I am choosing a different path than many of the moms I know for my pregnancy and birthing intentions, and I was at a loss for where to go for information that would be relevant to me. I wanted to be empowered for well-rounded informed consent by weighing the pros and cons of all the options, and potential interventions. And I wanted this information now-- not once I was faced with the decision in an urgent setting. Doing my own research has been incredibly empowering and so I am sharing with you my recommendation for the five best books for a natural pregnancy and birth.
There is a whole lot of advice doled out to pregnant ladies. Allow me add to it! I have appreciated all the tips, and highlights (and endured way too many lowlights-- why do people insist on telling a preggo the horrors of their birth experience???). What I have been most grateful for were the books that were recommended to me.
As has been my way for the last ten years, getting armed with as much relevant information as possible and then making the choices that make the most sense for me has been my approach throughout my pregnancy and in setting my birthing intentions.
I recognize that there is no sure thing in how nature progresses. I know that reading about peaceful and calm birth stories in no way ensures that I will have one. And to be honest, I can't read (or watch) birthing stories. They all make me incredible uncomfortable.
What I can say with absolute confidence is that being armed with knowledge, and knowing what is possible, has eliminated my fears of birth and that itself is worth every little bit of effort I have made.
Pre-Conception Reading (and Planning)
There is not enough information out there about the importance of pre-conception and fertility planning.
I am talking about the two years that we (men and woman!) should be taking into account in planning to conceive (okay, two years would be optimal, six months would be minimum). This is all about how we're supporting the most optimal hormonal balance, nutrient intake, detoxification and generally cultivating a state of health that allows us to support the growth and development of a healthy human, without depleting mama of all her reserves. This is no easy feat!
I did not read any books on the subject that I feel confident in recommending that would offer you insights beyond what I have shared in UnDiet and The UnDiet Cookbook. There are some great resources out there to help decode infertility for couples.
I also believe that many of the struggling couples could be helped by reducing the chemicals in their food, home and personal care products, taking on some daily lifestyle practices to support optimal health, and getting the appropriate functional medicine testing done to check for nutrient imbalances and/or heavy metal load. Ideally this is the norm as the first step in trying to conceive.
There can be many factors involved in supporting fertility but taking healthy living preconception measures can help whether your objective is to conceive naturally or to improve outcomes if opting for fertility treatments.
One of the best bits of wisdom when it comes to a natural pregnancy and birth came from my midwife, who said that the first step to prepare for a natural birth is to live a natural life. And so suddenly, it becomes very simple. If we can get the chemicals out, tune in to our body, move daily, breathe deeply, and generally take care of ourselves, we're already on our way.
Best Books For Natural Pregnancy and Birth
When I say "Natural Pregnancy" here, I am referring to a lifestyle, not necessarily specifically how you plan to conceive or deliver your baby. Often times those decisions, despite our best intentions, are not ours to make. I was fortunate to be able to get pregnant very easily and quickly, and have been working towards having a natural delivery but how things will unfold for me remains to be seen.
All that to say that I have found the following books invaluable in my education around pregnancy and birth, something I had no interest in and very little knowledge of before becoming pregnant.
TOP PICK: Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
The Natural Pregnancy Book: Your Complete Guide to a Safe, Organic Pregnancy and Childbirth with Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices
By Aviva Romm
This was the first book I got (okay, maybe Josh had this one). It serves as a great starting reference in the first trimester offering guidance on herbs and foods, and serves as a great general resource for natural solutions to some of the most common pregnancy symptoms. I didn't love the nutritional recommendations, but generally I found this book to be a very handy resource.