Natural Childbirth Series: Reading Recommendations

To continue our series on natural childbirth, I thought I’d share some reading/viewing recommendations that I’ve found to be useful. My list is not long. Heck, I don’t know if it really even qualifies as a list.


But here’s the deal: This is a biiiig topic and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the veritable cornucopia of options out there. It is also easy to become overwhelmed by bloggers who use phrases like “veritable cornucopia”…so, sorry. Anyway, I’m going to list a few things that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in preparing for a natural childbirth and then I’d like to open the comments up to other (probably more experienced and better read) mamas and daddies to share their suggestions.


Please note that these are books that I have found to be extremely helpful as your average, every day person. I am not a medical professional, blah, blah, blah, consult a physician, yada, blargh…


So, here goes!


1.) In my opinion,  the Bradley Method is pretty much the gospel of natural childbirth. You can take the actual classes, but we’ve never been able to afford them and honestly, Husband Coached Childbirth has been our go-to book time and time again.



This was the first book on the subject we picked up when we found out we were expecting Maggie and it’s so great. I really appreciate the premise that childbirth should be an experience shared with a partner, that it builds the relationship between man and woman, rather than causes a rift, as seen in the movies.


I also like it that Bradley’s ideas are derived from observing how “perspiring mammals” behave during labor. As someone who has seen many a house cat deliver kittens, it totally gelled with me. The entire book does a great job of giving practical examples and great comparisons (there’s the metaphor of labor being like climbing a mountain, for example) that make the whole process easier to understand. Basically, it’s my fave.



2.) When we were expecting Lily, I knew I really, really wanted to deliver without medications and interventions. I picked up a copy of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, M.D. and really enjoyed it.



This book does a great job of balancing scientific research with real-life stories that have a lot of heart. You’ll get the bare-bones facts about the effects and risks of medications and interventions during pregnancy and labor as well as Buckley’s birthing experiences with her own children. I liked that the research was very approachable and that it’s easy to tell that the author is incredibly passionate about the subject.


I will say that this book tends to be more on the “hippie” side of things, for lack of a better descriptor. Buckley endorses lotus births, for example, something that I don’t disagree with at all, but also won’t be attempting any time soon. But that’s just me.



3.) Also, you should totally watch The Business of Being Born, a documentary executive-produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein.



Guys, this is really just so eye-opening and great. And it made me have all kinds of respect for Ricki Lake that I didn’t have before. She’s kind of a beast. Also, there’s a sequel and a new movie set to come out soon about breastfeeding. Awesome and awesome-er.



4.) I’m also anxiously awaiting my copy of Ina’ May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, CPM.



I’ve got it on hold from the library, so hopefully I’ll get it soon-ish so I can report back. I’ve heard good things!




So, what about you? Have any go-to books that you’d recommend for someone considering natural childbirth? Let us hear about them in the comments!

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