Being pregnant and preparing to give birth for the first time is an altogether scary, exciting, emotional and amazing experience.
I was utterly clueless about pregnancy and childbirth, yet when I got pregnant, I was careful not to read many books.
I wanted to avoid overwhelming myself with too much information.
As any pregnant woman knows, an abundance of unsolicited advice is sent in the direction of a woman who is expecting.
It is good to read some books about the miracle (and myriad challenges) of human gestation and birth. Here are a few I recommend. Feel free to leave your favorite titles in a comment.
1. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin, et al
This book was recommended by a friend, and I found it to be well-written, organized, informative and comprehensive. It is written in a friendly tone but isn’t annoyingly “girlfriendy” like many pregnancy books out there. A must for the uninformed mother-to-be like me!
2. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas
According to the back of this book, “In an active birth, a mother moves about freely, finds comfortable positions for labor and delivery, and seldom needs drugs or obstetrical interventions.” My midwife recommended this guide that teaches mothers how to develop all of their bodily resources for giving birth.
Although, in the end, I needed a c-section, if I’d had a vaginal birth, I would have definitely used the (very yogic) positions for labor and birth as illustrated in this excellent and useful book.
3. Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond by Francoise Barbira Freedman
Whether you read this book or utilize any other resource on prenatal yoga, the practice will help immeasurably as you deal with the aches, pains, rapid physical changes and emotional/hormonal roller coaster rides that are part of pregnancy.
4. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
This book is fantastic and features useful anecdotes and lovely, practical teachings from mindfulness mogul Jon Kabat-Zinn and his wife Myla, who have raised five children of their own.
I found myself reading novels voraciously in my third trimester—I couldn’t get enough of them!
Here’s my unsolicited advice for moms-to-be: read, relax, drink tea, eat a lot and read some more. Let people wait on you. Live it up, because once that baby arrives, life gets altogether rearranged, and probably not a whole lot of leisurely reading will be taking place, at least not at first.
Pregnancy brings up deep fears in all of us. Know that you will be able to do it. You will thrive. You will have a baby! It is going to happen. It’s only a matter of time.
There are so many fears that arise, but know that you are not alone. Billions of women have gone through this exact same experience, yet each pregnancy is unique and individual.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum