a reading list for the childbearing year

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When I first started looking into reading material to assist me in preparing for a natural birth, the most widely recommended books by far were those by Ina May Gaskin. I can’t say that I disagree with that recommendation at all, because her work is truly phenomenal and important. So consider the following list not as a rather-than list, but simply a list of perhaps less widely-known titles that are also incredibly valuable!

(Note, these links are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase by clicking through, you’re helping support my work at no additional expense to yourself, so thanks!)

1) The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm. Written from a very natural perspective, it serves as a fantastic reference book to have on hand while you're pregnant..2) Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley, MD. This Aussie doctor enjoyed amazing home births, but she also writes eloquently about the complex hormonal cocktail of birth and how best to leave it undisturbed so it can accomplish what it's meant to accomplish.

3) The First Forty Days by Heng Ou. As a Chinese-American, Heng has a unique perspective on the ways most cultures care for women after birth and she helps us rediscover how to we can implement similar things in our own lives. Full of gorgeous photographs and wholesome recipes, too.

4) Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols. A refreshingly right-on approach to eating during pregnancy, it stands in sharp contrast to mainstream recommendations. Nichols focuses on real food and the intersection of modern dietary science and traditional/ancestral diets. Includes eating plans, too. I firmly believe that sound nutrition during pregnancy is one of the most important aspects of prenatal care and the beginning f your birth plan, so this book matters a lot! (If you have struggled with diabetes, this author also has a book called Real Food for Gestational Diabetes!)

5) Holy Labor by Aubry Smith. I love the way this doula has explored the way Christian spirituality is interwoven with the experience of birth. She writes beautifully about God’s heart for women in childbearing.

6) Mama, Bare by Kristen Hedges. This book is a compilation of short essays written by mamas about the way birth and becoming a mother changed them on a heart and soul level. Refreshingly honest and raw, it explores some of the deeper transformation that comes with entering motherhood, and is a lovely companion during the postpartum phase.

Each of these books, and the concepts they encompass, have impacted me and resonate with me pretty thoroughly. Together, they create a pretty great compilation of knowledge and insight for the childbearing year.

Here’s a couple more glimpses at my birth library, too!

Maybe you’re not the reading type. If that’s true — and if you like some interaction with other mamas and a more multifaceted way of taking in information — you will want to get yourself on my email list because SOON I’m unveiling another way of absorbing the essence of these concepts.