- HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method- This is my favorite childbirth book I've read. It's where I've drawn most of my information (and inspiration) for the beautiful, pain-free birth I'm striving for. It's given me confidence in my body and my ability to give birth to my daughter. It also emphasizes your birth partner's role. If you're contemplating a natural childbirth (at home or in a hospital) I highly recommend this book.
- Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally- This book has been very helpful. I love that the author gives detailed exercises to prepare your body for childbirth. She also shares several different positions to help you while you labor. Active Birth is all about the non-traditional way (traditional being flat on your back in a bed) to give birth to your child. I now have so many ideas of positions to try when I'm breathing through contractions and trying to get comfortable while my daughter moves into the right position and prepares to enter the world.
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth- This book is filled with inspirational stories of women who have birthed their babies naturally. I absolutely love to hear such positive stories because it gives me confidence and hope for my own childbirth. When you're trying to focus on the positive and keep the worries at bay these stories will help you to do that.
- Spiritual Midwifery- This is another Ina May book and it was great too. It focuses more on home births (unfortunately that is just not an option for me but I wish it was) so it wasn't quite as helpful as some of the others. However, the beautiful, positive stories shared in this book were wonderful. A positive attitude and positive outlook on childbirth can make all the difference. This book encourages women to have an active say in their pregnancy and childbirth and also talks about including your partner.
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering- This book is wonderful. The author discusses what she calls undisturbed birth (allowing your body to do what it knows) and shows how healthy and safe it can be. She shares positive experiences from herself and others. But what I really loved is she doesn't stop with the birth. She continues on to talk about breastfeeding, sleeping, and other issues new parents face. After reading this book I realized it's time to start buying books on parenting too and not just pregnancy/childbirth.
- What To Expect When You're Expecting- This was my least favorite book I read. I enjoyed the details on the baby's growth and progression. I liked seeing what to expect from my body week to week. But I hated that it talked so much about everything that could possibly go wrong in a pregnancy. I felt that it was almost meant to scare or make you paranoid. The vast majority of pregnant women never have the complications that are detailed in this book. If you do have a complication the chances are very high that it's through talking to your doctor that you'll discover these things and not from reading a book that will scare you. If you are a first time mother reading this book please do it cautiously. Don't scare yourself into thinking there are 100 things wrong with your baby just because they're covered in detail in this book. The worry will do you no good.
The recurring theme you'll probably notice (with the exception of What To Expect) is the active, natural approach I'm hoping to take in Baby Girl's birth. However, I honestly believe that even if you're planning an induction, an epidural, or if you're in need of a c-secrion (which I may have to have) these books will be helpful to you. Even if you have these procedures the techniques taught in these books will help you get to the point where you have your epidural. No one goes in to have their baby without feeling some sort of pressure or pain (yay contractions!). So up until you receive the medication, you'll still need help breathing through it.
The second recurring theme these books emphasize is the role of your birth partner. It can be your spouse or significant other, your mother, your sister, your friend. No matter who it is, the role of your birth partner is important. Aaron has been an active participant in my pregnancy, has gone through in-home childbirth classes with me, and is fully prepared to be my active partner during the birth of our daughter. He's learned relaxation techniques to help me labor and comfort measures to make it as pain-free as possible. This is the beauty of it all, I don't have to do this alone! I am incredibly grateful that he's been so willing to jump in head first with me because this is a brand new experience for both of us.
I hope that these books will be of some help to my fellow soon-to-be moms out there who are looking for a little information. If you've read any particularly great books on childbirth or parenting I'd love to know what they are. I'm always open to learning more! Also, I wrote on my baby blog about my birth affirmations. The power of positive thinking is huge.