On this page you’ll find a many options for reading and listening. You do not have to use them all! Read the descriptions and choose the option(s) that best suits your needs.
Birth & Pregnancy Podcasts
The Birth Hour: A Birth Story Podcast
Fear Free Childbirth & Motherhood
The Boob Group: Judgement Free Breastfeeding Support
Read Positive Birth Experiences
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.
Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this invaluable resource includes:
• Reducing the pain of labor without drugs—and the miraculous roles touch and massage play
• What really happens during labor
• Orgasmic birth—making birth pleasurable
• Episiotomy—is it really necessary?
• Common methods of inducing labor—and which to avoid at all costs
• Tips for maximizing your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth
• How to avoid postpartum bleeding—and depression
• The risks of anesthesia and cesareans—what your doctor doesn’t necessarily tell you
• The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
• How to create a safe, comfortable environment for birth in any setting, including a hospital
• And much more
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.
Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth by Grantly Dick-Read
In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read”s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks every possible root cause of western woman”s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy. Essential reading for all parents-to-be, childbirth educators, midwives and obstetricians!
Strong As a Mother: How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and (Most Importantly) Sane from Pregnancy to Parenthood: The Only Guide to Taking Care of YOU! by Kate Rope
Kate Rope’s Strong as a Mother is a practical and compassionate guide to preparing for a smooth start to motherhood. Everyone knows the secret to having “the Happiest Baby on the Block.” This is your guide to being the Sanest Mommy on the Block. It will prepare you with humor and grace for what lies ahead, give you the tools you need to take care of yourself, permission to struggle at times, and professional advice on how to move through it when you do. This book will become a dog-eared resource on your nightstand, offering you the same care and support that you are working so hard to provide to your child. It will help you prioritize your emotional health, set boundaries and ask for help, make choices about feeding and childcare that feel good to you, get good sleep, create a strong relationship with your partner, make self care an everyday priority, trust your instincts, and actually enjoy the hardest job you will ever love.
Transformed by Birth by Britta Bushnell, PhD
Childbirth is more than just having a baby. Transformed by Birth invites you to discover childbirth as a transformational experience that alters your knowing of who you are and lasts long after pregnancy and birth are over.
Our culture has inundated us with limiting ideals that prevent us from fully engaging in the journey of pregnancy and childbirth—including a need for control and certainty, vilification of pain, and reverence for technology and intellectual knowledge, among others.
Transformed by Birth helps you clear away unwanted beliefs and behaviors so you can open to the meaning and power of this uniquely life-changing experience. It offers daily practices, rituals, exercises, and more to help you cultivate resilience, power, and connection during this transformative time.
What No One Tells You: A Guide to Your Emotions from Pregnancy to Motherhood by Dr. Alexandra Sacks and Dr. Catherine Bindorf
Your guide to the emotions of pregnancy and early motherhood, from two of America’s top reproductive psychiatrists.
When you are pregnant, you get plenty of advice about your growing body and developing baby. Yet so much about motherhood happens in your head. What everyone really wants to know: Is this normal?
Even after months of trying, is it normal to panic after finding out you’re pregnant?
Is it normal not to feel love at first sight for your baby?
Is it normal to fight with your parents and partner?
Is it normal to feel like a breastfeeding failure?
Is it normal to be zonked by “mommy brain?”
In What No One Tells You, two of America’s top reproductive psychiatrists reassure you that the answer is yes. With thirty years of combined experience counseling new and expectant mothers, they provide a psychological and hormonal backstory to the complicated emotions that women experience, and show why it’s natural for “matrescence”—the birth of a mother—to be as stressful and transformative a period as adolescence.
Here, finally, is the first-ever practical guide to help new mothers feel less guilt and more self-esteem, less isolation and more kinship, less resentment and more intimacy, less exhaustion and more pleasure, and learn other tips to navigate the ups and downs of this exciting, demanding time.
Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum by January Harshe
An inclusive, non-judgmental, and empowering guide to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life that puts mothersfirst, offering straightforward guidance on all the options and issues that matter most to them (and their partners) when preparing for a baby.
