These are the books I was recommended from various people to read during my pregnancy. I wanted to share this list with you in case you know of anyone expecting or you're interested in the childbirth process.
1. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
This book was so influential in my decision to have a home birth. Even if home birth is not an option for you because of comfort, finances or risk factors you should read this book. That way you will be aware of everything that goes into a hospital or home birth. Everything in it is cited from medical studies and medical journal with lots of emphasis on how to be prepared for what might happen in a hospital. Statistics for Cesarean rates, complications of labor, how pitocin, epidurals and the like usually affect your birth outcome. I really really recommended this book for a first time mom. Giving birth is really scary and overwhelming, but if you know what you're getting yourself into ahead of time you feel confident in your choices during the labor and delivery process.
2. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin
There is a newer edition to this book which I have not read, but what I loved about this book was it broke down each event or stage of what to expect, for the process of labor. Not at a hospital or at home or birthing center, but in terms of what you're body does and what your doctor or midwife will do in certain situations. Perfect information for writing a birthing plan or for being informed before the event. Very important information for any parent expecting a baby (both mother and father) especially for a first time mom. I was recommended this book by a doula in Washington. She read it while pregnant and it was required for one of her doula classes. She is now training to be a midwife.
3. Active Birth by Janet Balaskas
I loved reading this book. It has lots of really great information about positions to take during the labor process. How to comfort and work with your body as opposed to lying in a bed writing in pain. I found a lot of the information in this book helpful during my labor and I like the stretches and exercises mentioned for during the pregnancy. This is a great book for any mom who wants to avoid drugs during her delivery, and even for a mom planning on getting an epidural, this book will help with the very early stages of labor, and how to deal with pre-labor and practice labor pains.
4. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (not pictured) by Ina May Gaskin
Unfortunately, I couldn't find this book while at a bookstore in Seattle, so I waited to buy it, and by the time I finished reading all my other books I had no desire to read another. But I really enjoyed her guide to breastfeeding (below) and wish I would have read this. It was recommended by that same friend in Washington, and I know my midwife has it on her bookshelf at her birthing center. If you have the time to read and the money to buy this I would recommend anything by Ina May Gaskin.
5. Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
I found this book SO helpful during my first two weeks of breastfeeding. Before giving birth I met with a group of other pregnant moms and a lactation consultant (if you are pregnant you should do this! so helpful) and so I knew mostly what to expect. But I noticed myself asking my mom and older sister some questions during the first few days of Sonja's life, some feeding sessions were really painful and I was engorged. My mom asked if I had a breastfeeding book and I was like, "oh yeah, I forgot about it, never had a chance to read it." She brought it into my room from the living room and I read it front to back in 3 days. I learned how to hand express, what was normal, what wasn't, how to properly store milk, and so much more. Really helpful info!
6. After the Baby's Birth a Woman's Way to Wellness by Robin Lim
Full of info about lactation, pelvic health, recipes, nutritional needs, exercises for you and baby, helpful herbs, bonding, postpartum depression, and partner relationship changes. I'm still working my way through this one, but I think it's really beneficial to have a resource for the mother, a rare focus once the baby is out, baby gets all the attention, but moms need support and guides too. They've just stated the lifelong journey of motherhood and although at times it can be overwhelming, I've found this information so helpful, sometimes I think parenting is easier than I've ever expected!