Before the Internet – there were books! And there still are amazing pieces of literature that describe birth stories and summarize timelines and contexts of birth. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a small book versus an infinite Internet to start finding information before going online to find more specifics!

Here are some of my favorite books to learn about: how childbirth works, the history of childbirth, today’s childbirth atmosphere, and new mother care and ownership of yourself.

Hint – use a  Kindle, Nook, or other E-Reader to read in various scenarios! Whether you are in bed, by the fireside, outside by a pool, breastfeeding, cooking – if you have one hand available it can be easier to read on a tablet versus a folding book. OR check out audiobooks! I love listening to audiobooks while cleaning or organizing – it really makes the time fly.

With Kindle Unlimited, you can have access to millions of free books AND audiobooks at your fingers for a set fee per month. Plans vary for subscription time – 6, 12, or 24 month blocks. 

If you know you like to just listen to news or audiobooks, you can try a free 30 day trial of Audible and get TWO free books to listen to as you commute, cook, work out, do chores, and be a busy and mighty woman!

Now Let’s Get to Reading!

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

  • Ina May Gaskin is one of my favorite storytellers, midwives, and heroes of childbirth. She is an incredible advocate for natural births, listening to your body, and finding your natural, intrinsic side during birth. Click the above link for more on her best selling book, or follow this link for her presentation at Ted Talks on Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S. Culture.

Giving Birth With Confidence (Official Lamaze Guide, 3rd Edition)

  • This guide I believe does the BEST job of describing the hormonal changes of labor from onset of contractions to the delivery of the placenta. I read this book during my training as a Lamaze educator and learned all of the basics in a comprehensive, but easy to understand message. I recommend this book for ALL mothers to be, regardless of your choice of location and interventions.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

  • I read this book as a high schooler, and it was one of the first books to really grab my attention on how the rights of women differ in different countries, but that they are all similar as it is half the population being affected – Half the Sky

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

  • This book is the most comprehensive, easy to read childbirth book out there. Head authored by Penny Simkin, a well-known PT and childbirth educator, this book covers all of your concerns, gives helpful hints, and goes through the journey from conception to the first year and beyond of life outside the womb.

Like a Mother

  • Written by Angela Garbes, a new mother and journalist, this book was just published in 2018 and gives a modern, feminist perspective to birth today. She talks about the science of breastmilk, the placenta, and more! Here is an excerpt from her interview with NPR and how a mother’s breast can ‘read’ and produce better breastmilk by detecting the baby’s saliva:

“So research indicates that when a baby suckles at its mother’s breast, a vacuum is created. And so some of that baby’s saliva is sucked into the mother’s nipple. And there are receptors in her mammary gland that are able to read that saliva. And if the mother’s body detects pathogens and illness, it can trigger the mother’s body to create things to combat that infection or that illness. And so that’s how it happens. And she called it baby spit backwash. And that just blew my mind. And I thought, why don’t we all know this? I mean, this is a hugely motivating factor for me to keep breastfeeding, which is what I was looking for at the time, quite honestly. And when you hear that and you realize that your body can adapt and essentially provide custom-made medicine for your child, that is extremely powerful.”

Angela Garbes

Click here to read the rest of her interview with NPR

Confident Childbirth Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post contains affiliate links.

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