Annotated Bibliography of Pregnancy and Childbirth Books

Audio and Video Tapes | Books and Booklets Published in Languages Other Than English | Breastfeeding | Children's Books | Nutrition | Parenting | Professional, Technical, Advocacy | Special Situations and Family Health | Books Published by LLLI

 

Amis, Debby and Jeanne Green
PREPARED CHILDBIRTH THE FAMILY WAY
The Family Way Publications, Inc. 2003


A clear, concise guide to the basics of a natural birth, Prepared Childbirth the Family Way focuses on involvement of the birth partner during the entire process of pregnancy through birth. Breastfeeding is assumed and discussed throughout the book. Also included are a workbook section and several checklists addressing everything from an exercise chart during pregnancy to formulating a birth plan.

 

Arms, Suzanne
IMMACULATE DECEPTION II
Celestial Arts, 1994


Author and photographer Suzanne Arms offers her vision of what needs to be done to change the way our culture approaches birth.

 

Balaskas, Janet
ACTIVE BIRTH
Harvard Common Press, 1992


This fully illustrated and carefully documented book is written for women who want to grow in self-awareness and to use their bodies actively in labor. The author encourages women to develop all of their bodily resources for giving birth, to follow their own instincts, and to take more control over the experience of giving birth.

 

Chester, Penfield
SISTERS ON A JOURNEY
RUTGERS UP, 1997


This collection of interviews of 27 midwives crosses ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological backgrounds to present a chorus of voices raised in harmony to celebrate women and birth. An inspiring and informative book for anyone interested in midwifery care. (Reviewed in LEAVEN, Oct-Nov. 1999).

 

Connolly, Maureen and Dana Sullivan
THE ESSENTIAL C-SECTION GUIDE
Broadway Books, 2004


A comprehensive resource for women who experience a surgical birth, this is an honest look at what happens during delivery and in recovery. This book is very supportive of breastfeeding and offers information on how to get nursing off to a good start. A book which is aimed at those who want more information, rather than ways to avoid a cesarean.

 

Crawford, Karis and Johanne Walters
NATURAL CHILDBIRTH AFTER CESAREAN
Blackwell Science, 1996


A well-written book which provides information and suggestions for couples planning a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean birth. The authors explain the surgical risks, the hazards of birth intervention, and clarify common myths. Tips and suggestions for planning a successful VBAC, including diet, exercise, visualization and relaxation techniques, and choosing a caregiver and birth site are included.

 

Creager, Caroline C.
BOUNCE BACK INTO SHAPE AFTER BABY
Executive Physical Therapy, 2002


Bounce Back Into Shape after Baby provides up-to-date, easy-to-follow postpartum exercise programs that are ideal for all mothers whom have recently given birth. Most exercises are performed with both baby and fitness ball. It includes helpful advice on exercising as soon as 24 hours after birth, core strength, avoiding incontinence, good posture. LLLI does not prescribe a fixed amount of water that a nursing mother who exercises should drink. (Reviewed in NEW BEGINNINGS, Sept-Oct 2003.)

 

Eisenstein, Mayer
THE HOME BIRTH ADVANTAGE
CMI Press, 2000


Obstetrician Eisenstein shares the story of his journey to home birthing and of the mentors who guided him. He intertwines his own story with the history of La Leche League. Many parents share their own home birth and breastfeeding stories and help make this a warm and enjoyable book.

 

Feinbloom, Richard
PREGNANCY, BIRTH AND THE EARLY MONTHS
Perseus, 2000


A family practice doctor answers most of the questions a pregnant mother will have before, during and after the birth of her baby, and offers thoughtful choices based on current research for both common and uncommon conditions. The intelligent and detail-oriented woman, for whom this book is written, will appreciate the discussions of the many options available and suggestions for additional resources.

 

Flanagan, Geraldine
FIRST NINE MONTHS OF LIFE
Life Cycle Books, 1982


Excellent illustrations and photographs showing prenatal growth make this a useful book for prospective parents and their children. (First edition reviewed in LLL News, Jan-Feb 1963.)

 

Gaskin, Ina May
INA MAY'S GUIDE TO CHILDBIRTH
Bantam, 2003


Written by midwifery legend Ina May Gaskin, this book functions as two books in one—a compilation of successful birth stories designed to empower women, and a how-to manual for achieving the best possible pregnancy outcome for both mother and baby. While the book approaches childbirth with the premise that most women can and should seek a birth experience that offers the least possible number of medical interventions, it also includes a chapter on complications in pregnancy requiring the expertise of an obstetrician. The chapter on choosing a caregiver is helpful, and the chapter detailing the rationale behind ACOG’s recent revision of its VBAC recommendations is especially insightful. (Reviewed in LEAVEN, Apr-May 2004.)

 

Goer, Henci
OBSTETRIC MYTHS VERSUS RESEARCH REALITIES
Bergin & Garvey, 1995


Are epidurals helpful? Is homebirth safe? If a baby is breech, is a cesarean section necessary? Using logic and the latest scientific findings, this book inspires the reader to rethink and question routine labor and delivery care. Goer dispels many myths surrounding childbirth by presenting research from medical journals in an easy-to-read format.

