Like every subject out there, the number of books on pregnancy and childbirth can be overwhelming. I've found over the past year that there a few I continually recommend to people based on what type of material they want to read and how much information they really want to know. The four listed above are among my favorites, and here's a rundown on each of them and why: Taking Charge of Your Fertility: Whether you are thinking about pregnancy, have been trying for some time, or you are already pregnant, this book is absolutely wonderful. It's more than simply learning a natural method of birth control (which we all know means 'preggers whether or not planned', right? Not necessarily! We practiced this method for 3 years before 'trying' and I knew the exact day I got pregnant because I understood the info from this book - perhaps more on that another day). It teaches you how to learn your body's cycle and when it's even possible to actually make a baby. It offers an alternative to the chemicals, hormones and crazy side affects you may be experiencing on birth control. It goes into detail about how your body is created and what all is going on so you can feel more in control and know that you're really not crazy a few days each month. It's a great starting place to better understand the entire birth cycle that begins before conception. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth: This book is a good option if you want facts, statistics and heady material. Henci Goer is an award-winning medical writer and is an acknowledged expert on evidence-based maternity care. She covers everything from induction of labor, VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), and more to help you make informed decisions based on practical advice. Again, it is heady but it is full of good information if you are ready to dive into the specifics and be reassured that birth is not meant to be a fearful experience. The Birth Partner: This is the book I recommend most often. The information is well laid out and written in an easy to follow format so you don't leave feeling overwhelmed or confused. It's perfect for both mom and dad/partner because it includes specifics on labor and birth, including the medical side as well as coping mechanisms for experiencing birth without medical intervention. In my opinion, this book most closely resembles most of what you should learn in a birthing class, and it expresses the importance of having labor support (which is so very important!). Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: Written by one of the leading midwives in the US, Ina May's guide includes pages upon pages of birth stories as well as statistics and information about birth. Before I recommend this book to someone I preface with the fact that she is ''hippie and homely'' in her approach. This means some of the birth stories may be uncomfortable to read. Don't let that scare you away! Every person's birth experience is unique and very personal. One of the best things about this book is that it gives us a look into those personal stories and allows the opportunity to see birth as normal and safe. Whether our experience is similar to someone else's isn't the point. It's that we all have a story to share, and what a beautiful thing to learn from each other in this way. I think reading other birth stories is one of the best ways to prepare for your own birth.
I hope this list helps a bit in figuring out the best resources for your birth. If you have any questions about these books, or if you are thinking about reading another book and want to ask about it please do so! Feel free to share your favorite resource in the comments section for others to know about, too. Enjoy the day. xo