As a mother of five children and a DONA-trained birth doula, I’ve read a lot of books on pregnancy, birthing, and caring for children. I chose the 7 books on this list because not only are they fantastic resources but they might be titles you’ve never heard of.
My resource library I offer to my doula clients is always growing, so I’d love to hear all about your favorite books in the comments. So don’t forget to tell me about them before you go!
About the book: Experienced doula, Lindsey Bliss, shows you how to prepare physically and mentally for every element of having a child, from pregnancy to fourth trimester in The Doula’s Guide to Empowering Your Birth.
Lindsey Bliss, who has assisted as a doula at hundreds of births and is herself a mother of seven, reveals here all the wisdom and advice that doulas share with the new mothers who hire them.
The Doula’s Guide to Empowering Your Birth covers the period from pregnancy through labor and birth to fourth trimester healing. The focus, however, is on preparing for birth–including topics like how to pick the right childbirth class and the right birthing method. You’ll also see how to assemble the team of professionals, family members, and friends who will support you through labor and birth, and how to approach last-minute decisions about pain medications and cesarean sections.
Bliss’s tone throughout is at once authoritative and confident as well as warm and encouraging. Her concern in her practice as well as in these pages is to listen to and help secure each new mom’s own personal vision of a birthing experience that is safe, fulfilling, and meaningful.
2. Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth by Grantly Dick-Read
About the book: In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks every possible root cause of western woman’s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy. Essential reading for all parents-to-be, childbirth educators, midwives and obstetricians! (Foreword by Ina May Gaskin)
3. Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy by Latham Thomas
About the book: In Mama Glow, maternity lifestyle maven Latham Thomas shares the tips and techniques to support a blissful journey to motherhood. She shows you how to make room for your pregnancy, assess your current diet, banish toxic habits, and incorporate yoga to keep your mind, body, and spirit in balance.
Throughout, you’ll get tips to help reduce stress; alleviate common discomforts; demystify birth plans, labor coaches, and midwives; whip up pampering treats like homemade shea butter and coffee sugar scrub; and indulge in over 50 delicious, nutrient-rich recipes to nourish both you and your “bun.” Mama Glow also features a postpartum wellness plan to guide you back to your prebaby body, troubleshoot breastfeeding problems, and embrace your abundant new life.
Mama Glow includes:
• Illustrated exercises for a fit, fabulous, and comfortable pregnancy
• Fleshed-out cleansing programs to boost fertility
• A simple formula for deconstructing those crazy cravings
• Yoga sequences designed for prepregnancy, each trimester, and postpartum
• Checklists for your prenatal pantry, finding a birth coach, and packing your birth bag
• Glow foods to help you snap back to your fab prebaby body
As your certified glow pilot, Latham will guide you through every stage of your pregnancy, giving you practical advice to make your journey a joyful and vibrant one.
About the book: HypnoBirthing® has gained momentum around the globe as a positive and empowering method of childbirth. Here’s why: HypnoBirthing helps women to become empowered by developing an awareness of the instinctive birthing capability of their bodies. It greatly reduces the pain of labor and childbirth; frequently eliminates the need for drugs; reduces the need for caesarian surgery or other doctor-controlled birth interventions; and it also shortens birthing and recovery time, allowing for better and earlier bonding with the baby, which has been proven to be vital to the mother-child bond. What’s more, parents report that their infants sleep better and feed more easily when they haven’t experienced birth trauma.
HypnoBirthing founder Marie Mongan knows from her own four births that it is not necessary for childbirth to be a terribly painful experience. In this book she shows women how the Mongan Method works and how parents they can take control of the greatest and most important event of their lives.
So, why is birth such a traumatic event for so many women? And why do more than 40% of births now end in caesarian section, the highest percentage in history? The answer is simple: because our culture teaches women to fear birth as a painful and unsettling experience. Fear causes three physical reactions in the body―tightening of the muscles, reduced blood flow to the birthing muscles, and the release of certain hormones―which increase the pain and discomfort of childbirth. This is not hocus-pocus this is science.
About the book: Discover tried-and-tested techniques to help you relax during labour, so that you can work with your body for an empowering, positive birth.
