Pregnancy, birth and the beginning of motherhood represent one of the major life transitions you will experience as a woman. In fact, childbirth offers you an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth and change.
The more you know about every aspect of childbirth, the more options you'll have for you and your baby. Such a remarkable rite of passage should be faced with as much knowledge and foresight as possible.
At the same time, it will be important to know when to lay aside the advice of the experts and when to pay attention to your own body's responses and your own feelings.
To help you select from among the hundreds of childbirth books now available, I have selected some favourite books for your personal library. At the end of the chapter, I have listed book stores which also carry a good selection of books on a wider variety of topics including fathering, child development, high risk pregnancy, pregnancy loss and grieving, twins, and Cesarean births. It is a good idea to make sure that your local library stocks a good selection of these books as well.
Choice In Childbirth
THE RIGHTS OF THE PREGNANT PARENT, revised 1980, by Valmai Elkins, is a well organized and clearly written consumer guide for parents who want to have choices in how their baby will be born in the hospital.
YOUR BABY, YOUR WAY: MAKING PREGNANCY DECISIONS AND BIRTH PLANS 1987, by Sheila Kitzinger is an excellent and supportive guide to help you choose from among the many birthing alternatives available to you.
Pregnancy And Childbirth Preparation
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING, by Arlene Eisenberg, revised 1991, is a reassuring and informative month by month guide to pregnancy and childbirth.
PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND THE NEWBORN, THE COMPLETE GUIDE FOR EXPECTANT PARENTS, revised 1991, by Penny Simkin and others. This book gives up to date and thorough information on all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth so that parents can develop their own way of giving birth. It also offers strategies for dealing with the new technologies.
THE EXPERIENCE OF CHILDBIRTH 1984, by Sheila Kitzinger is written by one of the world's foremost childbirth educators, also a respected anthropologist and mother of five daughters. In her book, a classic in the field, she integrates the physical, social and psychological aspects of giving birth in a positive, realistic and highly readable style. She also describes the breathing and relaxation exercises that provide such a useful tool during labour and delivery.
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, revised 1989, by Sheila Kitzinger. This book is a comprehensive and extensively illustrated guide to every aspect of pregnancy and birth. Highly recommended.
(In fact, if you could only buy two books during your pregnancy, I would suggest these two books by Sheila Kitzinger).
THE BIRTH PARTNER: Everything You Need To Know To Help A Woman Through Childbirth, 1989, by Penny Simkin. On every childbirth educator's "most recommended" list.
BIRTH REBORN, revised 1995, by Michael Odent contains remarkable photographs of birthing women. Written by the French doctor who created a model of safe and harmonious birth, it is based on the belief that the woman herself knows best how to birth.
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