In Birth Without Fear, January Harshe–founder of the global online community Birth Without Fear–delivers an honest, positive, and passionate message of empowerment surrounding everything that involves having a baby. It”s a guide that fills in the considerable cracks in the information available to women and families when they”re preparing to welcome a child–covering care provider choices, medical freedom, birth options, breastfeeding, intimacy, postpartum depression, and much more.
Birth Without Fear shows moms, dads, partners, and families how to choose the best provider for them, how to trust in themselves and the birth process, and how to seek the necessary help after the baby has arrived. In addition, it will educate them about their rights–and how to use their voice to exercise them–as well as how to cope with the messy postpartum feelings many people aren”t willing to talk about. Unlike other pregnancy books, Birth Without Fear will also help partnersunderstand what mothers are going through, as well as discuss the challenges that they, too, will face–and how they can navigate them.
Shattering long-held myths and beliefs surrounding pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum experience, Birth Without Fear is an accessible, reassuring, and ultimately inspiring guide to taking charge of pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond.
Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better by Siobhan Miller
Siobhan is on a mission to show women everywhere that birth can be better. And not just better, but amazing!
This book is for EVERY woman growing a baby and for EVERY type of birth — from a home water birth through to an unplanned caesarean.
So, what is hypnobirthing? Essentially, it’s a form of antenatal education, an approach to birth that is both evidence-based and logical. Hypnobirthing teaches you how your body works on a muscular and hormonal level when in labour, and how to work with your body to make birth more efficient and comfortable. Being relaxed is key, so you will learn how to quickly and easily access a state of deep relaxation using a combination of breathing techniques, visualisations, guided relaxation exercises, light touch massage, positive affirmations and various other techniques.
Hypnobirthing will change your mindset towards birth and give you the tools needed so that you can navigate your birth – and any twists and turns – with confidence, feeling calm and in control throughout.
No matter where you sit on the ‘anxious-to-excited’ spectrum at the moment, by the time you finish this book you’ll feel relaxed, capable and genuinely excited about giving birth, because it’s truly the most awesome thing you’ll ever get to do in your life.
Birth With Confidence: Savvy Choices for Normal Birth by Rhea Dempsey
International birth intervention rates are well above those recommended by the World Health Organisation and climbing. In Birth with Confidence, one of Australia’s foremost thinkers on the subject of childbirth explains why normal birth is almost impossible in our current birth culture—and what women can do to beat the odds. In this accessible, straightforward book, Rhea Dempsey draws on over thirty years’ experience to show how a woman’s choice of caregivers, support team and birthplace, as well as her life experience and personal attitudes to pain, will affect her birth outcomes. Featuring real-life stories, the latest Australian statistics and opportunities for guided personal reflection, Birth with Confidence provides the knowledge and practical advice that women need for the best chance of normal birth in today’s birth culture.
Chapter 1. The birth you want: what motivates the willing woman?
Chapter 2. Reality hurts: birth in the labour-bypass era
Chapter 3. It’s a fine line: reframing pain in labour
Chapter 4. Approaching labour: what pain type are you?
Chapter 5. Crisis of confidence: when self-belief crumbles
Chapter 6. The right support: who will get you through?
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England CNM, MA and Rob Horowitz, PHD
Here is a holistic approach to childbirth that examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery. Exercises and activities such as journal writing, meditation, and painting will help mothers analyze their thoughts and face their fears during pregnancy. For use during birth, the book offers proven techniques for coping with labor pain without drugs, a discussion of the doctor or midwife’s role, and a look at the father’s responsibilities. Childbirth education should also include what to expect after the baby is born. Here are baby basics, such as how to bathe a newborn, how to get the little one to sleep, and tips for getting nursing off to a good start. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a process of continuous learning and adjustment; Birthing From Within provides the necessary support and education to make each phase of birthing a rewarding experience.
