If you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant, I can already guess that your library card is melting from so much use. You may have even bit the bullet and signed up for Amazon Prime because yeah, that free shipping is totally worth it when you're buying enough books you could sink a small ship.
But what do you really need to read to prepare? First hint: put down What to Expect When You're Expecting. No, seriously. Put.It.Down.
Here's our list of 10 must-read books for a more calm & confident pregnancy and birth, from your doulas here at AustinBorn:
1) Taking Charge of Your Fertility: You'd be surprised how many of us have some serious gaps in understanding how our own body works. This book is super, super helpful.
2) Pregnancy, Childbirth & The Newborn: Be warned, this one is kind of textbook-y and dry, but factual.
3) Expecting Better: This new kid on the block stirred up quite a bit of controversy when it was released in early 2014. But it's a super interesting read with an evidence-based approach to busting some of our long held standard practices around pregnancy.
LABOR & BIRTH
4) Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: If ever they were a messiah of childbirth, it's midwife Ina May Gaskin (of The Farm) and this would be the gospel. Moments of this book may feel too "hippy-ish" for some moms but we love it for the positive birth stories which will leave you feeling excited for birth, instead of scared.
5) Natural Hospital Birth: Are you giving birth in a hospital but wanting as few interventions as possible? This is basically your manual. Interventions and procedures are explained in an easy to understand way, with tips on how to prepare for and achieve a low-intervention/unmedicated birth in a medicalized setting.
6) The Birth Partner: No matter who your primary labor support person will be (partner, mom, husband, etc.) this is truly a must read. Written by the godmother of the doula profession, Penny Simkin, this book guides support people in how to effectively help a mother in labor including a handy illustrated guide for comfort measures.
7) Breastfeeding Made Simple: Just read this one, okay? And buy your copy so you can keep it as reference. This book revolves around "7 natural laws" of breastfeeding which are common sense and won't drive you crazy. It's informative without being too dry and, most importantly, nonjudgmental. There's even a section on pumping when you go back to work.
8) Dr. Sear's Baby Book: This one has it all for birth through two years old. Consider it your reference manual for all those mysterious coughs and sneezes.
9) Touchpoints: This really focuses on the cross-relationship between physical, emotional, and behavioral development. 'Touchpoints' will put your mind at ease during all the leaps and regressions (oh, the regressions!) your little one will go through in the first three years.
10) Bumpology: This is a fun, interesting read and will answer lots of your (seemingly) random questions like, "can I eat peanuts during pregnancy?" and "do babies sweat?"