I loved reading during pregnancy, what I found though was that the books I read during my first pregnancy were great at giving me information but not much in terms on meaningful preparation of what I could practically use to help me in birth or to understand what was going on in my body and around me. This is particularly useful the first time, when labour and birth feel like a great unknown and there is naturally a little apprehension about what the experience will feel like and how we will feel during it!
So after 2 babies and 2 very different birth experiences and years of being an antenatal and now also postnatal practitioner, here are my current top reads for pregnancy and birth preparation. I have focussed here on Hypnobirthing and Positive Birth books to help you prepare in an emempowering way but there are many other great ones out there. Would love to hear any suggestions you have of books or comments on these, let me know your thoughts…
The Hypnobirthing Book by Katharine Graves (2012)
Katharine trained with Marie Mongan and then created KG Hypnobirthing to tailor to the UK processes. The book and method is strongly focussed on ‘natural’ vaginal birth though it does give great information and confidence on the physiology of birth.
This book comes with MP3 downloads, which is useful for Hypnobirthing practice and preparation.
Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan (2007)
The first book written about Hypnobirthing, this book gives good background and understanding to how and why Hypnobirthing is used for birth. Again with a very strong ‘natural’ vaginal birth leaning and also to bear in mind this book is American in context. There are no audios alongside this book.
The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill (2016)
So I am a Positive Birth Movement Facilitator but even if I wasn’t this is the book I wish has been around during my pregnancies.
Full of informative, easy to read and non-judgemental advise which is 100% in line with the ethos of all my courses and work. Sharing information in meaningful ways including anecdotes and clear sections, this book is totally comprehensive way to consider birth choices and how any birth can be positive.
Men, Love & Birth by Mark Harris (2015)
The tag line for this book is ‘The book about being present at birth your pregnant lover wants you to read’ and there is some truth in that. Naturally there is always a natural distance between a pregnant woman’s expectations and that of her birth partner as we always filter through our own experience. However anything that addresses how to work together and grow in our understanding of birth and supporting each other is a highly valid read in my opinion. Mark is a midwife and has a good understanding of the processes of birth.
Dad F.C. The First Season of Fatherhood: A Parenting Book for Dads by Alex Goss (2016)
I love Alex Goss, I have known his before he became a father and he was one of the guests on the Guest Live series (check out the video on YouTube and Facebook) talking about the realities of fatherhood, transition, parenthood and wellbeing.
What I love about this book is that it is easy to read, covers all the basics from birth, early days to nappies, milk, sleep and more for those partners and fathers who feel they are stepping into the great unknown, without confusing or overwhelming them and giving them an insight into the most useful and supportive aspects of their role.
Pilates for Pregnancy by Anya Hayes (2018)
Anya is a mother, pilates teacher focussing on women’s health and mental health warrior in based in Peckham / Dulwich South London. This is her second book and it is packed with excellent tips and ideas to prepare and look after your pregnant body in a way that is meaningful, helpful and nourishing.
As well as preparing and supporting the wellbeing of our minds during pregnancy and birth, it is essential to do the same for our bodies.
If you would like to continue your Hypnobirthing or Positive Birth journey further, Sakina Ballard is a KG Hypnobirthing trained teacher and a Positive Birth Facilitator based in South London / Croydon running free and accessibale groups and sessions to support new and expectant parents and those who have experienced traumatic births previously. www.tranquilbirth.co.uk