Being pregnant is exciting and wonderful. But managing the fear of labour and preparing for the arrival of your newborn can be unnerving for many–especially if you’re a first time mom.
Luckily, I discovered some amazing books that helped me feel empowered to cope with all changes happening in my body during pregnancy and confidence to birth and bring a baby into this world.
These are some of my favourite books for mothers-to-be and new moms…
The Continuum Concept by Jean Liadloff
This book changed my preconceptions about how we should parent, based on a radically different view on what human nature really is! It also explains the importance of the 'baby in arms' phase beautifully, encouraging me to carry my baby often and follow a more intuitive parenting approach.
Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra
I loved the tools this book offers to nourish your baby through thoughts, words and actions from the very moment of conception. It encouraged me to record my emotions and experiences during pregnancy through journaling and drawing. And I also found the mindfulness techniques simple and easy to integrate into my daily routine.
Your Baby Your Way by Jennifer Margulis
This book challenges advice given to new mothers and encourages you to question current cultural practices around pregnancy and infant care. From topics such as 'why c-sections are more common' to 'why more women don't breastfeed' and 'why potty training is delayed in modern societies,' I found the information extremely empowering to make decisions about my own health and what’s best for my baby.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley
The author, a doctor and mother of four, shares the science and wisdom of gentle choices in pregnancy, birth and parenting. Her views on issues like breastfeeding and family sleep arrangements postpartum helps extend the gentle birth experience into a gentle parenting relationship too.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice, this book explains what really happens during labour, tips for maximising your chances of an unmedicated labor and birth, and how to work with your doctor to create a safe, comfortable environment for birth.
Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan
Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management for labour and birth. It involves using a mixture of visualisation, relaxation and deep breathing techniques. This book helps women develop an awareness of the instinctive birthing capability of their bodies and shows you how by letting go of the fear of childbirth, it does not necessary have to be a terribly painful experience.
Let Them Eat Dirt by B. Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta
Written by microbiologists, this book explains how our modern lifestyle, with its emphasis on hyper-cleanliness, is having a negative effect on our children’s immunity. With practical advice through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, it’s an excellent guide to nurturing stronger, more resilient and healthier children.
Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood by Geeta S. Iyengar
This book is filled with asana sequences for women prior to conception, during each of the trimesters and postpartum, at both beginner and advanced levels. It also includes a comprehensive index to help you find the best asanas to relieve common problems during your pregnancy and after delivery. I've felt less dependent on yoga instructors through both my pregnancies and been able to practice yoga daily based on what my body needs at the time—because of this guide.
Baby-led Weaning by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett
A practical guide to introducing solid food when your baby turns six months. It explodes the myth that babies need to be spoon-fed with mashed foods and shows why self-feeding whole foods from the start is a healthier way. We followed this method and my toddler is a happy and confident eater because of it! See our blog post on Baby-led Weaning for a summary.
Eisha Maskara Sheth is the Founder & Creative Director, Masilo. @masilo.in