With 99 customer reviews on Amazon, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth has earned 5 stars - and with good reason.
I always recommend this birth first. The entire first half is devoted to birth stories, mostly normal births. The midwives at The Farm are amazing - at over 2000 births, they have a cesarean rate of less than 2%, while the US cesarean rate reached an all-time high of 29.1% in 2004.
The birth stories in this book are so straight-forward, simply affirming the innate strength and beauty of birthing women - without being overly preachy. It comes with beautiful and tasteful photos that show expected parents what normal birth is all about.
Henci Goer covers practically everything in this book. This is truly all a thinking woman needs to take control of her own birth. Goer gives a disclaimer up front, letting the reader know that she is for normal, natural births. She goes on to explain that she advocates this because research shows it's the healthiest, best way to have a baby. She gives the research in a straight-forward manner, giving the woman the information on the subject, the pros & cons, other treatments you might consider, and more. Even if you don't necessarily agree with her, you'll definitely come away from this book empowered to make an educated choice on your own.
I'll give my own disclaimer now: One of my goals is to become a childbirth educator through the Birthing From Within Mentor program.
While I was saddened that I couldn't take one of these classes while I was pregnant, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Birthing From Within looks at birth as a powerful, sacred occassion. It helps the parents to go within, tapping into the great birth power that has been at the center of life through time eternal. We've lost a lot of the sacredness with the medicalization of birth, and Birthing From Within helps us reclaim that.
This book gives wonderful, thought provoking exercises for the parents to work on, dipping into the creative and artisic part in all of us. Focusing on emotion rather than technique, the exercises encourage the parents to get creative and hands-on in preparing for the arrival of their child. The birth art is beautiful, and the themes touched on are so vital to birthing parents, but often so overlooked.
So I'd like to ask all of my birthy friends - what are your top three books that you recommend to birthing mommas & families?
I'll be honest, it was very hard not to include 'Gentle Birth Choices' in my top three. Henci Goer's book is so comprehensive, though, that Birthing From Within won out for third choice.
Ideally, I'd love to have a handout that includes:
And I'd like to find a good humorous book that might speak to fathers & partners
What are your top picks, and why?
Thanks in advance!