Books For Birthing


A Positive Approach

Like most women. when I confirmed our pregnancy, I just wanted to crack open a good  book and start reading. Because reading is sexy. And sexy is the only cure for nausea. (LOL!) Just kidding. We can talk about nausea another time. Right now we will stick our noses in some birth books.

Oddly, I had already read a couple of childbirth books about ten years before I got pregnant. This was back when my sister was pregnant with with her first child and I was determined to both attend the birth and to understand the process. So on her “baby moon” with me in Mexico, I enjoyed reading about the Bradley Method of Childbirth and flipping through several mid-wife books while gazing at the Riviera Maya.

But, really, a user’s manual has the greatest value to the end user and particularly when you put the item to use. After reading the books’ for the birth of my nephew (and then missing the birth by one day!), I was sympathetic to the process but still not wholly interested. My how things changed when I got pregnant. In fact, I remarked that I knew I was pregnant for sure because I was so interested in reading all about pregnancy.

Reading Is Sexy

I carry a Multnomah County Library card and I use it. In particular, I like to research books that could be of value in any given subject, check them out from the Library and after reading, decide if it is worth having that book in my personal library. We live really close to the world famous Powell’s Bookstore or Amazon is always open. This proved an excellent method when deciding on my pregnancy and birth book choices. There were more than a handful that didn’t make the cut. Which amounts to savings for all the things that we think babies need. In my case that meant high quality supplements and grass fed meats.

Farm Stock

I’m not sure which side of the natural or unnatural fence you are on, indeed pregnancy can help you to decide and labor can seal the deal. Full disclosure: I am firmly planted on the natural side of just about any subject and pregnancy was no exception. But, I respect your right right to do what you are comfortable with. My experience has been a truly, lovely natural one. But I do not want to condemn anyone or make them feel any less of a birther or woman or a mother if they don’t do things naturally. I happen to be bred from “farm stock” as my brother-in-law so eloquently phrases it. We are born for birthing.

I heard an interview on Fresh Air with Jessi Klein, a writer on Inside Amy Schumer, about her birth experience and a skit called better for the baby commenting on the “competitive birthing” that is going around in some circles. It’s truly hilarious. And it is not at all what I intend to incite on these pages.

A Labor Of Love

Do what you want. Live and love your life. If you set out on this journey with plans to do it one way and things go a different route, that’s life. Which is really what this birthing thing is all about right? Living. Both you and the child living through the process.

Of course, there are times that the unnatural childbirth, although resulting in a live birth, leaves the parents feeling robbed of what they imagined. And, in that case, if you can, try again. If you can’t, switch your focus to the things you can have a measure of control over – like raising the child the way you want and having a healthy family. Either way, my pregnancy and delivery story can be inspiring or just entertaining. Whatever. I own it and I’m happy to share it.

Back to the books. Here are the books I found most helpful in the order I think they should be read:

the better baby book by Lana Asprey

It’s in your genes. (And Grandma’s too) Follow this modern approach to diet and supplements.

Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, M.D.

Bradley makes so much sense. Helps you to work as a team to accomplish a healthy, happy birth.  


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

If you want a natural birth, Ina is your girl. She’s amazing. So inspiring. Read with a tissue nearby and get ready to feel powerful.

The Birth Book by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.

This husband/wife book has a comprehensive approach to both natural and medicated births. They are balanced. I particularly liked the counseling on emotional road blocks & hearing how other women describe labor.


The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International

This is good stuff to have in mind. Can make the learning curve easier to manage is you read in advance.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon

Learn how to relax, push, breath, focus and enjoy your mates’ involvement in the birth of your child.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg

This is an easy book to find at thrift stores. Her no-nonsense approach is great. Liked learning about different types of babies. And the charts were awesome is getting a schedule going. But, read before baby comes.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.

Another easy thrift store fine. But priceless. Learn to soothe your newborn’s immature nervous system during the “fourth trimester”.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

This is pretty important. I was gifted this upon June’s birth and was able to power read it in a couple of weeks while nursing. You will learn that babies get melatonin at 8 weeks. Try to implement the ideas then.

Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan

Purely inspirational. Describes waves in vivid detail. Easy to imagine yourself as riding a wave while enduring a contraction.