Top 5 Pregnancy & Childbirth Books

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Pregnancy can be a crazy time. Your body is morphing and doing things it has never before done. Sometimes it’s pretty amazing. Other times it’s a bit…well…odd. And that’s before birth even comes into the picture. Childbirth is a whole other experience that is full of its own ups and downs. That’s why when I first became pregnant, I read. And read. And read. I felt the best approach to understanding what my body was currently and would soon be going through was to become as informed and educated as possible. So I read and I researched.

While I did have a few nieces and nephews at the time, I was still pretty clueless as to what to expect with pregnancy and birth. As I read, I began to understand how I felt about certain things (natural vs. epidural, episiotomy vs. tearing, OB/gyn vs. midwife, etc.) and what I desired my birth experience to be. All that reading helped shape my choice in care provider and my conversations with my midwife. It helped me make educated decisions when I went overdue and when I was in the delivery room for a long…long…time.

Top 5 Pregnancy and Childbirth Books

A plethora of books exist and, let’s face it, some are more helpful than others. So, I’d like to share my top five pregnancy and childbirth books with you. These are great tools for any expectant mom, whether this is her first or fifth pregnancy. In fact, I didn’t read my favorite one until I was pregnant with my third child. I so wish it would’ve been my very first read during my first pregnancy. These are great resources for yourself or for any pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant friend. Help build her library. Give them as shower gifts. What better gift to give than a resource that could change her life?

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
By Ina May Gaskin
A must-read for all expectant parents. It’s full of great information, making the reader understand that birth is normal and not a medical condition that must be treated because, as she points out, “treatment” is often what leads to poorer outcomes (contrary to common misconceptions on birth). It is not opinion based; it is fact based, given her constant research and personal discoveries thanks to such successful and sustained birth outcomes within her own practice. She sums up the purpose for her book by saying, “Your body is not a lemon.” If only more women could know that before becoming pregnant!

Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience
By Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein
Very informative and a great read for women before they get pregnant or very early on in pregnancy. Has good info and questions to ask to help guide women towards empowering instead of passive and often disappointing birth experiences.

Great Expectations: Pregnancy & Childbirth
By Marcie Jones &  Sandy Jones
A great week-by-week read on baby’s development during pregnancy. I found this resource much more helpful and interesting than “What to Expect.” It is an easy read, taken bit by bit over time and throughout pregnancy. It’s a good overview of general things you might encounter during pregnancy and childbirth. This wasn’t a life-changing book for me, but I did enjoy tracking my little one’s growth throughout my first pregnancy.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
By Henci Goer
This can be a heavy read, but it is packed with very important information that pregnant women should take into consideration. It’s a great resource for an informed and educated birth. It discusses in detail c-sections; induction; epidurals; episiotomy; electronic fetal monitoring; choosing a birth location; the differences between midwives, obstetricians and family doctors; among other important topics. This book influenced my first birth more than anything else I read.

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
By Jennifer Block
Facts and info fill the book, meaning it isn’t a light read. But, again, it has great information throughout. It is shocking at times and absolutely motivating. A must-read for all pregnant women, those who will be some day and those who already have been.

Comment below and tell us what you think. Have you read any of these books? What pregnancy and birth books were your favorite?

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