I was at my local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) meeting yesterday and the theme for the night was “Birth Stories.” Although I have never had a cesarean section, attending the local ICAN meetings is, for me, a way to get together and work with other people in the birth advocacy community and meet pregnant moms who are seeking out more information regarding their birth choices. Anyways, throughout the meeting last night I found myself often referring to different books that I have read that I feel are great resources for pregnant moms. Everyone else seemed to jump on the bandwagon and by the end of the night, I think all the gestating members of the group had heads that were spinning with tons of different information!
This meeting inspired me to put together a list of books, websites, and movies that I have personally read or watched that I feel are “must see/must reads” for any woman who is trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant or newly postpartum. Whether you are planning a homebirth birth with a direct entry midwife or wishing you could have your OBGYN call in your epidural before even getting to the hospital, these resources are something to seriously consider.
It is important to note that this is an abbreviated list. I have so many amazing books on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding that it’s kind of ridiculous. But I made sure to keep this list brief for a reason; I don’t want to scare anyone away! I don’t want anyone to think “Oh jeeze, there are just too many things on this list. I am too overwhelmed to read any of them!” That being said, if there is any book, movie, website, etc that you found or are finding to be very helpful with your past or current pregnancies, I’d love to hear about it!!!
MUST READ BOOKS:
*Best Childbirth Preparation Book*
- Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England & Rob Horowitz
*Best “How To” Guide to Helping a Woman Through Childbirth*
*Most Inspiring/Positive/Empowering “What To Expect” Book*
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
*Best Practical Guide to Breastfeeding*
- So That’s What They’re for: Breastfeeding Basics by Janet Tamaro
*Best “Research that Doesn’t Read Like Research” Book*
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
MUST WATCH MOVIES:
* Best Hard Look at the Current State of Maternity Care in America
- The Business of Being Born (2007) Directed by Abby Epstein, Produced by Ricki Lake
*Most Personal Documentary About Being Pregnant In America
- Pregnant in America: A Nation’s Miscarriage (2008) Directed by Steve Buonagurio
MUST SEE WEBSITES:
- ICAN’s mission is to prevent unnecessary cesareans through education, to provide support for cesarean recovery, and to promote VBAC.
- CIMS is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Their mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs.
- Citizens for Midwifery (CfM) is a non-profit, volunteer, grassroots organization. Founded by several mothers in 1996, it is the only national consumer-based group promoting the Midwives Model of Care.
- CfM can help you learn about the Midwives Model of Care, find a midwife in your area, and connect with resources about birth and midwifery
- La Leche League International strives to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
- BNN is is leading a grassroots movement based on the belief that birth can profoundly affect our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
- BNN has local chapters and holds monthly meetings all around the country!
- BNN believes that:
· Birth is a normal, healthy process, not an illness or disease.
· Empowering births can take place in birth centers, hospitals and homes.
· Women are entitled to complete and accurate information on their full range of options for pregnancy, birth, post-partum and breastfeeding.
· Women have a right to make health care decisions for themselves and their babies. That right includes Informed Consent as well as Informed Refusal.
So now it’s your turn! What books or other resources did you find helpful when preparing for pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum? We all want to know J!