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Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
Fantastic viewpoint on the process of pregnancy, birth, and relationships in general. The hippie vibe had a way of being very stereotypical without being cliche; the author and many of the writers of the experience stories were down-to-earth, and the nature of the book made it so that many of the spiritual concepts could be applied to all of life, not just pregnancy and birth.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Amazing! Gave me the confidence to question even my midwives when they wanted to send me to the hospital due to a protocall risk. I knew my body, knew the risks and knew what would happen in the hospital. I stayed strong and delivered a happy healthy baby!!! thank you ina may! You are a gift to women and your legacy will live on in your book!!!!
Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner, MD, MS
In this rare, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in hospitals across the country, a longtime medical insider and international authority on childbirth assesses the flawed American maternity care system, powerfully demonstrating how it fails to deliver safe, effective care for both mothers and babies. Written for mothers and fathers, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, scientists, insurance professionals, and anyone contemplating having a child, this passionate exposé documents how, in the most expensive maternity care system in the world, women have lost control over childbirth and what the disturbing results of this phenomenon have been.
Birth as an American Rite of Passage by Robbie Davis Floyd, PhD
Why do so many American women allow themselves to become enmeshed in the standardized routines of technocratic childbirth–routines that can be insensitive, unnecessary, and even unhealthy? Anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd first addressed these questions in the 1992 edition. Her new preface to this 2003 edition of a book that has been read, applauded, and loved by women all over the world, makes it clear that the issues surrounding childbirth remain as controversial as ever.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, MD
I wish that all women could read this book. Sarah Buckley lays out all the possible interventions during pregnancy and labor in an easy to understand way looking at the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives and what would happen if you did nothing for the common interventions. This book was an inspiration during my pregnancy and I feel that understanding the hormones involved during labor helped me have a beautiful birth in a birth center with my midwife.
Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
Every pregnant woman or health care provider should read this book! It is a wealth of information and research that would cause anyone to pause and reconsider their treatment options and practitioner choices. The sway that money and Malpractice insurance issues have over the decisions made for your health in ANY medical environment is ridiculous and clearly compromises the integrity of the field.
Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
As a nurse and mother I found the subject interesting and appreciated the historical account and details. I had no idea how awful birth had been for some. I am appalled to think that there are women who are allowed to “choose” c-sections! Major surgery, pain, limited mobility, infection (a friend died from flesh eating bacteria). It was happily Lamaze for me and home packing lunches in two days (OK, Mom came and helped – love that woman!)
Cesarean Voices published by ICAN
“You should be thankful that you and the baby are okay–100 years ago you both could have died!” I cannot remember how many times I heard that after my first cesarean. It totally discounted how I felt, what I was going through. It made me feel guilty for crying in the shower–after all, wasn’t I happy to finally have my baby? So what if she ended up in the NICU and I couldn’t hold her for her first 14 hours…I finally found a book that speaks to my experiences–the joy, the guilt, the bitterness, the aloneness. I totally recommend Cesarean Voices to anyone who is not totally happy with their birth experiences–be prepared to cry.
Birth Reborn by Michel Odent, MD
This book was inspirational for having an all-natural childbirth but still left us horribly unprepared for the traumatic event that unfolded, and in the end of the long ordeal we realized that ironically our midwife was not very helpful while the nurse that happened to be there was an angel, a god-send, and the doctor who performed the episiotomy (which was medically necessary) was an extremely skilled, cool-headed professional and was well deserving of our tears of joy and relief and gratitude!!!
The Cesarean by Michel Odent, MD
How did a magnificent rescue operation become such a common way of giving birth? And how safe is it really? Why do some countries have 10 percent caesarean births, and some more than 50 percent? Why have risky procedures, such as forceps deliveries, not been eliminated by the C-section? What are the very first microbes met by a caesarean-born baby? Is it easy to breastfeed after a caesarean? What do mother and baby miss out on by not sharing a vaginal birth? What do we know about the long-term consequences of being born by caesarean and of giving birth by caesarean? What is the future of a civilization born by caesarean? Having been involved in half a century of the history of the caesarean, Dr. Michel Odent is uniquely and authoritatively equipped to deal with these vital and urgent questions.
Creating Your Birth Plan by Marsden Wagner, MD & Stephanie Gunning
I read this book and instantly had the facts that I needed to talk to my OBGYN and family members about the risks of medical births. It was great! I have since loaned it to many other women you can finally make an informed decision about their birth preferences. p.s. my totally natural birth was amazing even though I was in a horrible hospital.
Birthing from Within by Pam England, CNM & Rob Horowitz, PhD
Great book for expectant parents. Well worth carving out the time to do the exercises, but be aware there are many exercises. This book has been around a long time, worth looking for a used copy (not because it isn’t worth $12, but because $12 could go to saving for a nice soft-structured baby carrier instead — not a Bjorn, a Becco or Ergo or BabyHawk or something). I use this and “The Birth Partner” in my childbirth education classes most of the time; I have been teaching since 2007, and it works on the emotional level in a way most other programs (excepting some really good hypno programs) don’t. Best wishes in your pregnancy and Birth!
Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Childbirth by Giuditta Tornetta
As an MD and the wife and daughter of an MD, I think we as a society place too much emphasis on medicine in all its various forms. I am one who thinks that pregnancy and birth are nothing more than an acceptable normal state for the female of the species. However, that is not to say that pregnancy and childbirth are not like all other aspects of women’s health – i.e. wide and varied definitions of normal. This book seems to resonate with my beliefs on the subject. We are inundated with pictures of women screaming in pain with childbirth and so I think the rest of us believe that is the way it needs to be. Guiditta dispells this myth and focus us on what is actually going on. We are combined with the divine, whether it be Allah, Budda or just good old fashioned “GOD” to create a new life. She focuses on this fact and uses it to help women come back to earth and realize that they too can have healthy pregnancies and painless birth. I wish I had actually read this BEFORE the third month of my pregnancy as she breaks down meditatively each month of pregnancy. She also doesn’t discount the medical aspects of things and puts proper emphasis on when to get worried, go seek medical attention, etc. This book was a fresh perspective and a breath of fresh air and will be read again prior to future pregnancies. I will give that it is a bit “new-age,” but I’m ok with that b/c I’m not that big a fan of the “old-age” stuff.
Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth by Grantly Dick-Read and Michel Odent
This book describes why and how all women can and should go through pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and all of their reproductive functions without fear or pain, but rather in joy. While acknowledging the hard work and courage involved, the author (Grantly Dick-Read, by the way- only the forward is by Michel Odent) writes to help women understand what is happening in their bodies as they make their babies.