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In this post, I am listing out 20 best pregnancy books I have come across. The first list has the books I read during my pregnancy period, a doula shared the second list while I compiled the third list from blogs and Facebook groups.
7 books I read during my pregnancy period (2017-2018)
1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – I have mentioned this book many times before in this blog – It is one of my favourite pregnancy books. This book is divided into two sections. The first section has all the positive birth stories from women who birthed at The Farm ( The birthing community Ina May established for those who want to have a natural birth). Some of the stories can be too explicit or not to your taste – skip them. Most stories will teach you about the immense power of a woman’s body. The second section is medical information about birth. It is very detailed and gives information about how the body responds naturally to labour, all the interventions given in a hospital setting during birth and the different ways our bodies can respond to this intervention. She also makes it extremely clear that we as a birthing mother can clearly say NO to any intervention if we are not comfortable with it. She gives clear points regarding the differences between a midwifery model of birth and a traditional hospital-based birth led by Doctors. This is a great book if you want to know in detail about the natural birthing process or to build up your confidence before labour and delivery or to be informed about different options of care during birth and delivery. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any pregnant lady, whether you are a first-time mom, second-time mom etc.
2. Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan – My takeaway from this book would be to make an effective birth plan, practising positive affirmations, learning about positions and massages that help in the process of childbirth and learning about relaxing yourself by visualising different colours for different parts of the body (Rainbow relaxation) (There are some classist, racist statements in this book which I found kind of shocking )
3. Pregnancy sucks – What to do when your miracle makes you miserable – I hated this book haha. But it has good reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I hated this book because it considers every situation of pregnancy as difficult and ‘oh such a pain’. Since I am not a person who conforms to that complaining attitude and would instead love to delve into the gratitude aspect of pregnancy, I did not like this book. It can be considered as a fun relaxing read and the author used a friendly voice narration throughout the book. It does have some good one-liners haha! Take up this book if you are bored ‘all-unicorns-and-fairy lights’ sort of books with respect to pregnancy and find it cathartic to hear someone complain about nausea and dizziness of the first trimester. I would not really take the medical information of this book since it does not have any citation. Do not read this book if you are generally pessimistic or if hearing someone else complain put you in a foul mood.
4. Spiritual pregnancy; Develop, Nurture & Embrace the Journey to Motherhood – This book gives you unique insights into the spiritual nature of pregnancy. It gives information regarding the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions of the world. The book goes into detail about Christian and Jewish traditions during pregnancy. It also talks about guided meditation, journaling exercises, yoga postures fit for pregnancy etc. I wish it also added insight into the Islamic traditional practices with respect to pregnancy and childbirth. Take up this book if you like learning about different spiritual practices and ancient wisdom.
5. The attachment pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide to Bonding with Your Baby – Since I loved learning about Attachment Parenting, I thought this book would be useful. Though the book is insightful, I did not find any new concepts other than what I already knew with respect to Attachment Parenting.
6. Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth – I took up this book due to the title hoping it would focus more on positive delivery experiences. The basic idea of the book is that mothers should know about the mechanics of childbirth so that they are not tensed and that this detailed knowledge will help them in relaxing thus leading to ‘easier’ childbirth. The book was written in the 1930s hence some of the facts are more of historical value. Read a detailed review on Goodreads to know more.
7. Vaginal Birth After Caesarean: The VBAC Handbook – This book is aimed at anyone who had a Csection previously. It gives detailed info regarding the pros and cons of VBAC, real-life birth stories and techniques used to help in achieving a VBAC.
Second List of Pregnancy books, suggested by a doula.
(These were on my to-be-read list which I didn’t end up reading but listing it out here in case anyone finds it useful)
8. A Pleasing Birth: Midwives And Maternity Care – The book talks about the Dutch way of childbirth – midwife-assisted childbirth. ‘The author carefully documents the way culture shapes the organization of health care, showing how the unique maternity care system of the Netherlands is the result of Dutch ideas about home, the family, women, the body and pain, thriftiness, heroes, and solidarity
9. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife – ‘Baby Catcher is a provocative account of the difficulties that midwives face in the United States. With vivid portraits of courage, perseverance, and love, this is an impassioned call to rethink technological hospital births in favour of more individualized and profound experiences in which mothers and fathers take centre stage in the timeless drama of birth.’ I am sharing a few Goodreads review – one , two & three
10.Childbirth Across Cultures: Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum – ‘This book will explore the childbirth process through globally diverse perspectives in order to offer a broader context with which to think about birth. We will address multiple rituals and management models surrounding the labour and birth process from communities across the globe.’
11. The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions – ‘This guide covers the time from the last few weeks of pregnancy through the early postpartum period. Includes new information on water birth, labour aids, and epidural anaesthesia.’ – (Goodreads review )
12. Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers – ‘Breastfeeding is natural, but it’s not always easy. It is the biological norm, but it is not the cultural norm. By learning the seven basic principles in this book, mothers can dramatically increase their likelihood of success and make breastfeeding the enjoyable experience it should be. The seven laws taught in Breast Feeding Made Simple are easy for mothers to understand and are sure to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that they might otherwise face’
Third List of Best Pregnancy Books compiled from Blogs and Facebook Groups
13.What to expect when you are expecting – I had read this during my first pregnancy and is absolutely wonderful for first time moms.
14. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy – A completed detailed book of medical information regarding pregnancy and birth.
15. Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood–and Trusting Yourself and Your Body – ‘A comprehensive and judgement-free pregnancy companion. Nurture is the only all-in-one pregnancy and birthing book for modern mothers-to-be and their partners who want a more integrative approach’
16. The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother – I think desi parents can understand what this book would be about since the’ confinement period’ practise is so common in our culture.
17. The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality – ‘This holistic guide offers practical advice to support women through postpartum healing on the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual levels—and provides women with a roadmap to this very important transition that can last from a few months to a few years’
18. Breathe, Mama, Breathe : 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms – ‘Easy-to-follow practices that will help moms find quick, daily opportunities to reset and refocus with mindfulness’
19. Awake at 3 a.m.: Yoga Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Pregnancy and Early Motherhood – ‘ A women’s mental health specialist introduces yoga therapy techniques to provide solace, steadiness, and ease during the difficult stages of pregnancy and new motherhood’
20. The Body Heals Itself: How Deeper Awareness of Your Muscles and Their Emotional Connection Can Help You Heal – This book acts as a road map for the energetic journey within your own body, showing you how to recognize and release stored emotions to let go of pain.
That comes to the end of my exhaustive list of books to help in your motherhood journey. Pick and choose what you feel is best for your situation and pregnancy. I hope you find this list helpful. Good wishes!
(Also sharing – 7 books for Muslim moms)