Birth is a natural and normal event and, while it can be unpredictable, this book will show you how you can make it a gentle and enjoyable experience. In The Calm Birth Method, hypnobirthing expert Suzy Ashworth helps you to build confidence in your body and its abilities, and shares practical techniques to support you so that, no matter what happens, you feel prepared.
Walking you and your birth partner through the whole process of birth preparation, Suzy explores:
• Why many women feel so scared of giving birth and how to eliminate these fears during pregnancy
• How relaxing your mind and body during birth transforms your physiology
• Practical tools and techniques to promote deep relaxation and mindfulness
• How to unify birth partners and care providers, to ensure the birthing environment is stress-free and has the most conducive set up for a calm and relaxing birth
• Breathing techniques and visualizations to help with the sensations of birth
Take the power back into your own hands so that you can learn to trust your body, and look forward to welcoming your child into the world with confidence.
About the book: Since the original publication of The Birth Partner, new mothers’ mates, friends, and relatives and doulas (professional birth assistants) have relied on Penny Simkin’s guidance in caring for the new mother from the last few weeks of pregnancy through the early postpartum period. Fully revised in its fourth edition, The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide for preparing to help a woman through childbirth and the essential manual to have at hand during the event.
This completely updated edition includes thorough information on:
• Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun
• Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way
• Epidurals and other medications for labor
• Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain
• Cesarean birth and complications that may require it
• Breastfeeding and newborn care
• And much more
For the partner who wishes to be truly helpful in the birthing room, this book is indispensable.
7. Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein
About the book: The national C-section rate is at an all-time high of 31 percent. Are all these C-sections necessary, or are some of them done simply for the sake of convenience? Inductions seem to be the norm, but are they always needed? Today, expectant mothers are often left feeling powerless, as their instincts are replaced by drugs and routine medical procedures.
What you are about to discover is that you have a choice, and you have the power to plan the kind of birth that’s right for you-whether it is at a birth center, a hospital, or at home. In YOUR BEST BIRTH, internationally known advocates of informed choice Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein inspire women to take back the birth experience, with essential advice on:
• Positive and negative effects of epidurals, Pitocin, and other drugs and interventions
• Inducing vs. allowing your labor to progress naturally
• The truth behind our country’s staggering C-section rate
• Assembling your birth team and creating your birth plan.
With chapters such as “Obstetricians: Finding Dr. Right,” “Epidurals: You Haven’t Got Time for the Pain,” and “Electronic Monitors: Reading between the Lines,” Lake and Epstein will encourage you to consider whatever your doctor, mother, and best friend may suggest in a new light. The book also includes inspiring birth stories, including those from well-known personalities, such as Laila Ali and Cindy Crawford. Packed with crucial advice from childbirth professionals, and delivered in a down-to-earth, engaging voice, YOUR BEST BIRTH is sure to renew your confidence and put the control back where it belongs: with parents-to-be!
I also sourced my Blissed In Facebook Community for their favorite books, and I’m including seven more of their picks right here. Just click on each title for more information on Amazon.
• Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke
• The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
• Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
• Pregnancy, Birth and the Newborn by PennySimkin
• Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation by Gurmukh
• The Mama Natural by Genevieve Howland
• Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
BONUS RESOURCE: Motherhood can be stressful, even before the baby arrives! That’s why I turned one of my favorite live talks into a digital workshop for women who feel overwhelmed by everything on their plate. Get all the details about Managing the Motherload: A Powerful Practice for Overcoming Overwhelm here.
I hope you find the books on this list as helpful as I have. If you pick one up, let me know how you liked it! I’m always excited to meet new friends in my private Facebook community that you can click to join here.
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BexLife.com and the Blissed In® wellness movement, is a mother-of-five, TV host, meditation guide, author, speaker, birth doula, fitness and yoga instructor, and popular social media personality. Her first book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (Hay House 2017), is available now, wherever books are sold.
NOTE: Each about the book section is shared from the book page on Amazon.com. These are not my personal reviews. However, I highly recommend every book on this list.
DISCLAIMER: This post/video is designed for educational and/or informational purposes only and should not be used in any other manner. This information is not intended to substitute informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. A consultation with your healthcare professional is the proper method to address your health concerns. You are encouraged to consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.