I just received my copy of DONA International's quarterly magazine, and in it there was an interesting article with book recommendations for clients. It was quite an extensive list but it made me think about what books I would (and often do) recommend to clients.
Here are my top three, not ranked in any particular order:
1) The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. A great overview of the different stages of labor and appropriate comfort measures at each stage. Simkin also explains some common complications that may come up and suggestions of how to handle them. As an aside, Simkin also has a great book called Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn that (as the title suggests) also covers the topic of pregnancy and initial newborn care.
2) Speaking of newborn care, The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins is a great resource and reference book about breastfeeding. It is very thorough and goes all the way from initial latch, building up a supply and engorgement to issues related to weaning. She answers common questions and concerns that may come up such as when to introduce a bottle and what medications are safe for breastfeeding. While the book does not replace the advice of a lactation consultant, it does address many important issues and it's a great book to have on hand.
3) Lastly, a Jewish spin on childbirth- A Labor of Love by Rachel Broncher. This book, written from the perspective of an orthodox childbirth educator goes through a lot of the general material- pregnancy, childbirth, initial breastfeeding- but also injects a religious voice into the book. She discusses the religious significance of pregnancy and mothering and mentions some of the relevant Jewish laws related to childbirth.
Mrs. Broncher is a yoga instructor (full disclosure-she was my prenatal yoga teacher when I lived in Israel) and so she incorporates a lot of information about the power of breath during labor. She has a fantastic chapter about nutrition and healthy diet, as well as a supplementary audio CD of guided relaxation and deep breathing to help prepare for labor.
Obviously there are many more fabulous books, but here are some initial suggestions.
I think it is so important for women to be educated and to have all the relevant information so they can make good decisions for themselves and their baby. That is why I encourage women to read as much as possible. I would be happy to recommend other books to anyone who is interested. Let me know.