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December 7th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Here is the beginning of a list of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting books advocating NCB that I have a feeling will keep growing. Feel free to post your own addition in this format to keep them more easy to peruse:

<div align="center">"title" by _____ - my critique and what it's about</div>

“The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth” by Henci Goer - wonderfully written, though, like her other books, it is a little on the weighty side with information (just up my alley). She writes a comprehensive study guide, in very lay-friendly wording, to the medical studies - and why medical studies themselves support NCB without saying so. Fully referencable.

”Birthing from Within”by Pam England - a spiritual journey into the beauty and self-power of childbirth. A little on the hippy side, but I love her poetic writing and no-holds-barred approach to the act of childbirth.

“Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin - on my favorites right now. I have read it around 5 times since buy it 9 months ago. Traditional midwifery meets practical application and psychological connection of mind-body. It is full of inspiring birth stories. Her holistic approach to childbirth is refreshing and challenges even the most staunch NCB advocate to trade in their biases just a little more for faith in the miraculous art of birthing.

"Childbirth Without Fear" by Grantly Dick-Read - the pioneer book on childbirth. Written in the early 1900's, the predecessor to Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze and Dr. Robert Bradley, he coins the fear-pain-tension cycle and teaches effective means of breaking that cycle. A revolutionary book, full of history, and a difficult read.

“Husband Coached Childbirth” by Dr. Robert Bradley - originally written in the 1950's, it is a strong book on the Bradley Method - it's history, teachings, and beliefs. It is written in the perspective for the coach and can be a bit chauvenistic, but it is another wonderfully informative read on how laboring animals can teach us how we, as higher species, can eliminate unneccessary pain and discomfort in childbirth by modelling after their behavior and stages of laboring.

“Christ Centered Childbirth” by Kelly J. Townsend - the teachings of Robert Bradley from a Christian POV. Keeping creation and God's design as the forefront and premises for all teachings.

“The Labor Progress Handbook” by Penny Simkin - delving into such sticky situations as dystocia and failure to progress, Penny meets the challenge of reasons given for cesarean deliveries. This book focuses on simple non-invasive interventions to prevent or treat difficult labor. It describes positions, movements and techniques based on principles of anatomy, physiology and psychology of childbirth. This handbook is organized by stage of labor for easy reference. The rationale for all techniques is included based on the authors' clinical experience and wherever possible on the underlying evidence base.

"Natural Chilbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon - written as a follow-up to HCC, this informative and preferred book of the Bradley Method delves into the differences of Bradley vs. 'other methods', the emotional signposts of labor, the physical makeup of labor and birth, and common-sense approaches to relaxation and relief in labor. Filled with relaxation practices and consumer-friendly wisdom, it is a wonderful walking handbook for any NCB student.

"The Pregnancy Book" by Dr. Sears - written as a month-by-month guide, it is an excellent all-in-one guide to pregnancy. This book deals with physical and emotional changes, describes the growth of the fetus, and discusses common concerns during pregnancy. It also focuses on nutrition, exercise, information and support for home births and birthing centers, traveling while pregnant, how to avoid episiotomy, and so on. The approach is gentle, thorough, and includes more information than most month-by-month guides.

"The Birth Book" by Dr. Sears - written as a helpful resource guide, this book covers the gamut of possibilities, and teaches what every woman needs to know to take control of their own birth. It is divided into three parts: "Preparing for Birth," "Easing Pain in Labor," and "Experiencing Birth." Each section outlines options and medical studies supporting a positive birth experience. It details vaginal births; cesareans; VBACs; water births; home births; best birthing positions; drugs; pain; how to design your own birth plan; sexuality of birth; and lots of birth stories. Unbiased and research based, it is a positive companion in working toward informed consent.

"Having a Baby, naturally" by Mothering Mag. - a wonderful book written by the publishers of Mothering Magazine. It contains pregnancy nutrition (and recipes), exercise, childbirth choices, methods of NCB, positions, and postpartum guidance (including newborn care). An easy read and nice referencial guide, I recommend it!

"Immaculate Deception" by Suzanne Arms - very readable, yet historically inaccurate when talking of anything beyond childbirth (ie, her christianity rant), Ms Arms presents a moving work on the loss of childbirth faith in present culture and throughout history. Validating women mourning 'loss of birth', this book confronts the issues surrounding the American culture, our loss of faith in our bodies design and nature's intent, and medical conspiracy to keep the power in the hands of the medical field and money markets themselves.

"The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by LLL Int. - My favorite book on breastfeeding. A little heavier a read than the Breastfeeding Book, but written from the experts on breastfeeding themselves. It is a great companion for encouragement and information to all breastfeeding mothers and those anticipating breastfeeding. Study-based information and support for common difficulties faced in breastfeeding, it is a must-have.

"The Baby Catcher" by Peggy Vincent - written autobiographically, this book follows one woman's walk through her midwifery career. Filled with childbirth stories and history, the politics faced in the midwifery field, and the ups and downs of the business, this is a delightful and insightful read for liesure and enlightenment (not much in the way for NCB prep though).

“Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin - This book includes updated information on the safety of natural childbirth, birthing stories, and the most recent statistics on births managed by The Farm Midwives. Also presents stories of working with Amish women, showing a different culture with a similar appreciation for natural childbirth. It is more 'religious' in it's approach and can be slightly yuppy in conveyance, but a classic read for NCB advocates none-the-less.

"The Politics of Birth" by Sheila Kitzinger - The Politics of Birth explores ways in which we learn about birth, how we talk and feel about it, assumptions that professional caregivers may make, and the roles and skills of midwives. Topics include home birth and water birth; the use of drugs in childbirth; obstetric and nursing interventions which are often used routinely; Caesarean sections; pressures that care-givers are under, and the choices presented to women that are more apparent than real. Throughout, the author draws on research-based evidence to present both an holistic yet grounded examination of topical issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. This is not a "how to" book. The aim of The Politics of Birth is to help the reader develop deeper insight and understanding of how a technocratic birth culture shapes our ideas about birth and obstetric practice.

"The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth" by Sheila Kitzinger - Here, candidly and reasonably presented, is all the information expectant parents need to make their own decisions about everything--from which tests to allow to how to handle pain to where to give birth. Very similar in presentation to the Birth Book. Less biased than other NCB books, but just as informative and fact-based.

"The Breastfeeding Book" by Martha Sears - a comprehensive very reader-friendly guide to what to expect while breastfeeing, the challenges that are commonly faced both physically and socially, and the benefits/physiology of breastfeeding.

"The Birth Partner" by Penny Simkin - This book gives the birth partner a clear understanding of the process of bearing a baby and the role that he or she is to play. Simkin thoroughly examines parturition, from essential supplies for mother and baby to how to handle an emergency delivery. At her best, Simkin makes the birth partner aware of medical decisions that may lie ahead and of the importance of indulging the mother with constant tender loving care and encouragement during labor and delivery.

"The Doula Book" by Marshall Klaus - a Greek word that means "woman caregiver", this book talks about the importance and role of the doula in today's society, while touching on the historocity of the role as well. Doula has come to mean an experienced labor companion who provides parents-to-be with emotional and physical support during labor, delivery and, to some extent, postpartum; describing how a doula can help the birthing process, detailing studies that indicate doula-supported births result in a major reduction in the length of labor, a greater than 50% drop in cesarean sections, a decrease in a mother's need for pain medication and fewer feeding problems for babies after birth, this book is educational when considering a doula. Very easy reading.

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