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recommended books

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth is one of my favorite pregnancy books. Before reading this book, I knew the tests and procedures I wanted to avoid, but I didn’t really know why I should avoid them. Henci shows why with all the research she cites. This book contains many appendixes and is well-indexed. To read a sample chapter, see the table of contents, and lots more, go to Henci Goer’s website.

If you’re pregnant, read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth from cover to cover and then read it again! Ina May is the nation’s leading midwife. Her birth statistics speak for themselves. The national cesearean average is 24% and climbing. Ina May’s is less than 2% over 30 years. Ina May trusts birth and labor. Read this book and be inspired to trust in the process of labor. You’ll read a variety of birth stories so you can see how labor is different for every woman. Some of the topics addressed are avoiding an episiotomy, vaginal birth after cesarean, choosing a caregiver, and the emotional aspect of labor.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a comprehensive guide to being successful at breastfeeding. Read it while pregnant so you know what to expect and then keep it on hand to answer questions that may come up after your baby is born. Contains evidenced -based research. Tips on continuing to nurse your baby after going to work.

The best baby book that I’ve seen. Comprehensive. Lots of breastfeeding information. There’s a symptom chart so you can figure out what’s wrong with baby when he’s sick, with recommendations on when to call the doctor and when home care is all that’s needed. My copy is all worn out since I refer to it so much. A must have on every parent’s bookshelf!

Dr. William Sears and his wife Martha Sears team up to write the Birth Book together. The book starts with all eight of Martha’s birth stories. Important information includes how to choose your doctor or midwife. This book gives a good overview of pregnancy, labor and birth.mind-over-labor.jpg

Mind over Labor by Carl Jones is a quick and simple read with exercises in it that will help you achieve relaxation for your mind and body. This book helps to dispel fears you might have surrounding birth. I use the word pictures with my doula clients and couples in hus-coached.jpgchildbirth class. One of my favorites!

Husband Coached Childbirth written by Dr. Robert Bradley, is one of the books used in Bradley® method classes. Traditional in its approach, this is a good book for couples to read together as they learn to work as a team during pregnancy and prepare for the hard wonat-cb2.jpgrk of labor.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley® Way by Susan McCutcheon is a practical hands-on learning tool in helping you to achieve a natural birth using many different relaxation techniques.

A must read for every birth junkie (doulas and childbirth educators) is Robbie Davis-Floyd’s anthropological look at the history of birth in America. In Birth as an American Rite of Passage, she talks about how birth-american-rite.jpgwomen in America view birth as a result of our culture and growing up with medicalized hospital birth as the norm. She follows the move from birth in the home to the mass migration to birthing in the hospital and the grassroots effort to bring birth back where it belongs~ in the home. She explains the history of childbirth education.simpkin.jpg

Pregnancy Chidlbirth and the Newborn is an excellent overview of all things relating to pregnancy. A good, general guide for prenatal care, diet, what to avoid, labor, breastfeeding, other postpartum issues.

Read my list of kids’ books to help prepare them for the arrival of baby


1. Stacey Christesnsen - July 29, 2008

I’m studying to become a childbirth educator and doula myself. I’m currently living in Turkey. I love your website. I just finished reading Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper. I really enjoyed it. Do you think it would be a good choice for mothers as well? Blessings!!!

Dear Stacey, best wishes on our journey to become a CBE and doula. Most definitely, Gentle Birth Choices would be good reading for pregnant women! ~blessings, Guinever

2. Sarah Thornton - February 9, 2008

Hi Guinever,

I wanted to recommend the book Birth, The History of How We Are Born. It’s a truly fascinating account of birth history both beautiful, and sadly barbaric at times. I gave it to my midwife as a gift, and she also loved it.


3. Katie - October 28, 2007

Hi Guinever,
I’m a friend of Coral’s from college and got the link to your site off of a blog post where she mentioned the book “What to expect when you’re expecting.” Checking out your blog led me on a journey that ended with me choosing a birth center and midwife, just to end up in the hospital at 42 weeks having an unneeded c-section. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for suggesting these books, especially Ina May’s Guide. It made a real difference for me even though I ended up in a worse case scenario. Anyhow, I just wanted to share my birth story with you and thank you for the book suggestions. You can find my story at http://emraepistle.blogspot.com . I plan to become a childbirth educator and doula someday myself, and hopefully have several successful v-bacs.

I wish you and your new baby well! ~blessings, Guinever

4. Amy Murphy - October 11, 2007

This is coming from an old natural believer! I am now expecting my first grandchild and crossing my fingers she will go natural. My sons were 10 and 11 lbs when born with a midwife and it was a mind set! Ina May gets you in the mind set only back then the book to read was The Spiritual Art of Midwifery. Excellent book!!

I’ve read Spiritual Midwifery and although I do like it, I don’t recommend it freely to everyone. It definitely comes out of the hippie culture of the seventies. Most ladies in the book described their birth as psychedelic (and other similar terms.) The birth stories in Ina May’s Guide to childbirth are more modern and understandable to today’s generation of childbearing women. It’s true that reading Ina May gets you in the right state of mind for a natural birth. I’ve read her book at the end of my last 3 pregnancies. Highly recommended!! Thanks for telling your experience. ~Guinever

5. bellinghamdoula - October 6, 2007

Hi Guinever – thanks for your message on my blog @ bellinghamdoula. I have truly enjoyed looking at your blog, too. I like your “straight-talking” communication style!

I’m so very new to this blogging business… may I ask you how you found my site? And I really like the set up of your site – the topic bars across the top of the page, for instance, are great. How did you do that?

Thanks, let’s keep chatting!


6. Denise - August 20, 2007

Can I recommend one to your site too? I love the stats in Ina May’s book and found many more in the following at the public library:

Title: The doula book : how a trained labor companion can help you have a shorter, easier, and healthier birth

Author : Klaus, Marshall H., 1927-
Publisher, Date : Cambridge, MA : Perseus Pub., c2002.
ISBN : 0738206091 (pbk.) – Description : ix, 243 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

I love this book and it is on my shelf. I always thought it was written more on how to be a doula, but maybe it is for pregnant moms as well. Thanks for the recommendation. ~Guinever

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