As my due date gets closer and closer, I’ve been reading and re-reading a a lot of pregnancy and baby books. There were some I’ve loved, some I was meh about and some I didn’t even finish. Here are the ones I bought and how I felt about them.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin (my favorite!)
I’ve read this book three times since becoming pregnant and it’s given me so much inspiration and excitement for how natural and joyful birth can be. It’s definitely heavy on the homebirth/unmedicated side of things but doesn’t feel pushy like some other comparative titles. The book is divided into birth stories and the natural processes of labor and delivery and it’s given me what I believe is a realistic grasp of how things can go down. I’ve taken lots of notes on techniques and mantras I’m interested in trying for my own labor too.
Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
I bought this title after loving Guide to Childbirth so much. It was originally published in 1975 from The Farm (commune in central Tennessee) and definitely has a crunchy flavor to it. Like Guide to Childbirth, it has birth stories along with information on pregnancy and delivery. If you’re delivering at home or intending on a non medicated route (and celebrate your inner hippie!) you’d probably enjoy this book. I’m on my second read through now and it makes me excited and confident!
What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
I did NOT like this book early in pregnancy. It has so many things that could be wrong with you or the baby (it really covers almost everything) that it can make you really frightened of a really natural thing. Adam enjoyed reading through the development stages of baby and I eventually came to reference this title here and there in my second and third trimesters. It’s a bit alarmist and goofy (hotel womb?!) but lays most scenarios and options out on the table. It’s a helpful alternative to googling your symptoms online (which drove me nuts!) but I’d suggest the app over the book (which is free on your smart phone).
Bountiful Beautiful Birth, Gurmukh
I’m not actively practicing yoga, but this book made me want to give it a shot. It definitely has the point of view of a long time yogini which offered me a lot of peace and happiness. It has a lot of examples and birth stories, plus easy yoga positions which I found to be helpful.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Sarah Buckley
I actually didn’t love this book, but only gave myself a day or two with it. Why? I felt like the author had a bit of a superior tone about connecting with baby early and it didn’t feel encouraging (at that time, my baby hadn’t started kicking and I didn’t feel especially connected). And as much as I love the crunchy home birth mentality, this author made hospitals and ultrasounds feel really scary and scary is not something I do well with, especially while pregnant.
Great With Child, Beth Ann Fennelly
This title is a collection of letters from one mother to her expecting friend. I buzzed through it quickly and enjoyed it enough to pass it on to another friend (because I didn’t see myself reading it again). There are a couple passages regarding miscarriage which I opted to not read but overall, it was enjoyable. I’d recommend borrowing a copy from your local library.
The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp
Although baby has yet to make his/her arrival, I’ve used some of the techniques I read in Dr. Karp’s book while looking after my friend’s babies and they seem to work! The gist is about caring for your baby for the first three months or the fourth trimester as Dr. Karp calls it. Looking forward to trying out these techniques on our own kiddo! Readers have also suggested skipping the book and watching the DvD (but I’m a reader and plan on using this title as a reference, so I’m happy I ordered the book). Adam read this one too and my heart totally melted when I saw him bouncing and shushing our friend’s son afterwards. Quick and easy read.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, Ina May Gaskin
This was actually the first baby/pregnancy book I bought and read in my first trimester. I liked Ina May’s tone (and thus ordered her other books, see above) and now I’m re-reading it with about 3 weeks until my EDD. There are a lot of references to medical studies, information about your body’s (and baby’s) natural processes and techniques to use when nursing. Unlike the uplifiting birth stories I’ve heard, I’ve yet to hear any woman who hasn’t had some struggles with breastfeeding. I hope this book comes in handy!
What books did you love during pregnancy? Share Facebook!
Finally - a little note about the upcoming days and weeks. I’m feeling a little shy in front of the camera and have been struggling with fatigue, so I’ve decided it’s best to let myself have a break from the blog until after the baby is born and we’ve gotten to spend time together as a family. I’ve been working on some posts that I’ll publish between now and then, so there will be fresh stuff on the site each week - just not outfit photos. So many of you have been SO supportive and encouraging during these past nine months and I thank you for your understanding! I can’t promise when, but I’ll be back! In the meantime, I always push my instagram photos to facebook and twitter, so you can keep up with me there!