What books did you rely on when you were pregnant? Was there just one that covered everything? Or did you have a few that were favorites? Did your provider give you a book at your first prenatal appointment? There are a dizzying number of pregnancy books out there, and it's hard to decide which ones to buy or borrow.
I really appreciated "The thinking womans guide to pregnancy" by Henci Goer
I also enjoyed reading some of the Spiritual Midwifery books by Ina May Gaskin, more as fluff and out of interest than anything.
Aviva Jill Romm also has a great book called "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children" that I think is very much worth reading during pregnancy. Her "Natural Pregnancy Book" is great also.
I loved The Thinking Woman's Guide to Pregnancy as well. By far my favorite. I also got a Mayo Clinc book about pregnancy from my first provider (I switched during the pregnancy) that I used as a resource on and off. And I liked The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears.
In addition to my midwife's recommendation of Birthing from Within, I have been enjoying Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn.
BfW is focused on touchy-feely ideas for managing your inner voice and empowering yourself during pregnancy and labor. some if it is a little too new-agey for me but the labor management chapters are practical. I haven't put it to use yet though so who knows - it may not give me the tools I really need, but I feel it is a good starting point and now it is my job to practice its suggestions.
PCN, in my opinion, completely rocks. As the name implies, it covers more than just pregnancy and manages to strike a good balance between natural and interventional strategies. Its authors try not to endorse one side or the other, but treat unmedicated birth as a completely realistic option. It's recently updated with new facts and figures. I work in the medical industry and do a lot of data analysis myself, which sets some high standards for pregnancy and birth books to meet - this one really impressed me. I got a copy of Yuor Pregnancy Week by Week from a colleague, and found it much less helpful and not as comprehensive.
Good luck on your journey!
kimble-I also have Birthing from Within at home and am a little hesitant about the new-agey parts and the art projects I have heard about. But I have heard good things about it and I plan on reading it soonish. I'm glad to hear you found certain sections very helpful.
I enjoyed Ina May's Guide to Childbirth for it's ideas and theories. I sometimes refer to The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger when I have specific questions. My company has a program that is sending me a free copy of the Mayo Clinic book, so I am looking forward to checking that out.
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer is good for partner's too. My surro-babies parents (mom and dad) read it and both enjoyed it. Perhaps others will have some suggestions for partner books.
Hey I'm in Montana too!! I love Ina May's guide to Childbirth, and Nina Planck's Real Food for Mother and Baby :)
Out of the ones that I've read, I have to say I liked the books by Penny Simkin the best. Probably the most generically useful of her books is Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn. A good one for partners is The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions.
Another good book I remember was one that was geared towards working mothers (don't remember the title or author on that one), but it was very useful, in navigating that landscape (and figuring out how breastfeeding, childcare, and all that stuff works when you're working, not staying at home).
I was also going to suggest The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. Not terribly fascinating in the way it is written, but very useful and directed towards partners.
Sara Buckley - Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering is also a great book by a doctor in Australia who had an unassisted footling breech. Her husband was there and he is also a doctor but it sounded like he was terrified. I love this book because, along with great information to make informed decisions she talks about her own personal experiences with her four children.
I really enjoyed Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin - very inspiring stories. I also recommend The Baby Book by Bill & Martha Sears.
I liked birth matters too but not specifically as a pregnancy book, her others are much better for pregnancy. Birth matters is more for any woman I think rather than directed at pregnant women. It does have good info for pregnancy too of course but I'd read the others while pregnant before this one.
I LOVED Birthing From Within, Real Food for Mother & Baby, and Susan Weed's Herbal for the Childbearing Year (I think that's what it's called...)
Naomi Stadlen book What Mothers Do is different from other "baby manuals" because there is no training method. There is simply the mother to mother validation that this moment with your baby is unique and should be treated as such. Instead of the million suggestion of what TO do, Stadlen beautifully describes how a mother doing "nothing" is actually doing everything by giving herself to her baby. I highly recommend it.
Here's another vote for Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner. I read The Birth Partner several years ago during my doula training and gave it to my husband to read a bit at a time throughout my pregnancy. It really helped him to imagine what our birth might realistically look/feel/sound like, gave him some concrete ways to be helpful during labor, and as a bonus spurred a lot of late night conversations between the two of us about our baby's development and coming birth. All in all, two thumbs way up!
I read a lot of books while I was training to be a doula and the one that I felt most compelled to revisit while I was pregnant was Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery, for all of the wonderful, inspiring, empowering birth stories. Also, I wish that I had thought to revisit a breastfeeding book before my daughter was born! LLL's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Kathelen Huggins' The Nursing Mother's Companion are my favorites. My first week or two establishing breastfeeding were challenging because my daughter was an extremely enthusiastic nurser but wasn't latched on in an ideal way and I was beyond sore...once I thought to pull out a book and review the section on controlling how your baby latches on, I was able to correct her latch. After a few days my nipples healed and we've been great since then. I just highly recommend adding a breastfeeding book to your "to read" list while still pregnant to try and avoid my mistake!
I made the mistake in my first pregnancy to devour all kinds of pregnancy books, and avoiding the last chapter all together, and I thought i was going to have a natural birth just by writing it on my birth plan! HA!
So first of all congratulations for asking likeminded women for suggestions, and second, don't even read about pregnancy, it's fun and all, but you know the most important things already, but DO read about birth (don't be like me)
My first birth, then, was an induced two day ordeal that ended in c-section, and I probably deserved it. I guess I was going in thinking baby just comes out, or doctor just takes baby out... Wiser, and obsessed over vaginal birth after cesarian during my second pregnancy, I searched for the right kind of birthing books, and Ina May Gaskin's books we're a blessing.
It may seem silly that you can learn so much about something so natural to your body by reading... but because our society has isolated births into hospitals and drugged the women for decades, we do have to read in order to regain that knowledge that our mothers haven't passed on to us.
The one and only book I read while pregnant with my first was The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost. A lovely, short text that seemed to make a lot of sense at the time.