Top books for pregnancy and birth

The last two months reading has definitely had a bit of a theme; books for pregnancy and birth.  If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series you can find them here – January and February.

 

So I have to admit I was going so well with my personal 2016 reading challenge and then we hit March and I was crazy busy getting everything finished before we left for Bali that I sort of fell off the reading wagon. (Oh and I fell pregnant which meant the first trimester sleepiness caught me and I spent all my spare time sleeping instead!)

 

I thought that I’d catch up in Bali (cue hysterical laughing here) but the holiday held a little less down time than I imagined and I didn’t finish a single book while I was there.

 

Then April seemed to fly past in the blink of an eye and I didn’t finish a single new book. I think that’s the thing with reading, unless you make it a daily habit it’s so easy to just let it slide.  So here’s to recommitting to the challenge this month and trying to get to bed a little earlier each day for some reading (without falling asleep on the first page!)

 

So while I haven’t cracked a new book this month I have done a fair bit of re-reading this month because I’ve been planning a lot of pregnancy and birth content for the online studio, as well as a new collaboration I’ve been writing with one of my good friends. So whilst technically I cheated on my own challenge – I figure I’m writing the rules so why not.  I give you March and April’s books…

 

 TOP BOOKS FOR

Top books for pregnancy and birth

 

 

Hypnobirthing – The Mongan Methon by Marie F. Mongan, M.Ed., M.Hy

 

This is pretty much the number 1 book I recommend to everyone I know who is pregnant.  If you can’t make it to a hypnobirthing, calm birth, natural birthing course then reading this book is the next best thing.

 

“Muscles send messages to each other. Clenched fists, a tight mouth, a furrowed brow, all send signals to the birth-passage muscles, the very ones that need to be loosened.  Opening up to relax the upper-body parts relaxes the lower ones.” W & M Sears.

 

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

 

Ina May’s guide would be second on my list after hypnobirthing.  Reading this book really gave me the confidence that I could birth without intervention and it is filled with stories of real women doing exactly that.

 

“There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such and organ, they would brag about it.  So should we.”

 

Pregnancy Health Yoga: Your Essential Guide for Bump, Birth and Beyond

 

This is a great place to start for pregnancy yoga if you can’t make it to a class. It gives you easy to follow poses, meditations and breath work as well as yoga for many common pregnancy ailments.

 

“One of the reasons yoga is so beneficial during pregnancy is that it gets us out of our heads and into our bodies, which helps to bring us into a state that is helpful for labour. When we are able to switch off the thinking part of the brain we allow ourselves to be guided by the wisdom within us.” 

 

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful

 

There were many parts of this book I love. The sentiment towards pregnancy and birth as sacred and the many great rituals that are suggested.  If you’re a kundalini fan you’ll love this book. If you’re not – it might be a little bit harder to get into all of the suggested exercises.

 

“Your definition of self changes from ‘I’ to ‘We’. To have a child is to undergo transformation… You cannot birth intellectually. You birth sensually, intuitively, primally and spiritually.”

 

Birth Skills Class: Practical Techniques and Tools for Your Labour and Birth

 

Whilst I don’t love all aspects of this book I think this one gives you some great movement based ways to manage pain.  For me personally I was happy with just rocking on hands and knees, but I know a lot of women who needed more physical exertion to help focus and this book provides some great examples of that.

 

“I know it may sound a bit cliche, but in childbirth knowledge really is power. In order to master labour pain you need to move from a state of fear, ignorance and anxiety towards focusing on conscious activities to apply to contractions.”

 

The Mindful Way Through Pregnancy: Meditation, Yoga, and Journaling for Expectant Mothers [With CD (Audio)]

 

This book does a really great job of explaining the emotional side of pregnancy, the transformation and the challenges. This book really emphasises the need for surrender during pregnancy and birth and I really wish I’d read this one first time around.

 

“Ultimately, what makes pregnancy a spiritual practice is not what kind of pregnancy we have. It’s how we open up to it, moment by moment, breath by breath.  Pregnancy is not about escaping or transcending physical existence. It’s about embracing it, in all its grit and mess and blood and uncertainty and pain.  Pregnancy pulls us straight into the heart of what it means to be alive. It reminds us we are part of a universe that is infinitely creative and breathtakingly beautiful…”

 

Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Guided Practices for Every Stage of Pregnancy and Birth

 

This book is an excellent all round guide especially if you are also interested in the diet side of pregnancy. It gives a whole range of ayurvedic recipes and month by month meditations, journaling activities and physical practice.

 

“Birth is a right of passage in and of itself. Birthing is a complex, intense experience that can forever change a woman’s existence. The actual act is a profound initiation into motherhood.”

 

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last

 

So I couldn’t help myself with this one.  I wish I’d done more reading (and thinking) about how our relationship would change post-baby first time round, rather than reading about sleep routines (which really was an enormous waste of time, as my baby didn’t get the memo to read the book!)

 

“A lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship… I believe we grow in our relationships by reconciling our differences. That’s how we become more loving people and truly experience the fruits of marriage.”

 

So tell me – what books did you love reading about pregnancy and birth? Any gems that I’ve missed?

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