Recommended Reading for Pregnancy & Birth

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Birth with Confidence: Savvy Choices for Normal Birth – Rhea Dempsey Boathouse Press, 2013
This is my most highly recommended book for pregnant women and is a MUST READ. Birth attendant and educator for over 30 years, Rhea Dempsey provides practical advice and wisdom to help women make savvy choices about how to embrace the functional pain of birth; how to find the best support at the birth and how to be emotionally and psychologically prepared to have the best chance of a normal birth within our current birth culture. Wise, empowering, a brilliant read!
 
New Active Birth – Janet Balaskas Unwin Paberbacks London 1989
Many midwives highly recommend this one. Outlines practical steps for an active and empowered birth. Includes simple yoga postures for pregnancy and an excellent overview of the stages of labour and what positions and breathing are useful.
 
Birth Stories Edited by David Vernon
Finch Publishing Sydney 2011
These inspiring, empowering and candid nineteen birth stories, as told by Australian women, help women understand how best to prepare for birth in Australia. The stories highlight the importance of having professional support at the birth that you know and trust.
 
Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin
Book Publishing Company United States 1975
This classic book, from a world-renowned midwife, has inspiring birth stories and photos that promote a holistic approach to childbirth. Although the book was written in the 70’s, it is still highly relevant as it emphasizes the emotional and spiritual aspects to giving birth.
 
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin
Bantam Dell New York 2003
More than 25 years after Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May has once again collected wonderful and uplifting birth stories with wise advice about pregnancy and birth.
 
Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering – Dr. Sarah Buckley
One Moon Press Australia 2005
Doctor and mother of 4 homebirth children, the author outlines how an undisturbed birth allows the natural birthing hormones to work, resulting in an instinctive and fulfilling birth. Excellent overview of medical procedures and the value of natural birthing alternatives. Brilliant book.
 
The New Experience of Childbirth – Sheila Kitzinger
Orion Great Britain Revised 2004
Excellent and practical advice about pregnancy including the physiology and psychology of pregnancy, the labour process in detail and how to prepare for childbirth.
 
Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful – Gurmukh Penguin Books 2003
Warm, wise and very uplifting reflections and meditations on the emotional/spiritual journey of pregnancy. Explores common feelings and issues for each trimester so a lovely one to read from the very beginning of pregnancy.
 
Birth Without Violence – Dr. Frederick Leboyer Healing Arts Press Vermont 1974
This classic book has had a big cultural impact, reminding us to respect the newborn’s experience of birth. With beautiful prose and photos, this book evokes the sacredness of each birth.
 
Birthing from Within – Pam England & Rob Horowitz
Partera Press, New Mexico 1998
An inspiring book about using inner resources to give birth. This is very comprehensive – everything that mothers and fathers need to do to prepare for birth, with lots of practical information and emotional activities and exploration ideas. Great for inner work!
 
Well Adjusted Babies – Jennifer Barham-Floreani
Vitality Productions Australia 2005
Written by a chiropractor, this book includes detailed information about birth preparation, birth plans, medical interventions and alternatives, vaccination and breastfeeding. Very practical.
 
Birth Reborn – Dr. Michel Odent Random House New York 1984
Renowned natural birth pioneer outlines the natural, active approach to birth used in France, at an alternative birthing hospital. Great photos and accounts of women giving birth naturally. This explores the philosophical background to empowered, natural birthing.
 
 
Compiled by Anahata Giri
Prenatal Yoga Teacher/ Founder of the Yoga of Birth Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training www.oneheartyoga.com.au