Top 10 Pregnancy Books

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Pushed Book Review
Wellness Mama » Blog » Motherhood » Top 10 Pregnancy Books

Natural birth is an amazing, life-changing experience that is hard to put into words, but it takes preparation and knowledge. From experience, I know that fear and tension can make natural birth a scary and painful experience, rather than a challenging but empowering accomplishment it is meant to be.

The following are some (of the many) pregnancy and natural birth books that I read that were instrumental to me in making my 26-hour natural labor an experience I look back on fondly. If you are considering natural birth, I highly encourage these books.

ina mays childbirth

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin- Highly recommended, an excellent blend of birth stories and practical advice from the most well-known midwife in the country. It does contain graphic images of birth.

Your Best Birth: Know all Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein- Highly Recommended. This book came as an addition to the documentary, The Business of Being Born, which I also highly recommend. It is an in depth look at all the common procedures of labor and birth in society today and encourages you to evaluate all your options.

Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally by Janet Balaskas- Some good information, it addresses the importance of movement and involvement during birth. I like that it gives concrete suggestions for minimizing the discomfort of labor and making delivery either with movement, massage, visualization and distraction.

Pushed Book Review

Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block- Highly Recommended. Great information on modern maternity care. This is probably the top book I recommend to expecting moms and doula clients. It explains in depth the reason (or lack thereof) of many of the common interventions and procedures during pregnancy and birth and empowers moms to make the best choices for them in these situations. This was the book that gave me the knowledge to be able to stand up to pushy doctors and nurses, even while in the pain of transition. If you want natural birth, read this book!

Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick Read-The book that started it all for me and changed the way I viewed birth. Highly recommended, though the language takes a few pages to adjust to as it was written several decades ago. This books helps women feel confident that their bodies are capable and excellent at birthing naturally in most cases.

Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper- Some information slightly outdated, but good information on empowering yourself to make informed decision.

Baby Catcher book

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent- A memoir of a midwife who has delivered hundreds of babies. Some very touching birth stories and some great info mixed in.

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin- A great resource for moms, dads, labor coaches, doulas, etc. Make your husband and birth team read this book (so they won’t say things like “ssshhhh… it’s ok, don’t yell,” in transition.

Birthing from Within by Pan England and Rob Horowitz- A pretty good book. I didn’t really connect with her writing style, but she does offer some good advice on the emotional preparation needed for birth.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way – Many women do really well with the Bradley method of natural childbirth and I like that this system also involves the husband as an integral part of the birth.

Natural childbirth is incredible, but the proper preparation can make a tremendous difference!

Some of my podcast guests recommended books on pregnancy as well that you should check out.

Interested in a more natural pregnancy?

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Are you considering natural childbirth? If you’ve already had one, what book helped you the most? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


36 responses to “Top 10 Pregnancy Books”

  1. Meredith Avatar

    I’m really disappointed to see anything by Ina May Gaskin recommended, especially so strongly. I’m trying to get pregnant for the first time and so have already devoted tons of time to reading and researching and of course I’ve encountered her name and am astonished by how much she is still recommended based on what I’ve learned about her. I’ve read tons about her and her books and her creepy cult, “The Farm”, and frankly she sounds insane and toxic and her outdated books and attitudes sound like little more than medieval, paranoid fear-mongering and feminist anti-rationality. I don’t believe she is helpful at all – she sounds extremely biased and condescending and her methods are very invasive and even predatory, and sound way too crunchy and kooky for me (and countless others). I have very strong intuition too and everything I’ve seen and read about her, her cult, her lifestyle, her methods, even her look gives me the heebie-jeebies right down to my bones.

    Apparently her own baby died due to a stubborn, ignorant homebirth in which she refused proper medical care so I don’t understand what people STILL think is so great about her. Ladies, please do your due diligence and don’t take any books at face value (I have already seen so many that are so highly recommended that are actually ridiculous and dangerous and written by people who know squat about medicine and healthcare and how to, you know, NOT abuse or neglect your baby – looking at you, “12 hours by 12 Weeks”, at least that BS wasn’t recommended…), ESPECIALLY ANYTHING by Ina May Gaskin. I can’t wait for that creepy, prejudiced dinosaur to go extinct.

  2. Kira Avatar

    I am pregnant with my first baby. Can you recommend more natural pregnancy and childbirth resources to me. I live in Banbury England and have no clue on what to do.

    Thank you.

  3. Sheri Avatar

    Thanks for this list. Do you have a list of good holistic books regarding the actual pregnancy and not childbirth?

  4. Niki Avatar

    Ina Maes guide to childbirth was my read for both girls. I read that book several times during each pregnancy, for sure right about 37 weeks to prepare for my home birth. My first went fast, water broke early morning and 10 minutes later I was vomiting in transition . (I had been “dreaming about contractions all night–oh the bliss of not knowing what is going on as 1st time mom). She was a smaller baby and with the rush of the big water break, she went into my (later discovered) crooked pelvis in any wrong way that could be possible. My midwife and I tried everything to get her unstuck to no avail where several hours later I went to the hospital for my necessary c section heartbroken. Less than 18 months later, I had the second huge baby at home! I had strong labor from Friday afternoon at work and she was born wed. At 10pm! What a challenge, but less than an hour after her birth I looked at my husband and said I couldn’t wait to do that again! It is absolutely amazing. I want to do it again but master more relaxation even though I did alright. I think I had some fears that I let creep in from the first time. It’s amazing….

  5. Gina Avatar

    Hi there! Do you have any recommendations for books on infant care? I have read about 4 or 5 birth books and will continue to read those, but for the most part I hope to have my birth plan done. I am starting to look into registering and would love a book on what to expect after birth.

  6. Blanca Avatar

    Hi Katty, I wan to buy you Wellness mama guide, healthy pregnancy book but I am wondering if it is updated?

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