Suggested reading


These are some of the books that most shaped my thinking about pregnancy and birth:

  • The Pregnancy Journal, A. Christine Harris. For each day following conception, it tells you what's going on with both mother and baby. I can't praise this one enough.
  • Heart & Hands: a Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Elizabeth Davis. My favorite midwifery text; it's written at a very accessible level, and the illustrations are superb.
  • The Pregnant Woman's Comfort Book, Jennifer Louden. Compassionate, empowering, tolerant of diversity.
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer. This has been the one book I recommend to every expectant mom who calls me, whether she takes my class or not. (An updated edition is coming soon.)
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which I just read recently, is superb — it'll be the other book I recommend to anyone I talk to!
  • The Birth Book, Sears & Sears. As in The Pregnancy Book, their family configuration and religious outlook may not appeal to everyone. But I love their overall childrearing philosophy, and both the pregnancy and birth books are extremely clear, helpful, and comforting.
  • Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg. The illustrations are quite helpful. Just skip the over-detailed and fussy instructions on relaxation position (relax in any position you can fall asleep in!) and you'll be fine.
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion, Kathleen Huggins. The best nursing reference I've personally used, better than even the Sears & Sears or La Leche League texts.
  • Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, Anne Lamott. Think you might be a bad mommy? Read this and be comforted!
Other books I've found helpful enough to recommend include:
  • Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin. The classic.
  • The American Way of Birth, Jessica Mitford. How birth in the United States became hopelessly medicalized and dehumanizing.
  • A Child Is Born, Lennart Nilsson. Classic photographs of development in the womb.
  • Birthing from Within, Pam England. Perhaps too emotion-based for my personal taste, but especially valuable for women with abuse or trauma in their pasts.
  • The Year After Childbirth: Surviving and Enjoying the First Year of Motherhood, Sheila Kitzinger. Anything by Kitzinger is worthwhile, but this was a standout.

Web sites

For specific articles on dozens of topics, see my "Online articles and information" page. This list is of entire sites I'd wholeheartedly recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about pregnancy or birth:

  • Midwife Ronnie Falcao's comprehensive GentleBirth Archives. If you have a question, there's probably an archived discussion about it here.

  • The Midwife Next Door (aka "Birth Sense"). By a hospital-based CNM, this gives perspectives on both midwifery and hospital birth — don't miss the page or sidebars on "What the Midwife Heard"!

  • MyOBSaidWhat?!?: the things said to birthing women by their healthcare providers will by turn amaze, amuse and infuriate.

  • Science & Sensibility, a "research blog about healthy pregnancy, birth and beyond."

  • The Unnecesarean is a site "pulling back the curtain on the unnecessary cesarean epidemic." While the author recently published her last blog post at the site, previous posts are available in its archives -- and her Unnecesarean group on Facebook is still active.


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