Articles - The Top 5 Books About Birth
Our recommended reads for expectant mothers

The Top 5 Books About Birth


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Our recommended reads for expectant mothers

The birth publishing industry is absolutely enormous, but not all of the advice and information out there stands up. In our 30 years of collective experience as birth workers we’ve seen many books, trends, theories and fads come and go – and without a doubt we believe these to be the top titles to read when you're expecting:

1. Birth With Confidence: Savvy choices for normal birth by Rhea Dempsey

Birth With Confidence explains why normal birth is almost impossible in our current birth culture and what women can do to beat the odds. In a straight-forward style Rhea Dempsey draws on over thirty years’ experience to show how a woman’s choice of caregivers, support team and birthplace, as well as her life experience and personal attitudes to pain, will affect her birth outcomes. Featuring real-life stories, the latest Australian statistics and opportunities for guided personal reflection, Birth With Confidence provides the knowledge and practical advice that women need for the best chance of normal birth in the modern birth environment. Jules and I both trained with Rhea and we have witnessed her theories play out time and time again in real life; this book should be number 1 on the reading list if you are keen to have a natural birth.

Buy it here

2. Birthing From Within by Pam England

Pam England has written  a challenging and empowering book; there’s lots of practical advice for first-time pregnancies including positive discussion on the benefits (or otherwise) of birth plans and support people. Pam makes good use of art therapy and creative visualisation. The book is also full of photographs, fascinating artwork and illustrations. To be honest, Birthing From Within may not be everyone's cup of tea – but if you are looking for a bit more than just science and facts, this book will help you delve into the fears and belief systems around birth.

Buy it here

3. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin is probably the world's most famous midwife, with a career in birth work that spans four decades. This book shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention. Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this title takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

Buy it here

4. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah Buckley

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering answers your important question and gives you the information you need to create a safe, satisfying, and gentle start to family life. Dr Sarah Buckley, a family physician, and mother of four, shares the science as well as the wisdom of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth and parenting. Dr. Buckley explains, in easy to understand language, the logic, safety and benefits of natural birth and gentle parenting, using the best medical evidence. She also explains the conditions we need to optimise the flow of the “ecstatic hormones” that every woman’s body produces during a natural labour and birth, and that continue to support her during early mothering. We really love this book because you can read just a chapter at a time, and the style marries science with the emotional and spiritual aspects of birth. This is a great read for dads and partners too.

Buy it here

5. Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read

If you’re feeling fearful of birth, this one is for you. As Calmbirth teachers, we are believers in the concept of the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome that Grantly Dick-Read explains in this book. The concept proposes that attitudes induce anxiety before labor and cause fear in labor. This fear causes muscular and psychological tension that interferes with the natural processes of dilation and delivery, resulting in pain. We have witnessed this play out in birth and we also know what can be accomplished when steps are taken to address it. In an age where birth is often dominated by obstetrics, Dr. Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks every possible root cause of western women’s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy.

Buy it here

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