Today I’m sharing the best books for natural birth! Natural childbirth was never something I thought I would do. Basically, I was absolutely terrified to give birth. But at 23 I found myself pregnant and preparing for birth. My husband and I were married in June of 2010, in August we found out I was pregnant, and then in November my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. So, to talk about a rollercoaster of events.
However, our daughter was born the day after his last chemo treatment in May of 2011 via cesarean section. He has been cancer free to this day! But I was completely devastated, because the need for the c-section wasn’t an emergency. She spent a week in the NICU even though she was a healthy 8lb 8oz baby born at 41 weeks. My first birth experience was so traumatic for me and as a first time mom. It wasn’t until we were expecting our second child almost 3.5 years later that I was determined to have a natural birth.
PIN BEST BOOKS FOR NATURAL BIRTH FOR LATER
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Why Choose Natural Childbirth?
Why should you even consider a natural birth? Particularly, in today’s society, we’ve lost the practice of natural childbirth, we’ve forgotten that childbirth is a completely natural process. After all a woman’s body was made to give birth. I understand that natural birth isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s important to know you have options in your birth experience and that there are benefits to natural birth.
Some benefits of natural birth are:
- Easier recovery
- Free movement to work with your body
- Decreased risk for interventions
- Breastfeeding is typically easier
- Helps baby’s gut to be healthy
- It’s cheaper
How to Plan for a Natural Birth
These 6 important things can help you to have the best birth experience possible.
Having the right support will undoubtedly have a huge impact on your birthing experience. This includes your spouse, partner, doula, and even your care provider. If your birth team doesn’t support your wishes it will eventually leave you feeling doubtful.
Your care provider is a huge factor in your prenatal and birth experience. Whether you plan to have an OBGYN, in hospital midwife, or homebirth midwife, it matters. You need to interview care providers. Ask questions to find out how well they support your wishes. I switched prenatal care providers 3 times before I found a team of in hospital midwives that supported my decision to have a natural VBAC birth for our second child.
Pregnant women need support to feel safe, there’s no room for doubt when the labor pain begins.
Reading is free and easy. Get your hands on some of these best books for natural birth and start filling your mind with positive experiences and stories. Podcasts and blog posts are another great way to read about the joys of natural childbirth from other mothers.
Surprisingly, I think sometimes we forget that there’s endless resources at our fingertips. Find a local birth course near you. Typically, if you’re using a home birth or hospital midwife they will have resources for you. About 9 years ago, my husband and I took an 8 week birth course a local business was sponsoring with a childbirth educator. This course was completely different from the hospital class we had with our first. It was much more informative and we felt better equipped for a natural birth.
Doulas are non-negotiable for me now. I didn’t even know what a doula was when I was pregnant with my first. But I’ve had one for every birth since and will have one with number 5 that’s due in just a few weeks.
Having our doula with us brings many benefits, such as, they know the birth process, can help to follow the birth plan, offer additional support if your other support person needs a break, switch positions and more.
Avoiding unnecessary medical interventions plays a huge role in having an unmedicated birth. Some of these interventions may include being induced, breaking your waters, epidural, or movement restrictions.
Although medical interventions are sometimes necessary, they can also keep you from progressing in labor. Always discuss these options with your trusted medical professional.
I was induced with my first at 41 weeks because my water was leaking, after 12 hours of labor I was labeled as “failure to dilate” and taken for a c-section. I was again induced with my second at 42 weeks and 3 days because I wasn’t experiencing any signs of labor. Although I had a successful, unmedicated VBAC it was my longest labor of almost 30 hours. My spontaneous births have been quicker and easier.
Lastly, create a birth plan with the help of your birth team. But keep in mind this is simply a plan to lay out your wishes for your birth. At times you may go off of your plan and that’s okay. Birth plans can help answer questions you might not even know you have. They also help you and your birth team to be on the same page for your upcoming birth.
Natural Childbirth Books
These books for natural birth are listed in alphabetical order. But I did include my top 3 favorites! And I have not read every single book on this list. Some I have read and others have come recommended to me by friends, family, doulas, and midwives.
My Top 3 Favorites
- Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation, by Pam England
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, by Penny Simkin
The Best Books for Natural Birth
- A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want, by Diana Korte
- Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally, by Janet Balaskas
- An Easier Childbirth: A Mothers Guide to Birthing Normally, by Gayle Peterson
- Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, by Tina Cassidy
- Birth Without Fear: The Judgement-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum, by January Harshe
- Childbirth Without Fear, by Grantly Dick-Read
- Creating a Joyful Birth Experience: Developing a Partnership With Your Unborn Child for Healthy Pregnancy, Labor, and Early Parenting, by Lucia Capacchione
- Gentle Birth Choices, by Barbara Harper
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Sarah Buckley
- Hypnobirthing: The Morgan Method, by Marie Mongan
- Mindful Birthing, by Nancy Bardacke
- Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, by Susan McCutcheon
- Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds, by Doula Cynthia Gabriel
- Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience, by Elizabeth Davis
- Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, by Jennifer Block
- The Birth Book, by William Sears
- The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All other Labor Companions, by Penny Simkin
- The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, by Sheila Kitzinger
- The Natural Pregnancy Book: Your Complete Guide to a Safe, Organic Pregnancy and Childbirth with Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices, by Aviva Romm
- The Official Lamaze Guide, by Judith Lothian
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer
How to Use This Booklist
So, one of the easiest and best ways to prepare for a natural birth is to read. There are so many helpful books to help expectant mothers prepare for this special time of bringing life into the world. But don’t let this list frighten you, you don’t need to read every single one of them to have the best birthing experience.
This list of books is to make you aware of all the options you have available. I recommend reading the descriptions of each book to help you decide which ones are right for you. If you can only choose one I highly recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Her book was the most influential book I read during my birth preparation for our second child. Ina May’s book contains not only practical advice but has many inspiring birth stories.
Places to Shop for Natural Birth Books
Though I linked Amazon links, simply because it’s easier, my favorite place to shop for books is Thriftbooks. I can usually find what I’m looking for, the prices are great, fast shipping, and the used books have been in great condition. If you want to try them out, sign up for their reading rewards program, spend $30 and earn a free book! You’ll continue to earn free books as you earn points when shopping!
The best natural birth method is the one that works for you. This comes down to each individual mother. What works best for one, won’t be the best for another. The best option would be to read about several methods, practice a few, and talk with other mothers for wisdom and advice.
This is another question that will have a different answer from each woman you talk to. It will even vary from birth to birth. A common answer would be going through “transition”. Transition takes place during the last part of active labor.
As long as there are not any complications for mom or baby, typically natural birth is a healthier option.
It’s best to stick with positive and uplifting stories. Any of the books listed above are great options to get started.
More Resources for Natural Birth
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, by Nancy Mohrbacher
- The Breastfeeding Book, by William Sears
- The Nursing Mother’s Companion, by Kathleen Huggins
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Diane Wiessinger
Whether you’re planning a home birth, hospital birth, or to give birth at a birth center, I hope this booklist is helpful to you. May you have the kind of birth you dream of.