HypnoBirthing, Fourth Edition: The natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing – The Mongan Method, 4th Edition by Marie Mongan
HypnoBirthing® has gained momentum around the globe as a positive and empowering method of childbirth. Here’s why: HypnoBirthing helps women to become empowered by developing an awareness of the instinctive birthing capability of their bodies. It greatly reduces the pain of labor and childbirth; frequently eliminates the need for drugs; reduces the need for caesarian surgery or other doctor-controlled birth interventions; and it also shortens birthing and recovery time, allowing for better and earlier bonding with the baby, which has been proven to be vital to the mother-child bond. What’s more, parents report that their infants sleep better and feed more easily when they haven’t experienced birth trauma.
HypnoBirthing founder Marie Mongan knows from her own four births that it is not necessary for childbirth to be a terribly painful experience. In this book she shows women how the Mongan Method works and how parents they can take control of the greatest and most important event of their lives.
So, why is birth such a traumatic event for so many women? And why do more than 40% of births now end in caesarian section, the highest percentage in history? The answer is simple: because our culture teaches women to fear birth as a painful and unsettling experience. Fear causes three physical reactions in the body—tightening of the muscles, reduced blood flow to the birthing muscles, and the release of certain hormones—which increase the pain and discomfort of childbirth. This is not hocus-pocus this is science.
Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas
Janet Balaskas led a movement of women who refused to give birth lying down. She has been teaching women about “active birth” ever since. In this updated and Americanized guide, Balaskas explains how to prepare for and experience a truly natural birth. She leads the pregnant woman through yoga-based stretching exercises and massage practice, and describes the stages of labor and comfortable positions for each, at home or in a hospital. Balaskas has also included a chapter on water birth as well as postpartum exercises.
Get Informed about your Body, Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin
Since the original publication of The Birth Partner, partners, friends, relatives, and doulas have relied on Penny Simkin’s guidance in caring for the new mother, from her last trimester through the early postpartum period.
Now fully revised in its fifth edition, The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide to helping a woman through labor and birth, and the essential manual to have at hand during the event. The Birth Partner includes thorough information on:
- Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun
- Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way
- Epidurals and other medications for labor
- Pitocin and other means, including natural ones, to induce or speed up labor
- Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain
- Cesarean birth and complications that may require it
- Breastfeeding and newborn care
- and much more
For the partner who wishes to be truly helpful in the birthing room, this book is indispensable.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Keppler
Parents love this book because it puts them in control; experts love it because it”s based on the latest medical research and recommendations from leading health organizations.Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn provides the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions about having a safe and satisfying pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period–decisions that reflect your preferences, priorities, and values.
Unlike pregnancy guides that can overwhelm and alarm by telling you up front all the things that can possibly go wrong, this book first describes normal, healthy processes, their typical variations, and the usual care practices for monitoring them. Only then does it cover possible complications and the care practices and procedures for resolving them. Throughout, the presentation is crystal-clear, the tone is reassuring, and the voice is empowering. And the language is inclusive, reflecting today”s various family configurations such as single-parent families, blended families formed by second marriages, families with gay and lesbian parents, and families formed by open adoption or surrogacy. From sensible nutrition advice to realistic birth plans, from birth doulas when desired to cesareans when needed, from reducing stress during pregnancy to caring for yourself as well as your baby after birth, this pregnancy guide speaks to today”s parents-to-be like no other.
Baby Care Basics by the Hospital for Sick Children
Despite all the planning in the world, nothing can really prepare a soon-to-be new parent for that big step after the baby is born. All that well-intentioned information and counsel offered by family and friends is just not enough and likely confusing when the stressful days arrive.
Written by leading pediatric experts in a friendly, easy-to-understand style, Baby Care Basics offers a comprehensive guide to help parents make the right choices for that new baby.
In full color, the book is engaging and user-friendly. It covers all the essential topics from a baby”s birth, first few days, growth, development, breast-and formula-feeding, introducing solid food, to sleeping through the night and much, much more.
Having easy and quick access to this comprehensive information is so important in getting started on parenting and establishing a routine that works for all.
