Pregnancy is an exciting time as well as a time of preparation and often a lot of learning! There are so, so many pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting books out in the world it can be hard to know which ones to read and which ones fit your family well. This blog compiles just some of the great natural-minded books that parents may be interested in. Many of these books are available to borrow from the TCM lending library and can be purchased online or found in some libraries. Please remember that these books are meant to be educational and informative, and that you are always the best decision maker for your family.
If you have any favorite books that we missed, please let us know!
Pregnancy & Birth:
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer:
This book gives evidence based information about decisions related to pregnancy and birth. The intention of the books is to help mothers and families compare and contrast options and avoid unnecessary procedures. Topics covered include cesareans, breech birth, labor induction, electronic fetal monitoring, rupturing membranes, pain medication, episiotomy, doulas, birth locations and many more topics. Available from: Amazon in both hard copy and Kindle, Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook form and Target in paperback form, and Walmart in paperback form.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin:
***If you only read one book, read this one!***
This book has been highly recommended by home birthing families for many years. It includes inspiring birth stories and advice from Ina May about how to have a healthy pregnancy and an out of hospital birth. Some topics covered are pain reduction without medications, labor induction methods, how to avoid postpartum bleeding and depression, how to create a safe and comfortable environment for birth, and many other topics. Available from: Amazon in both paper back and Kindle, Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook form and Walmart in paperback. Unavailable from Target at this time.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin:
This is a very classic, home birth book. It is full of birth stories for inspiration as well as information about routine maternity care, postpartum depression and other child bearing related topics. Some mothers like to read positive birth stories as they near their own birthing time and this book is a great resource for that. Available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle forms, Barnes & Noble in both paperback and Nook forms and from Walmart in paperback form. Unavailable from Target at this time.
Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke, CNM:
Mindful Birthing is a childbirth class as well as a book. The intentions of this childbirth method are to increase the mother’s confidence in her abilities, decrease fear of childbirth, provide inner resources for working through pain or discomfort and increase communication between couples during their birthing time. Some mothers have found this to be a helpful or inspirational book in the prenatal period, specifically, for trusting their own body through labor and birth. Available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms, Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook forms, Books a Million in paperback form, iBook for Mac or iOS devices, Indie Bound in paperback form and Walmart in paperback form. Unavailable from Target at this time.
Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz:
Birthing from Within began as small childbirth education class and then evolved into a book and many more facets that can be found here, on their website. One of the most unique parts of this book is the birth art incorporated into it. Throughout the Birthing from Within Childbirth Ed class parents are asked to create pregnancy and birth related art and some pieces are then included in the book. There are many birth stories, information about how to work through and with labor and other bits of information from Pam England, a nurse midwife who developed the course. Available from Birthing from Within website, Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms, Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook forms, Textbook.com in paperback forms, Target in paperback form, Walmart in paperback form and many other internet sources.
Gentle Birth, Gently Mothering by Dr. Sarah Buckley:
Dr. Sarah Buckley is a physician who wrote a book and now runs a website about birth and the early childhood years. The focus of the book is having a natural birth and a gentle start of the parenting journey. Dr. Sarah gives information about birth anatomy, labor choices, breastfeeding, early parenthood and more. Available from Google Play , Walmart in paperback form, Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook forms, and Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms. Unavailable from Target at this time.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin:
This is often a go-to book for doulas and is highly recommended for partners or other birth-support team members. The author, Penny Simkin, is a doula and childbirth educator who has been working with women in the childbearing year since 1968. The Birth Partner has been revised and republished several times since it’s original publication in 1989 and the most updated version contains information related to labor preparation, normal labor, pain relief methods, breastfeeding, newborn care and many other topics. Available from Penny Simkin’s website, Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms, Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms, and Walmart in paperback form. Unavailable from Target at this time.
