Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth changed my entire thinking about the process of birth. The first half of the book is a very earthy set of stories of couples giving birth at The Farm, the commune in Tennessee where Ina May catches babies. The second half is bar-none the single best explanation of how birth works that you will find, anywhere. Some people are turned off by the tone, which is why we balance it out with the second book.
Penny Simpkin is our local birth guru. She is a childbirth educator, doula, and doula trainer. Her book is written primarily for doulas and families planning to hire a doula, but, it is a factual hands on how to guide to labor and birth. Some of my clients find it rather dry, which is why we balance it out with the whimsy of the first book.
And buy a breastfeeding book. La Leche League International just published the latest edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Buy one for everyone you know.
If you are having a home birth, you must buy The Essential Homebirth Guide by two Seattle midwives, Jane Drichta and Jodilyn Owen. It’s six kinds of awesome.