As a doula and childbirth educator, I am constantly reading to try and gain more knowledge and perspective on pregnancy, birth, postpartum care, and babies. In addition to being able to gain more knowledge myself, reading books on these subjects allows me to provide others with my personal recommendations. Here are some books that I have read and why I would encourage an expecting parent, birth partner, or new parent to read them.
HypnoBirthing® – The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan
As far as I am concerned, this is THE read for expecting parents. HypnoBirthing® – The Mongan Method touches on nearly every necessary aspect of birth, helping birthing persons to prepare for a calm, gentle birth. It covers everything from the physiology of an instinctual birth, planning for the birth you desire, birth choices/options, nutrition, the 4th trimester (postpartum), and so much more. If I had to recommend one single book for expecting parents to read (birthing person and their partner), it would be this one.
This book is provided as a part of the HypnoBirthing course materials, but can also be purchased separately on the HypnoBirthing® International webstore: https://us.hypnobirthing.com/product-category/books/
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
What I love about this particular book is the copious amount of positive birth stories that comprise the first half of the text. In fact, the first 125 pages are all dedicated to the most amazing and impactful birth stories. Positive stories are a critical aspect of preparing for a peaceful birth and this resource is invaluable. The book also provides encouraging statistics about birth that create a perspective not often found in North America.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is a great book that can be picked up any time for a short read, put down, and picked back up again. I would recommend that an expecting parent read at least one or 2 positive birth stories every night in preparation for their own upcoming birth. Also, if there is a birth story that speaks to them then, they could read it over and over again!
The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin
Also known at “The Doula Book”, I would have to say that The Birth Partner is actually a great book for everyone involved in a birth (including the birthing person). It is particularly beneficial for those who plan a hospital birth. The book walks through each stage of birth as recognized by the medical community, what to expect, and what role each person can take to help support the birth. It also provides a lot of great tools such as a surge* tracker.
For a birth partner, this book will be your bible. It literally outlines how to know what is happening and ideas of how to support the birthing person. So often, I hear partners say “I feel helpless and I just wish I knew how to help [my partner].” Well, this book has your back. Just keep in mind that it isn’t a short read and familiarizing yourself with the text prior to the birth is going to be important, so don’t wait until the last minute!