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham and April Bolding:
This book covers a variety of topics including prenatal care, birth location, labor support, medical intervention options, newborn care and the postpartum period. The authors put a great deal of value on the importance of parents making decisions for their family. The fourth edition is currently available and contains information about nutrition, fitness, complementary medicine (i.e. acupuncture, chiropractic) and more. Available from Penny Simkin’s website, Target in paperback form, Walmart in paperback form, Amazon in both Kindle and paperback form, and Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms.
Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein and Jacques Moritz
This book is by the same authors who made The Business of Being Born documentary. They have several birth related publications and projects which you can check out here. This book discusses options about interventions, various kinds of birth, current birth statistics in the U.S and more. This book does a good job of presenting the information in a less biased way. Available from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover and paperback forms, and My Best Birth website, and Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms. Unavailalbe from Walmart and Target at this time.
Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads by Gary Greenberg, Jeannie Hayden
This book is a fun guide to the first year of life for new dads and other partners. It’s written like a boy scout handbook and is meant give information in a humorous and light hearted way. Available from the Be Prepared website in paperback form, Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms and Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Teresa Pitman:
This book is from the La Leche League and is often highly recommended by breastfeeding moms. The goal of the book is to educate and support moms throughout their breastfeeding experience. Available from the La Leche League, Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms, Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms, Target in paperback form, and Walmart in paperback form.
The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears:
Dr. Sears is a physician who has many parent-oriented books including this one about breastfeeding. This book offers education and support for breastfeeding moms. Dr. Sears is a firm believer that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies and his goal is to support families in successful and comfortable breastfeeding. Available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and Kindle forms and Barnes and Noble in Nook form, and Target in paperback form. Unavailable from Walmart at this time.
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin:
This book by Ina May is a compilation of her advice for breastfeeding as well as information about health and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. Some topics that are covered are pumps, sleeping arrangments, nursing and working, weaning and nursing multiples. Available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback forms, Barnes and Noble in Nook and paperback forms, Target in paperback form and Walmart in paperback form.
The First Year & Beyond:
The Year after Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger:
This book was written to support women through the first year after giving birth. It is designed to be mother-focused; talking about what new mothers need physically, emotionally and socially. It contains tips about breastfeeding, nutrition, relationships, and baby’s developmental stages. Available from Amazon in paperback copies. Unavailable from Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Target at this time.
Natural Health after Birth by Aviva Romm:
This book is written to support women through the postpartum period and beyond. Aviva Romm is an MD, midwife and herbalist as well as a mother who knows the importance of a supported and restful postpartum period. This book has practical tips for maintianing self care rituals while adjusting to a new baby as well as herbal and yogic advice for postpartum healing. Available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle forms, Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms, Walmart in paperback form. Unavailalbe from Target at this time.
Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Romm:
This handbook was written when Aviva was raising her own children and has been updated many times. The goal of the book is to give information about natural remedies and treatments for common childhood issues. It addresses options for at home care as well as when medical intervention may be needed. Available from Amazon in paperback form, Barnes and Noble in paperback form, Walmart in paperback form, and Target in paperback form.
The Baby Book by Dr. Sears:
This book by Dr. Sears is designed to cover topics from pregnancy through the first years of baby’s life. Some people refer to it as the “baby Bible”. Some topics covered are preparing for a safe birth, baby bonding, feeding baby, baby development, common illnesses, baby proofing, toliet training and more. Available from Amazon in Kindle, paperback, Audible and CD forms and from Barnes & Noble in paperback form. Unavailable from Target and Walmart at this point in time.
Sweet Sleep by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda J. Smith, and Teresa Pitman:
This book is from the La Leche League and is full of information about sleeping arrangement options from birth forward. It is a research based guide for families and the goal is to inform parents about safe sleeping, particularly in terms of bed sharing options. Available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback forms, La Leche League in paperback form, Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook forms, Amazon in Kindle and paperback forms, and Walmart in paperback form. Unavailable from Target at this time.
If you are interested in books for kids please check out the TCM Sibling Resource blog found here. You’ll find resources for children on prenatal involvement and development, getting ready to be a big sibling, getting ready to attend a birth, and books related to bodies and sexuality for older children.