Pregnancy and birth books

I'm currently looking at recommendations for books on how to prepare your body for a natural birth and stay relaxed, focussed etc. during labour.  It's worth mentioning that I am an optimist.....

BTW all you mums please feel free to laugh at me - I know what will happen is going to happen regardless of how prepared I am / not, but I need to at least have the illusion of some control!

I've seen a few on Amazon that look good, have any of you used them?  They are:

 The Gentle Birth Method: The Month-by-month Jeyarani Way Programme

Birth and Beyond: The Definitive Guide to Your Pregnancy, Your Birth, Your Family - From Minus 9 to Plus 9 Months

 Or if not were there any good books you'd suggest?

Thanks all

Cat x



  • Ive not seen them before but they seem pretty good, i had a miriam stoppard one no idea what its called as its been passed on now but that was good, but your midwife should give you a book, found mine quite usefull, and then when little one is born you get a birth-5 one, also quite good. With the books i think it all a personal preference as they all have a different angle so if you have found one you like, thats the best opinion as many of the girls say on here mum knows best and it all starts here!! Good luck xximage
  • i borrowed some books from friends but they were mostly about caring for babies rather than the birth.

    I love using the internet to find things out (and i have it all saved in spreadsheet) yes i am that sad.

    i also like to read other womens birth stories, hope that helps

    oh and i was addicted to discovery home and health with my 1st pregnancy.


  • HAHA Ems - I am addicted to that channel already and had student midwives on series link.

    Cat - i'm not sure about books to be honest - but will keep a eye on your post as its quite a interesting topic xx

  • cat, one thing i can recomend is pregnancy yoga classes some of them teach you breathin techniques etc for keeping calm and collected for labour, unfortunatly cant say if it worked as never had so much as a contraction! Failed induction with jack ment 2 c sections! image
  • Sorry i'm afraid i only had the usual baby books and mags. Yoga is def a good idea as my friend did it while pg and it really helped with her birth. I think the best thing you can have for your birth is an open mind tho as there's no way i expected my birth to go the way it did x x
  • Same here Sarah. My birth took a different path to the one i had though it would. You can read all the books but tbh i think it all depends on how things go,iykwim. I went over due and was booked for an induction but went into spontanious labour on my induction day but was still sent to have my waters broken,no one told me this could make the labour pain increase quickly.

    Defo keep an open mind about it all but have a back up plan just in case(if i had the chance to have discussed pain relief i would have had an epidural after having waters broken then needing the drip)

    Hope you are able to find what your looking for.

  • Ems your post made me laugh - everything I plan is in Excel!  I still have loads of stuff in there from planning the wedding nearly 3 years ago....

    Everyone, thanks for the suggestions.  I was planning on finding a yoga / pilates class locally in any case as I thought that would help with pelvic floor as well as breathing, so it's nice to have that confirmed.

    And yes I do know that the best laid plans all can go out of the window depending on what happens, but I'd rather have a plan in the first place just so I have something to build on iykwim....  I would rather think I can get by without any major pain relief if possible, but I think until you experience it you don't know how well you can cope - I certainly am not going to rule it out!

  • I like Miriam Stoppard for the pregnancy.A lady who was a god to me when Iwas planning a home birth(ie no pain relief but one solitary can of gas and air) was Sheila Kitzinger.She wrote a couple of books.She used to be a midwife for many years,so lots of experience.Anyway,lots of info on what is happening,ways to help yourself,ways to avoid unnecessary medical intervention.It's shocking how decisions about womens antenatal care were made without their consent,and by doctor who of course were men,sometimes simply following procedures.There's some right brs burning issues going on there.Lots of helpful advice though.I raided the library about three months before Arwen was due,and I cleaned them out.I just kept renewing the books.I have found that the more I know about what they're doing,and the choice I have at which point the better equipped I am to make choices.
    No one's going to tell you childbirth doesn't hurt,you know that,but there are ways of helping yourself.I had four of them in hospital,laying on a bed,with back pain being the most painful part for me,before I realised that I wasn't helping myself.Of course a homebirth means you call all the shots,but I wouldn't recommend it first time round,cos you really don't know what'll happen.
    Anyway,I'd recommend old Sheila,and as many as you can lay your hands on.Don't spend a fortune,our local library had loads.I have to do some research myself this time cos I'm old,had too many and I'm at risk from several nasty complications.There's a proper name the mw gave me gravida something or other,I need to find out more
    Sorry,very long,rambling again,eating up the chocolate orange segsations tonight.Bit of a chocolate head buzz going on
  • i did ante natal yoga when pg with luka, more so i could get an hours peace to myself once a week!!! it was blissful, but i didn't use any of it during the birth. i was unwell with a chest infection and sinusitis so ended up with my first ever epidural (fab!) plan to go 'not to plan' and you will be ok!! my fave pg book is minus one to 9 by jules oliver which is more a biog of her two pgs and coping with two small children a lovely read tho, and i am a huge fan of the baby whisperer as well, which is a very good book when you have a newborn and want to try and implement some form of normality!