 

Goer, Henci
THE THINKING WOMAN'S GUIDE TO A BETTER BIRTH
Penguin Putnam, 1999


Expectant mothers, especially first-time mothers, may not know what to expect and have difficulty sorting through romanticized or popular images and beliefs about birth. Goer's book provides specific recommendations about the birth process and birthing technologies. Goer bases her conclusions and recommendations on current, carefully-analyzed research. However, she uses strong rhetoric to describe current obstetric practices.

 

Goldberg, Linda et al.
PREGNANCY TO PARENTHOOD
Perigee, 2001


A comprehensive discussion of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn period that has mainstream appeal and features strong support for breastfeeding. 200 of its 300 pages are dedicated to prenatal care, labor and delivery. Abundant charts, illustrations, checklists, and cartoons make the wealth of information easier to digest. (Reviewed in LEAVEN, Aug-Sept 2001)

 

Harper, Barbara
GENTLE BIRTH CHOICES
Inner Traditions International, 1994


The author, a midwife, nurse, and mother of three, provides practical advice regarding gentle birth options, including water birth and home birth, and stresses the importance of a supportive environment. Photos by Suzanne Arms.

 

Jones, Carl
MIND OVER LABOR
Penguin, 1988


How women can use mental imagery during pregnancy and labor to reduce fear and pain, relying on inner resources rather than a rigid technique. Recommended for mothers with negative feelings about previous births, as well as for first-time mothers. (Reviewed in NEW BEGINNINGS, May-June 1988.)

 

Kitzinger,Sheila
BIRTH YOUR WAY
DK, 2002


An excellent book for parents planning an out-of-hospital birth with emphasis on feelings, as well as research-based information, first-hand accounts and guidance for preparation for birthing at home or at a birth center. Lovely photo illustrations include some nudity.

 

Klaus, Marshall, John Kendall, and Phyllis Klaus
THE DOULA BOOK
Perseus, 2002


An updated version of Mothering the Mother, this book details the importance of the presence of a trained labor companion, or doula, in supporting a couple through the birth of their child. Benefits to working with a doula are discussed in detail and include reducing the need for cesarean births, shortening the length of labor, decreasing pain medication, and enhancing bonding and breastfeeding. An essential tool for any pregnant couple looking to enhance and enrich their birth experience. Also presented are appendices on training to become a doula, as well as relaxation and visualization exercises for pregnancy, labor, birth, and breastfeeding.

 

Korte, Diana
THE VBAC COMPANION
Harvard Common Press, 1998


A resource for mothers who are preparing for vaginal birth after cesarean. Includes research, information on medical procedures, and inspirational accounts by mothers who have experienced cesarean birth and VBAC. Excellent resource and reference lists.
(Reviewed in NEW BEGINNINGS, July-Aug 1999.)

 

Korte, Diana & Roberta Scaer
A GOOD BIRTH, A SAFE BIRTH
Harvard Common Press, 3rd ed. 1992


If a pregnant woman could read only one book, this would be an excellent choice. The third revised edition tackles the pros and cons of today's childbirth options while taking the reader through each step of pregnancy. It explores the various childbirth environments, teaches expectant parents how to ensure their wishes be followed, and discusses the use of medication and painkillers. (First edition reviewed in NEWS May-June 1984.)

 

Nilsson, Lennart and Lars Hamberger
A CHILD IS BORN
Vicenza, Italy rev. ed., 2003


A new and improved edition of the famed classic, A Child Is Born is an astonishingly beautiful book that approaches conception and birth very visually, and could be used as a resource to help children or adults learn about the mechanics of conception and birth. Some readers may be offended by the graphic thermo-image pictures of love-making couples or the author's discussion of abortion and in vitro fertilization.

 

Noble, Elizabeth
ESSENTIAL EXERCISES FOR THE CHILDBEARING YEAR
New Life Images, 3rd rev. ed., 2003


An in-depth presentation about the pregnant body and how to use it, emphasizing the benefits of a positive attitude toward childbirth.

 

Odent, Michel
BIRTH REBORN
Birthworks, rev. ed. 1994


Revised edition of the groundbreaking story of birth in Pithiviers, France where Dr. Michel Odent has achieved low rates of birth complications by encouraging a woman's trust in her body's ability to give birth and respecting her need for privacy and security. (First edition reviewed in NEW BEGINNINGS Mar-Apr 1985)

 

Odent, Michel
THE CAESEAREAN
FAB, 2004


The Caesarean examines the physiological aspects of cesarean birth and the impact on human behavior, including lactation. This book offers a very detailed overview of the cesarean birth, including cesareans in history and mythology, the differences between inlabor, elective and emergency cesareans, when a c-section is absolutely necessary and ways in which the rate of cesarean deliveries can be reduced. In particular, Odent poses many questions on the implications for society and humanity as a whole if we continue to increase the rate of cesareans. A thought-provoking book for those that like to think about the bigger picture. (Reviewed in LEAVEN, Apr-May 2005.)

