Pregnancy Book Must Haves by oykristen // 1. The Birth Partner by Patty Simkin // 2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin // 3. Active Birth by Janet Balaskas // 4. Birthing from Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz // 5. Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize // 6. Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan // 7. The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg // 8. Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam // 9. Raising Baby Green by Alan Greene // 10. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp // 11. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman // 12. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba //
Pregnancy Book Must Haves.
I might have over-read in preparation for labor/delivery. But I was so curious to know everything I possibly could about all the different methods, techniques, schools of thought, and others' experiences in having babies. What can I say. My nightstand was littered with these reads for months, and I am still reading a few of these now. The pregnancy is over, the baby is here, and oh my, there is much more to be learned!
These are some of the standout books I read while I grew a baby in my belly. Most were compelling, some were monotonous, a few were funny, a few were too serious, but all of them helped me prepare for my intro to labor, delivery and motherhood. I should note that most of these books have a natural approach, meaning they were based around the conviction and case for an un-medicated birth experience. I've included notes for a few of them, now that I've actually HAD my baby and can speak to what was helpful in properly preparing me for the unknown. If you are expecting, I hope this reading guide will help you as you prep for your little one!
1. The Birth Partner by Patty Simkin
This wonderful read was recommended to Stevie by our doula, Liz. She is so rad. I didn't read this book, because it was for him, but he actually read it. And sometimes read it out loud to me. Which says a lot.
2. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This lady. Is the original hippie midwife. This guide to childbirth tells story after story of pain-free, fearless natural childbirth experiences from real women. It kinda gets you all jazzed up, if you're interested in pursuing a more natural route for labor and delivery. I'll admit, some of it is a bit too crunchy-granola for me, but I still appreciate the heart of this woman. She's pretty fierce.
*Note: This book ended up being my favorite pregnancy read and I would recommend this to anyone seeking an un-medicated birth. It was encouraging, yet realistic, and offered so much helpful information about how to have a natural childbirth.
3. Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
Hahhaha this is a classic, natural childbirth book, naked pictures and all. My big sis lent me this one. This book focuses on a few different breathing techniques that are useful during labor, and provides a full pregnancy stretching guide, as well. It's a bit 80's, but another great supplemental guide and case for natural labor/delivery.
4. Birthing from Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz
This is by FAR the crunchiest of all childbirth books. But I loved it! Yes, there might be a few too many encouraging assignments to create "birth art" with your partner (you know, coloring pictures together of your birth-related hopes and dreams.) But there are also a ton of emotional/mental healing exercises for women who have had previous traumatic pregnancy or birth experiences. I really got a lot out of it, even though this is my first baby. If you're interested in going natural but you have some fear about pursuing it due to your past experiences, this is an excellent, positive, helpful read.
*Note: There is a lot of interactive emphasis encouraged in this book. If you are a hands-on learner, this is a great choice for you. Be prepared to engage in art exercises, journaling and out-loud processing with your birth partner.
5. Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize
This woman has had a bunch of kids. She hasn't had pain in any of her childbirths. She outlines the reasons she believes that every woman can have the experiences she's had - she provides her stories, biblical scripture to back up why she believes what she believes, and some prayers at the end of the book that you can utilize during pregnancy/labor/delivery. Again, it might seem far-fetched, but this woman has LIVED these experiences. Can't argue with someone's experience.
*Note: This book could set unrealistic expectations, as I came to learn.
6. Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan
Oh hypnobirthing. This is the method that I used to prepare for my labor/delivery process. Basically, Hypnobirthing teaches women how to expel all pre-conceived fears they might have about giving birth. It particularly focuses on retraining the way you think about childbirth (hence, the "hypno"), utilizing specific breathing techniques and empowering a "birth partner" as your support person in the labor/delivery room. The "hypno" part seems to freak a lot of people out, but it shouldn't. It's very focused on training oneself to deeply relax.
Note: We also took a hypnobirthing course, which really helped us activate the tools outlined in the book. I also feel compelled to mention that I didn't really find myself using these tools once I was actually in labor, but I believe all the prep work we did with this method made a big difference in my experience, so I definitely recommend it.
7. The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg
This is an awesome, up-to-date baby name book. It doesn't just give names and their meanings, it also gives rank of popularity, where the name has been trending in pop culture, and similar/related names. We already had Everett's name picked out, but there were some great contenders listed that we considered.
8. Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam
I started it. I haven't finished it. But apparently this book is like, a really big deal.
9. Raising Baby Green by Alan Greene
This isn't a pregnancy book, but a lifestyle guide on how to raise, well, a green baby. This book is THOROUGH. It covers everything you need to know about raising a baby in a toxic-free, organic environment. Cleaning products, types of paint to use in your home decor, cribs and gliders and lunch boxes and baby food blenders and recipes and clothing... I could go on and on. It's all in this book.
*Note: This book can be kind of annoying. But it is a super thorough guide so I had to include it.
10. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
LOOOOOOOVE. This book is so great. Got a crying, colic-y child? Have no fear. This book is here. And it's not just a guide on how to shut your child up. Excuse me, I meant, quiet the precious gift from God. But it also references tons of research on why this method works. And for someone like my husband, who trusts the words/advice/research of a Doctor above all, he really appreciated Dr. Karp's reasoning behind his method.
*Note: This method WORKS. At least with our baby.
11. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
This is just a funsie. This New York Times author moved to France and had a baby, then realized that French children are infinitely more polite and better behaved than American children. So she sought to discover why. It's a fun and interesting read. And a nice break from some of the more serious child-rearing books out there.
12. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba
Seriously, Jessica Alba has GOT to stop stealing all of my money. Her company, The Honest Co., is a line item in our budget these days. We are such suckers. BUT. It all started with this read. This book outlines her journey in pursuing eco-friendly, healthy, non-toxic choices for her personal life and her family. Yes, she's an actress with a business (insert critical emoji of your choice.) But her story is one that I connected with - don't we all want the best for our children? This book is a great guide on how to make healthy, clean, organic choices for your family - included are kid-approved recipes, seasonal food guides, eco-friendly cleaning tips & recommendations, organic hair/makeup/skincare routines - and it's all easy, NOT super time-consuming and affordable.
Any books that you would recommend to someone who is expecting a baby? Include in the comments section below!