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Best birthing books?

(22 Posts)
lucielooo Fri 26-Nov-10 16:04:35

I'm 20 weeks and thinking now is a good time to look into birth options and generally start getting my head around it and what are the best ways of preparing so I'm looking for a birthing book.

I'm hoping for a homebirth with pool (I think) but obviously this might change as my pregnancy progresses.

Can anyone recommend a good guide with this in mind?


duke748 Fri 26-Nov-10 16:13:01


I found these very useful:

Birth Skills

Blooming Birth

The first is by an Australian lady who suggests different methods of pain relief ranging from stress balls to stamping your feet. Its very different to other birth books, and I intend to try alot of her techniques when I go into labour in the next month or so.

The second is more of a general book - very down to earth advice on the different options you have in birth and the different things that could happen and what they mean for you.

I hope that helps.

bubbahubba Fri 26-Nov-10 18:41:27

Ina May GAskin's Guide to childbirth is a MUST

BlooKangaWonders Fri 26-Nov-10 18:55:49

Try 'Stand and Deliver' by (?) Emma Mahony.

Would also suggest 'expecting' by the people who run

lunafire Fri 26-Nov-10 18:56:00

Second Ina May's guide to childbirth. Fabulous book.

I'd also recommend "Orgasmic Birth:
Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience" by Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro. I was sceptical at first but it's backed up a lot of the stuff in the Ina May Gaskin book and I'm really looking forward to the birth now smile

onimolap Fri 26-Nov-10 19:04:30

Any of the Active Birth books by Janet Balaskas.

GingerGlitterGoddess Fri 26-Nov-10 19:11:01

I loved Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May

nightshade Fri 26-Nov-10 19:14:46

third ina may.

DingALongCow Fri 26-Nov-10 20:56:41

Birth Reborn by Odent is super, plus Ina May of course.

I participated in a univerisity dissertation on orgasmic/gentle/active/ecstatic birth as I had one with my second child. I have a copy of it sent to me by the author if you want to have a read, she interviewed seven women who had this experience. Its a pdf file so easy to email.

tiokiko Sat 27-Nov-10 17:43:24

I really liked Stand and Deliver - good writing style, covers loads of different birth stories inc home births. Good practical approach too and gave me confidence that you don't have to do what doctors say without questioning why!

I also liked Childbirth Without Fear by Dick Grantly-Read. It's a classic, although there are some bits that are a bit old-fashioned and it felt a bit textbook-y, I thought it was really helpful at explaining the negative cycle from fear to pain and helped me understand the physiological side.

Two books written in very different times and in very different styles, but they both gave me confidence and knowledge/understanding of what I would go through, which made me feel a lot calmer and more prepared.

mamasunshine Sat 27-Nov-10 19:34:09

Ina May definately!

Poppet45 Sun 28-Nov-10 13:49:07

Birth skills is a wonderful book that really does help you deal with labour pains in a practical way, instead of fobbing you off my calling them 'opening sensations' or some such bollocks. Think I'll read Ina next time.

Bue Sun 28-Nov-10 21:09:45

I worked on Blooming Birth! smile I do think it's a very good general pregnancy book. But I am biased.

If you are thinking of home birth, Sheila Kitzinger's Birth Your Way is very good.

Wholelottalove Sun 28-Nov-10 21:15:02

I found Blooming Birth quite good.

I'm currently planning home water birth with DC2 (am 37 weeks) and reading a really good book I was given called 'Birth and Breastfeeding' by Michel Odent. It is all about thinking of a woman in labour as first and foremost a mammal who needs privacy and security to release all the hormones for birth.

I like Sheila Kitzinger as well. You could also look up some stories on the home birth site

lucielooo Mon 29-Nov-10 12:06:33

Thanks very much for all your suggestions I've ordered Ina May as a starting point and made a note of the others - Thankyou! Good thing I still have four months to go so plenty of time for reading!

Also looking for a book for DP as he will be my birth partner and I'd like him to be quite switched on so I don't have to explain stuff to him in the middle of labour.

Any suggestions on that front?!

trixie123 Mon 29-Nov-10 19:21:47

can I suggest something and then run for cover? Please don't read too much or get too set on what you think will happen, it is such an unpredictable thing and if you get too set on one idea you risk being really really thrown if it doesn't go to plan. My friend had a home water birth planned and ended up in hospital on antibiotics for group B strep and had a ventouse delivery. By all means read stuff but keep in mind that really all you can do is express preferences and hope it goes ok. As for your DP, obviously it entirely depends on what kind of bloke he is but he may not want to read a whole book. Once you have your ideas figured out, talk him through what you've put in your birth plan so he can be an advocate for you if needed and know what to expect. Ultimately, the birth is something that needs to happen so you can get to the best and longest lasting bit of having the baby - the method is not that crucial.

lucielooo Wed 01-Dec-10 10:29:24

No need to run for cover, it's sound advice Especially the bit that getting the baby being the most important thing.

However...! Personally, knowing as much as possible is a good thing so that whichever way it goes I understand what is happening. I am very aware there is a long way to go and there are many things between now and the birth that might mean it doesn't go to plan!

You are quite right that DP is less than keen to read a whole book on the subject! Having said that, he has said he doesn't want a Doula because that's his job. For me, I would like my birth partner to be more than just 'there' I would like him to have some understanding of what is going on and what he can do to help rather than standing there like a lemon! Knowing DP, I think he will find it hard to watch me in pain/distress/whatever and not be able to do anything to help so it's for his benefit too - if he's prepared for what's happening then I hope he will feel more confident too.

I've never done this before so perhaps I'm going about it all wrong but I'd far rather read a lot of stuff that's going to be irrelevant and not use it then get to the birth and freak out because I don't know what's happening. At this point, I'm more afraid of being afraid than of being in pain. I realise all this probably makes me sound controlling but we all have our own ways of coping with things we're doing for the first time!

japhrimel Wed 01-Dec-10 10:37:04

I like the NCT book 'Happy Birth Day'. It's not just about labour, but has lots of helpful stuff.

I'd also really recommend doing NCT classses. Ours have been great and DH is now very knowledgeable and knows more about what he can do to help (men like being practical and seem to hate feeling useless!).

plasticspoon Wed 01-Dec-10 17:21:45

Hello, just wanted to add that as a 1st-time mum of a 4-week old ds who read all the books mentioned here (and found them v useful)...what I wish I had read more of was books about looking after a small baby! For example, breastfeeding - I had Ina May's childbirth and bf books but left most of the bf one for 'when I needed it'. Bad idea! I just didn't have the time/energy until recently.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 01-Dec-10 23:27:25

I'd second Birth Skills and I will be putting them to use for my VBAC in 8 weeks!

lucielooo Thu 02-Dec-10 13:44:12

Thank you Start NCT classes in February as well so hopefully should learn a lot from that.

And very good idea plasticspoon there is so much to learn. I know nothing about babies!

msbossy Thu 02-Dec-10 19:03:43

I had a homebirth and hadn't read any books other than the generic ones that talk you through each stage of pregnancy. However, I did attend both NCT classes (with DH) and active birth classes (on my own).

NCT and any edited highlights from your reading will give DH everything he needs to know TBH. My DH benefited to the extent that he was aware of what/why things were happening and wasn't freaked out by my mooing.

As for books on how to look after a baby - well there are a heap of threads on here debating those! I'd say that the best thing to do is keep talking with your NCT class or other people with recent baby experience (and even your mother/aunt etc) in RL and on MN because they'll have a range of opinions and in any single book you tend to get a one-sided view.

Good luck :-)

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