I enjoyed the Best Pregnancy Websites article very much and it got me thinking about what I enjoyed most during pregnancy and what was the most helpful to me with both my children. So here is a list of the best books for Pregnancy and Childbirth and why I like them so much.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. This is one of the best books for sorting out myths from facts when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. After all, any pregnant woman can tell you how quick people are to open their mouths and tell you what you should and should not do. And, as you’ll see in this book, sometimes even doctors and hospitals have policies in place that are out dadteda nd contrary to what the research says is best. In this book, Henci shows you the actual research that has been done on a variety of topics such as; Cesarean, breech babies, inductions, Routine IV’s during labor, electronic fetal monitoring and much more. She summarizes the research in a way that the average person can understand, and then lists all the medical journals and research articles on the given subject, giving you a place to start when talking with your doctor about your birth preferences.
The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by Dr. William and Martha Sears. This is one of the most balanced and informative books on pregnancy and childbirth I have ever read. Written by a pediatrician and a mother of eight you can be sure that it also includes lots of practical, hand’s-on type of tips! There are three main sections; “Preparing for Birth”, “Easing Pain in Labor”, “Experiencing Birth”. A well-written, often humorous book this is one of my favorites. Childbirth isn’t easy, there is a reason they call it labor, however this book will give you lots of tools to choose from when you discover which one works best for you.
Mind Over Labor: A Breakthrough Guide to Giving Birth by Carl Jones. Jones is a well respected childbirth educator and his books are always well-written, easy to read and informative. Of the three Carl Jones books I own, my favorite is this one, Mind Over Labor. He explains how a woman’s mental state changes during labor and delivery and clearly outlines what to expect and various stages. He also gives many techniques to help a woman cope with labor, and to help her partner support her through the birthing process. It IS a breakthrough book in that it covers in depth one very powerful coping technique other books don’t always discuss, visualization. He also talks about ways to create a positive environment and the importance of that on the birthing process. Shorter than most of the others, this book is a quick read with a lot of good information you won’t find elsewhere.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin is the Bible of all things pregnant. Far superior to the more common “What to Expect” series books, this is a huge tome with information galore! The information is laid out in an easy to read way, while at the same time providing you with a wealth of knowledge that assumes you want to take responsibility for your health care decisions. The book covers not only the physical and medical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, but also the emotional aspects as well. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn also extends the information further than many of the other books to include the postpartum period after your baby has arrived. This book is often the required reading text for many childbirth education classes, it is that informative and well-laid out.
Another winner from Penny Simkin is The Birth Partner book The Birth Partner. The only childbirth book my husband read while I was pregnant, this book provided all the information he needed to support me during the entire process. He felt more than amply prepared for what was coming and I know he used many of the techniques during my natural birth to help support me in the best ways possible. I love that this book gives many options and ideas rather than creating the feeling of “this is how it should be”. It is very easy to find information summary “cheat sheets” on clearly marked pages at the end of chapters, but the bulk of the chapters go into just the right amount of detail on what to expect at various stages of the laboring process, what caregivers might do, how to recognize an emergency situation and what to do until help arrives. With the emphasis on the birth partner, rather than the pregnant mother, it helps our loved ones feel included in the process. Any partner who wants to feel prepared and part of the process needs this book!
There are so many great books out there but these five will provide a huge amount of information for you. If you only read a few books while pregnant, than read these!
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