 

O'Mara, Peggy
HAVING A BABY, NATURALLY
Atria, 2003


Mothering Magazine publisher Peggy O'Mara presents a comprehensive overview of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period in this large volume. Quoting such sources as the World Health Organization, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, readers will find many suggestions and options instead of rules. Breastfeeding is a given, and La Leche League is recommended throughout. Any expectant mother who reads this book will feel that she has acquired a second, very wise mother, encouraging and guiding her in making healthy choices for herself and her baby. (Reviewed in LEAVEN, Feb-Mar 2004.)

 

Peck, Theodore
THE PREGNANT WOMAN'S PILL BOOK
Frederick Fell Publishers, 2003


While a glorious experience, pregnancy is a time when women are often more susceptible to experiencing aches and pains, heartburn, constipation, and a host of other minor medical problems -- many of which can be alleviated by over-the-counter medications. The Pregnant Woman's Pill Book is written by an obstetrician and provides reliable information and quick reference to numerous OTC medications, some which are safe for taking during pregnancy, others which are not. This book is a helpful guide, however, the prescribing of medications goes beyond the scope of La Leche League.

 

Placksin, Sally
MOTHERING THE NEW MOTHER: Women’s Feelings and Needs after Childbirth
Newmarket, rev. ed., 2000


A comprehensive handbook for dealing with the postpartum period, this book underlines the importance of a good support system to help mothers deal with what can be an overwhelming, and yet marginalized, experience. Information is given on what support is available, and how to find it for all aspects of the postpartum experience, including the early weeks after giving birth, breastfeeding, postpartum depression, returning to work, being a stay-at-home mom, and coping after subsequent births. Weaved into this, is a plethora of mothers' stories which reflect the universal feelings, common to new moms everywhere, of frustration, isolation, excitement and joy. Although a revised second edition, many of the resources listed are out-of-date, including the reference to THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING.

 

Sears, William & Martha
THE BIRTH BOOK
Little, Brown, 1994


This definitive guide to birthing includes topics such as physical and emotional preparation, lessening the discomfort and speeding up the labor process, the father's role, how to select the kind of birthing environment you want, and more.

 

Sears, William & Martha & Linda Holt
THE PREGNANCY BOOK
Little Brown, 1997


This comprehensive, month-by-month guide to pregnancy will answer your questions about fetal development, a pregnant mother's physical and emotional changes, medical technology during pregnancy and childbirth, labor and delivery, and getting off to a good start with your new baby.

 

Simkin, Penny
THE BIRTH PARTNER
Harvard Common, 2nd. ed., 2001


The best guidebook for birth partners currently available. Well-written and comprehensive, it emphasizes birth as a woman-centered experience where the mother is in charge. This training manual for the labor coach (not the birthing mother) has an intervention-free birth, immediate mother-child contact, and early breastfeeding as goals. Common concerns as well as unusual situations are discussed clearly and alternatives provided. This new edition features dark borders on key pages, so they can be quickly found by the birth partner as needed.

 

Stewart, David
FIVE STANDARDS FOR SAFE CHILDBEARING
NAPSAC, 4th ed., 1998


Suggests that five standards are necessary for normal, healthy childbirth and discusses them in depth good nutrition, natural childbirth, skillful midwifery, homebirth, and breastfeeding. Includes studies comparing the safety of home and hospital births and the safety of care given by midwives. LLLI does not recommend or encourage home birth without medical supervision.

 

Tracy, Amy & Richard H. Schwartz, MD
THE PREGNANCY BED REST BOOK
Berkley, 2001


A lifesaver for the woman on bed rest. Dozens of practical solutions to issues such as how to find help, nutrition, side effects of immobility, how to parent from bed, setting up your bed rest area, and coping with the feelings of all members of the family.

 

Weschler, Toni
TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR FERTILITY
Harper Collins, 2001


A comprehensive approach to fertility awareness which helps every woman to understand her body better through clear and factual explanations of the menstrual cycle and fertility signals. Includes chapters on reproductive health, natural birth control, achieving pregnancy, benefits of charting, and information on fertility awareness during breastfeeding, premenopause, and other special circumstances. Pictures, charts, and illustrations make the book easy to read and understand.

 

Wesson, Nicky
ENHANCING FERTILITY NATURALLY
Healing Arts, 1999


A guide to various natural therapies in treating primary or secondary infertility. These include acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology, and herbs. The book also gives general information about standard treatments for infertility, including side effects. Many personal stories are woven into the text.

 

Wesson, Nikki
LABOR PAIN
Healing Arts Press, 2000


A comprehensive book on natural methods for pain relief in labor, from establishing a stress-free environment for the birth to a collection of drug-free techniques of pain management. Homeopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, hypnobirthing, TENS machines, and other more familiar methods are discussed in detail.

 

Winstein, Merryl
YOUR FERTILITY SIGNALS
Smooth Stone Press, 1989


This illustrated, step-by-step guide explains how to achieve or prevent pregnancy, reduce or eliminate contraceptive use, even enhance the intimacy in your relationship. It includes information on low fertility, stress, breastfeeding, and pre-menopause. Includes a bibliography, glossary, and references.

 

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