I've been doing a little reflecting on my pregnancy and I've started putting away some of my pregnancy books and I thought I would make a few notes here about what books I found helpful. There were some that I did mean to read but just ran out of time.
Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra
I really liked this book. At first I found it to be a little strange (one of the early exercises asked you to imagine yourself inside your womb holding your baby and I found myself laughing at the image it conjured) but in the end I found real benefit from the positive tone and uplifting exercises. This book offered some great suggestions for coping with the physical and emotional changes that accompany pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
This was my go-to book whenever I had a concern or issue I wanted to look up. Penny Simkin is great a taking a pretty neutral stance on birth. She has information in there for both the homebirth setting and hospital setting. I never really sat down and read this book instead I just kept coming back to it from 8 weeks onward.
Birthing from Within by Pam England
This book was an interesting read. I think it is more geared towards women who have a lot a fear and anxiety about childbirth. I didn't really feel that I fell into that category so some of the exercises in this book seemed a little pointless to me. I did enjoy reading the chapter on dealing with the pain of childbirth. I thought she offered a lot of good tips for coping with the fear that accompanies pain.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This is one of the very first books I read in regards to a more natural approach to childbirth. I think it is really hard these days to find women with positive birth stories. When I first started investigating midwives and homebirth I put this book on the top of my list to read. The first half of the book is a collection of really inspiring and empowering stories of natural births. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about birthing in a natural way.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
This is a great book to share with your birth partner. I left it out for Jon to read but he never really got into it. I ended up reading through it and folding down the corners on the pages I thought had the most valuable information and asked him to read one of those sections each day. I choose the topics on birth positions and different touch techniques that I wanted him to try. This book is a great companion to birth classes. It just takes the info taught there to the next level. I think it is a good book for boosting the confidence of a partner who is about to attend their first birth.
Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding by Dr. Jack Newman
Again this is a book that I didn't really read cover-to-cover but I'm using as a reference. I don't really think this book should be read cover-to-cover because I feel it could increase a mother's anxiety about breastfeeding. I found that reading about potential problems actually made me feel really nervous about nursing rather than confident that we could do it. Instead I put the book down and came back to it for tips on sore nipples and painfully engorged breasts. I would recommend any breastfeeding mother have this book on hand.
There were a few more books that I read but I don't really feel are worth mentioning. I think there is a fine line between reading to expand your options and open your mind and reading too much and creating anxiety. Choose carefully what kind of books you read during pregnancy, try to choose ones with a neutral stand on birth (ones that don't discourage homebirth or hospital birth) and ones with a positive tone.