As a doula, and general birth nerd, I have read stacks and stacks of books pertaining to pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. These three books are some of my all time favorites, and also happen to be the three books that I recommend to clients who are considering having a natural, or unmedicated, birth.
1. Pushed by Jennifer Block
This book should be required reading not only for expecting families but for anyone working with pregnant people in the medical system- doulas, midwives, obstetricians, and nurses included. Pushed explores modern maternity care in America and examines its many shortcomings. This book explains the cultural shift away from midwifery, home birth, and physiological birth and towards hospital births, interventions, and Cesarean births. It is easy to pretend that there are not major flaws in our current medical system, but the truth is that it is essential that families understand what type of system they are placing their trust in when they choose to birth in a medical setting.
2. The 4th Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
You are most likely familiar with the idea of the first, second, and third trimesters in relation to your pregnancy. However, the fourth trimester (the time following the arrival of your little one) is as equally important as the other three trimesters. After all, when a baby is born, a mother is too. Traditionally, cultures have held, supported, and nourished new mothers during this time. Kimberly Ann Johnson makes a case for reviving these traditional practices in a modern world. This book explores the complexities of and teaches you to prepare for the time following your child’s arrival.
3. Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
If you are planning on having a natural birth, this is the book for you! This book gives you the tools you need to prepare for a natural birth, as well as non-medical pain management techniques that can be utilized during your labor. Some readers have claimed this book is a little “hippy-dippy” for their taste, and while this book is somewhat unconventional, it is overall an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in learning about the physiological process of natural birth. This book is empowering and honest, and I recommend it to every client who expresses an interest in an unmedicated birth.
Is there a book that you read in preparation for your natural birth that you found to be particularly helpful? Do you have any thoughts on the books listed above?
Let us know in the comments!