Breastfeeding: Empowering Parents by
Those who decide to breastfeed are faced with a disturbing lack of good advice and “hands on” help. Their initial determination to breastfeed is too often lost in conflicting solutions being offered and not working. Something they at first imagined should be simple and “natural” turns out to be a distressing and frustrating experience which frequently ends in their rejecting breastfeeding entirely. This book is filled with new approaches to preventing problems and treating problems if they have already occurred. These approaches work because they have been tested for over 45 years of combined experience and with over 30,000 mothers and their babies. They are aimed at making breastfeeding work. This book covers questions which have stumped lactation consultants and doctors alike and which result in mothers frequently saying “We tried everything, but I just couldn’t breastfeed.” This usually means there was no one who could offer a real solution to a baby who was fussy, crying, rejecting the breast, not thriving and failing to gain weight or to sore nipples or the mother needing treatment. Frequently, the inability to provide real help is hidden in statements like “It is important that the mother and baby are happy, don’t worry about breastfeeding.” Even after years of “helping” mothers, some “helpers” still cannot tell by watching a baby breastfeed whether the baby is getting breastmilk. By reading this book, you will know how to know. Here are some of the questions you will find answered in this book: • Why are there so many women having problems with breastfeeding? • How does one start breastfeeding? • Do mothers have milk in the first few days after birth or does milk come in later? • What can be done to make breastfeeding work? • Can premature babies be breastfed (at the breast)? • Why is my baby rejecting the breast? • Are “modern” formulas really similar to breastmilk? • Is bottle feeding breastmilk really the same as breastfeeding? • What is the real deal about tongue ties? • Can mothers take medications and breastfeed? • Can I restart breastfeeding if I stopped completely? • When do I start my breastfed baby on food and how? • Can I get pregnant when breastfeeding? • When will my breastfed baby sleep through the night? Dr Jack Newman shares his expertise and experience of working at his Breastfeeding Clinic called The International Breastfeeding Centre in Toronto as well as Africa and Northern Canada, of listening to mothers and their stories and answering over a hundred emails from mothers every day.
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster
Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most profound, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Pregnant women are told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are similarly unexplained. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices.
When award-winning economist Emily Oster was a mom-to-be herself, she evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy, and discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. Debunking myths and explaining everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening, Expecting Better is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy.
Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster
With Expecting Better, award-winning economist Emily Oster spotted a need in the pregnancy market for advice that gave women the information they needed to make the best decision for their own pregnancies. By digging into the data, Oster found that much of the conventional pregnancy wisdom was wrong. In Cribsheet, she now tackles an even greater challenge: decision-making in the early years of parenting.
As any new parent knows, there is an abundance of often-conflicting advice hurled at you from doctors, family, friends, and strangers on the internet. From the earliest days, parents get the message that they must make certain choices around feeding, sleep, and schedule or all will be lost. There”s a rule—or three—for everything. But the benefits of these choices can be overstated, and the trade-offs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision?
Armed with the data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn”t always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they”re ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren”t necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time.
Economics is the science of decision-making, and Cribsheet is a thinking parent”s guide to the chaos and frequent misinformation of the early years. Emily Oster is a trained expert—and mom of two—who can empower us to make better, less fraught decisions—and stay sane in the years before preschool.
The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts by
From America’s leading authorities in childcare comes the definitive guide to having a healthy pregnancy-and a healthy baby.
The Healthy Pregnancy Book guides expectant mothers and fathers through all stages of pregnancy from preconception through birth, focusing on how to enhance the health of mother and baby.
How to grow a smarter and healthier babyHow your baby is developing, and how you may be changing both emotionally and physicallyEating right for two, with a helpful list of pregnancy superfoodsExercise and keeping fit during your pregnancyConcerns and questions you may have about test and technology, genetic counseling, and childbirth optionsHow to protect the womb environment and recognize potential household hazardsAdvice on working while pregnantChoosing the right healthcare provider and childbirth classThe transition into parenthood, and much more …
Written in the Searses’ trademark reassuring tone that makes their books long-term bestsellers-The Healthy Pregnancy Bookis the must-have resource to fit the greater demands of today’s savvy parents.
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: 2nd Edition by
From the childbirth experts at the Mayo Clinic comes the newly revised guide on planning for a healthy pregnancy. With detailed information about fertility, prenatal care, common pregnancy symptoms, and childbirth, this comprehensive guide will be your go-to source for answering all your ordinary—and not so ordinary—pregnancy questions.
