I was advised by my mum and aunt to not read too much. Reading, although, can be very useful; they believed it kills your instinct as you keep analysing every small little changes in your body and you anticipate your body to act in a certain way, which when fails to take the form of reality causes panic and anxiety within us. I agree!
Yet, I fell for some books. My doula supplied me with a number of books and then my husband really wanted to share a book that helped him learn about women’s anatomy during and post pregnancy. I just couldn’t say no.
So of all the books I have enjoyed reading a few mentioned below and I highly recommend people to give it a go if pregnant or have someone pregnant close to you. (They are not in any order of preference)
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
This book is a classic. Half of the book covers birthing stories of different parents. And the other half gives you a lot of information about nutrition, your rights, painkillers etc etc. It helps you understand the different hormones produced during labour at different stages of labour which I found particularly fascinating! It walks you through every stage of fear and anxiety one may feel during pregnancy and during labour or post-labour.
I particularly, enjoyed reading the birth stories. I read one to two stories every night before going to bed. For someone like me who wants to have a homebirth, naturally there are concerns about all kinds of things going wrong. And to read the stories of people who have experienced pretty much everything you may fear going wrong in your labour, and yet have come out of it on the other side feeling positive about their childbirth is very inspiring. Must Read!
Your Pregnancy Bible by Dr. Anne Deans
This was my first pregnancy book that my husband gave me. It is what it says. It is very encyclopedia like. It explains baby’s development in the womb from week 1 with picture illustrations. It shows bodily changes in women throughout pregnancy with pictures. What I like the most about this book are the picture illustrations. It feels like you are reading a magazine, lounging on the sofa with a cup of tea with no sense of obligation of having to read it because you are pregnant. It is light, glossy and easy read!
Natal Hypnotherapy: Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell
I have chosen to go the route of hypnobirthing with my first baby. Like many first time parents, I have/had some anxiety about labour and hence have also chosen to have a home birth to have the added bonus of comfort to ease off my anxiety. Maggie Howell has written various books of Natal Self-Hypnosis to guide you through different stages of pregnancy. I have been listening to her relaxation CD throughout my pregnancy which helped me a lot, fight through severe hypermesis. I am hoping to achieve similar results from this book and the CD (yet to listen to it) that came with it.
This whole set (book & cd), provides you with techniques to relax, visualise and breathe through your labour in a way that you feel grounded and at ease with the changes the body goes through in the process of birthing your child. It talks about various fears and anxiety one may feel, it prepares women to use their own intuitions, resources to have a positive birthing experience.
I am really looking forward to listening to the CD in my third trimester!