What to read when you’re pregnant

Not everybody is a pregnancy bookworm, but it’s a good idea to get informed however you can. Here are some of my favorite books for pregnant moms and partners! My clients are welcome to borrow any of the following…


For a great general pregnancy guide, Sheila Kitzinger’s The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth is my pick. It’s got all the introductory info you need and has a really woman-friendly, sensible point of view. Nice pictures of real moms giving birth, too.

The Complete Organic Pregnancy, by Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu, is a guide to avoiding toxins during pregnancy. A little scary, but informative.


If you read only one, make it Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Better than anyone else, she dispels myths about birth and gives us confidence in our own bodies. The birth stories are an integral part of the book.

Birthing from Within, by Pam England and Rob Horowitz, is a powerful guide to mentally and emotionally preparing for labor. The pain management techniques are what I teach clients and students.

A Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer, is a comprehensive discussion of labor interventions and hospital practices. Explains risks, benefits, and clear ways to avoid unnecessary interventions.

Penny Simkin’s The Birth Partner is the de facto doula handbook, and a must-read for spouses/partners/support people. It explains how to support a woman in labor. Penny Simkin is a master doula who also has some good videos—borrow them from our local chapter of Birth Matters!

(Speaking of videosOrgasmic Birth is available on Netflix and will blow your mind. Beautiful images of birthing moms to carry forward into your labor!)

Birth as an American Rite of Passage, by Robbie Davis-Floyd, is an amazing look at birth from an anthropological perspective. Not required reading, but fascinating and very enlightening.

Birth After Cesarean, by Dr. Bruce L. Flamm, is a good one for moms considering a VBAC.


***Don’t neglect this category! PLEASE read up on postpartum issues BEFORE YOUR BABY COMES! You’ll thank yourself and so will the other members of your family.***

After the Baby’s Birth: A Woman’s Way to Wellness, by Robin Lim, is my favorite postpartum book. As a midwife, she gives wonderful, gentle advice on recovery and becoming a mother.

For breastfeeding, either The Nursing Mother’s Companion or The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding will give you the basic info you need.


Evidencebasedbirth.com is a website that publishes exhaustively researched articles on various topics, like Vitamin K shots, pushing positions, and Group B Strep.

If you’re feeling really motivated to do your own digging, Cochran Reviews (cochrane.org) offers reviews of primary research in health care topics, including birth.


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