     Your midwife will be able to point you in right direction re. ante natal yoga/pilates tho!

  • oh Nicola my friend has told me about the baby whisperer book image she said it was fantastic image

  • I had a Miriam Stoppard book which was very practical. What about aqua-natal classes?
    Cat/Sarah will you go to ante-natal classes? I did with Bethany (regular classes) but lots of the mums from school did NCT classes.
  • Pauline I hadn't heard of aqua-natal.  I normally swim 2-3 times a week, but with having had a cold for nearly 2 months that has gone out of the window.  Longing to get back to it though, will see if my swimming pool has any info on it next week.

    Yes I am planning on ante-natal classes but again I have no idea what to expect.  I'm making a list now of things to ask the midwife next time (14th January).  

    Jo that's almost exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to get - enough knowledge so I can make informed choices whatever happens.  I've just had a look at Sheila Kitzinger - blimey she has written loads of books!!  I'll have to see if the local library has any so I can browse a bit.  

    If all goes OK with the pregnancy, then I am planning on having the birth at the local midwife unit which would mean a lot less intervention in any case.  Early days to say though!

    I think one of the difficult things is that obviously Neil won't be around for the classes / appointments.  I have my BF who is prepped for being his stand-in, but it's not quite the same!

  • oh cat something else i just remembered, if you have sky go on interactive nhs direct theres a few short films etc on pregnancy childbirth etc watched them loads when pg with jacks! xx
  • Hi Laura - we're in a bad area for tv, no digital reception til 2012, no satellite dishes allowed as we're in a conservation area, no cable companies out this far in the sticks.  We don't even get channel 5!

    So books and on-line vids are fine, trying not to look at vids at the moment though as I don't want to scare myself before I know what's going on image

    There are lots of benefits though - clear starry nights that we can see and loads of wildlife bopping around.  Wouldn't swap!

  • Jo I've just found a book by Sheila Kitzinger called "Birth over 35".  That's definitely me!  Have you read that one?

    As you can probably tell I've been on-line all morning on NHS, NCT, yoga, everything else type sites.  And I've been sustaining myself with chocolate biscuits.  Have suddenly realised I should be going for a walk and doing some housework and eating properly, oops!

  • lol Cat dedicated to the cause there lol

    Have you bought that book?

  • Cat, defo worth checking out if your local pool does aqua-natal, never went to a class but they finished just before my adult swimming lessons, so watched last 5 mins, looked fab.
    My ante-natal classes were during the day (yayyy for taking time off work - paid) so my hubby never came with me. We also had a hospital tour as well to check out facilities and where we had to go etc, might be worth checking if you get this too.
  • was going to ask people about good books to give advice for looking after newborns.. Feel a bit rusty as Ben's going to be 3 this year, and Shawn did most of looking after Ben as I was working when he was 3 weeks old.

    do you think the baby whisperer is the best one?

  • Sarah - no I haven't yet, I've bookmarked loads of book recommendations though and I'll be checking out the local library to see if they're in, also a friend locally who had her baby a few months ago has told me to read hers so I can "try before I buy"!

    Also my SIL has apparently been looking out maternity clothes and books for me, her youngest is 2 1/2 now so that's really good too.

     I'm really trying to find stuff out now about books and ante-natal so I can have a list of q's to ask the midwife when I see her next, looking forward to it!

  • sounds really lovely cat, will be great for an inquisitive toddler! Jacks loves wandering round the alotments behind ours then behind that is miles of farm land so theres always some creature about he about wet himself when we saw a sqruirel. Would go mad without cebeebies though!

    Dont know if you found it but nct do a free magazine, catalogue and some dvds theyll post to you all free,they are quite good! Another good agazine is Im Pregnant its a hefty magazine and is £5 but i loved mine covers everything even has a 'catalogue' showing best cots baby equipment etc. WHSmiths does it.

    Oh and if you join tesco baby and toddler club, have to have a clubcard or sign up for one with baby club, you get magazines vouchers etc and while your pregnant you get a baby basket with wipes talc and bits in and a little baby record book! oh and a window sticker for baby parking spaces.

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