The second edition of Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy dives into the nitty-gritty of motherhood by touching on topics like getting pregnant, using medications safely, proper meal planning and exercise, making important pregnancy decisions, and building beneficial lifestyle habits to help protect the health of your little one. The book features a 40-week pregnancy calendar, where moms-to-be can track their baby’s progress, as well as find a thorough analysis of weekly changes to expect over the course of their pregnancy.
Finally, this collective effort from the obstetrics and gynecology experts at the Mayo Clinic covers new information about the latest technologies in prenatal care and childbirth, as well as details the benefits and risks involved with growing trends in childbirth, including topics like home births, placentophagy, and vaginal seeding.
Whether you’re a first-time parent or simply in need of a refresher, the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy will provide invaluable advice that you can trust to help give your little one a healthy start. As the premier pregnancy resource for parents-to-be, this illustrated manual combines expertise from award-winning healthcare professionals with straightforward, easy-to-understand guidance every parent needs to know.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
As an intelligent woman, you are probably used to learning as much as you can before making major decisions. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions of your life–how you will give birth—it is hard to gather accurate, unbiased information. Surprisingly, much of the research does not support common medical opinion and practice.
Birth activist Henci Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth helps you compare and contrast your various options and shows you how to avoid unnecessary procedures, drugs, restrictions, and tests. The book covers:
Cesareans, Breech babies, Inducing labor, Electronic Fetal Monitoring, Rupturing Membranes, Coping with slow labor, Pain medication, Episiotomy, Vaginal birth after a Ceasarean, Doulas, Deciding on a doctor or midwife, Choosing where to have your baby, and much more.
A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want by Diane Korte
Based on a survey of two thousand women and responses from readers of the first and second editions, this complete and accurate guide enables women and their partners to take control of the childbirth experience. Diana Korte and Roberta M. Scaer, both long-time La Leche leaders, analyze today’s childbirth options and help readers to choose among them – to find “Dr. Right” (or a midwife), and perhaps a labor assistant, too, and to pick a hospital, birthing center, or home birth. They describe the pros and cons of medications, fetal monitoring, induction of labor, and other medical interventions during birth, and they tell readers how to avoid an unnecessary cesarean section and ensure that all their wishes are followed. In chapters such as “If You Don’t Know Your Options, You Don’t Have Any,” “The Obstetricians Black Bag of Interventions,” and “How to Have a Normal Vaginal Birth (and Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean)”, Korte and Scaer are refreshingly frank but never dogmatic; they want their readers to decide for themselves what’s best for them.
Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols
Prenatal nutrition can be confusing. A lot of the advice you have been given about what to eat (or what not to eat) is well-meaning, but frankly, outdated or not evidenced-based. In Real Food for Pregnancy, you will get clear answers on what to eat and why, with research to back up every recommendation. Author and specialist in prenatal nutrition, Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, has taken a long and hard look at the science and discovered a wide gap between current prenatal nutrition recommendations and what foods are required for optimal health in pregnancy and for your baby’s development. There has never been a more comprehensive and well-referenced resource on prenatal nutrition. With Real Food for Pregnancy as your guide, you can be confident that your food and lifestyle choices support a smooth, healthy pregnancy.
The Mother Of All Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas
For over two decades, Canadians have counted on Ann Douglas for her reassuring, proven and never bossy advice. Featuring the latest recommendations from Canadian health authorities and the best tips from more than 100 Canadian parents, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books is an indispensable resource for giving your baby the healthiest possible start on life. Inside, you’ll find
Facts about nutrition during pregnancy, prenatal testing, pain relief and breastfeeding Strategies for dealing with morning sickness and other common pregnancy complaints
Tips on coping with a high-risk pregnancy from moms who have been there
Information about alternative and complementary therapies
Updated research findings on topics including prenatal mood disorders
Inside scoop on what labour is really like with strategies for planning for the birth you want
A sneak peek at life with your baby
Video Skyrocketing C-Section Rate from the Happy Healthy Child childbirth education series