring and birthing at home, when you look at places or relax in places in your home, think about how they'll work for you when the time comes to get in upright comfortable positions. Prayer and meditation is always constructive. I find the best meditation is not passive, empty, or aimless, but focused on truth. Also regardless of birthplace, eating and exercising with the focused intention of being strong and growing a healthy baby is great. And talking to baby, dancing with, singing to, poking him or her back when they kick you, all great fun and helps build a strong bond before birth.
I did Bradley, and was glad to be prepared with the specifics. Mine were pretty intense and drawn out so I don't know if I'd have stayed calmer through the rough parts with Hypnobabies or would have been unable to and felt like I did something wrong. My homebirth was with my second child so everything in labor was more familiar, some parts were tough but of course they passed. Everything controllable about my support and surroundings was perfect, and much of the time was lovely. The rest I just had to let happen and get through.
Edited by JamieCatheryn - 5/23/12 at 8:04am