Everyone knows there is a wealth of information online. A lot of it isn’t good information, but it’s there if you want to read it. Google can tell you anything, right? But when you’re pregnant? My number one rule is: DO. NOT. GOOGLE.
It may be old school of me, but I prefer to steer my clients and friends toward good old fashioned books as resources for their journey into parenthood. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great blog or simple to follow youtube tutorial, but there’s something about holding information in your hands that allows you to feel ownership and mastery over what you’ve read. Yes, I’m a nerd.
So if you’d like a break from searching the internet for reputable and accurate resources, look no further.
On Pregnancy: Read as you go.
Exercise, nutrition, and approved medications information from a care provider whom you trust. Everything else is noise.
On Labor and Delivery: Read during pregnancy.
Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas
While this book centers on ways to stay active during labor, it also outlines exercises and postures for pregnancy that can be beneficial for baby’s positioning. If you’re a regularly active person who wants to remain that way in pregnancy and birth, this one is for you.
I wrote about this book before as an option for childbirth education. England discusses ways moms and partners can connect during pregnancy over their deepest beliefs and fears about birth, thereby preparing themselves for the big event. An excellent option for moms who love to express themselves through art, or want to create a stronger connection with their partners.
Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed, M.Hy.
Again, this book is part of a larger childbirth education curriculum that teaches moms and partners to let go of our learned, cultural fear surrounding birth.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
This is the number one book I recommend to partners. I usually say, “at least skim it,” but most end up reading the majority of the book since it’s so thoughtfully laid out and easy to follow. Simkin describes the stages of labor, how partners and doulas can be supportive during each, as well as elaborates on medical interventions and their risks and alternatives. Most doulas I know, myself included, carry this book in our birth bags. It’s my go to reference for all things birth.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Half of this book is dedicated to stories of women who gave birth at Ina May’s farm, a sort of birth oasis started in the 1970s in Tennessee and still operates today. The stories, written in the first person perspective from the moms’ points of view, are raw, uplifting, inspiring, and emotional. Many show a stark contrast between previous hospital births and what they experienced at the farm. Following the birth stories, Ina May describes the birth process in all its natural glory.
On Babies: Read as needed, but not during pregnancy. You won’t remember anything you read before your baby is born, and what you do remember won’t be what you need.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
My bible, my best resource. I am not a postpartum doula, and those who are might have other suggestions for reading up on sleep and newborns. As a mom, however, I recommend this book to everyone who has a baby and has questions about sleep. Weissbluth sections off the book by age and sleep issue. Read the chapter that pertains to where you’re at that week, day, or moment, then put it down.
The 4th Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
Full disclosure: I have never read this. BUT, the concepts within are brilliant and necessary for anyone who has given birth. Johnson focuses on the postpartum body and what we can do to heal ourselves, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally after birth. In particular, clients and friends who suffer from anxiety and depression have told me how much this book helped them postpartum.
Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding with Confidence at Every Stage by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC
Breastfeeding is one of the biggest stressors for new moms. Kaplan’s book offers practical positioning tips for mom and baby, the physiology of breastfeeding, nutrition information, as well as troubleshooting. Hands on help is usually what I recommend to new moms, from either a community lactation counselor or a fully certified lactation consultant (it sounds like they’re the same, but consultants have extensive training and have to pass state boards). However, for a quick at-home reference, this one is the best.
Did I miss anything? Comment below or get in touch if there’s a book you think I should add to the list!