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Books to Prepare for Your Ideal Labor

Books to Prepare for Your Ideal Labor 

This quarantine has changed so much including how you are preparing for your birth. Across the nation, we have witnessed cancellation of childbirth classes left and right leaving millions of expecting parents feeling stranded and unprepared. 

On social media, in my inboxes, in my texts, and frantic phone calls have proved that women are feeling the pressure of having tons of questions and not having anywhere to turn for answers. There are great online choices, but there is also a group of women who aren’t jazzed by that option. If that’s you, don't worry, you can still prepare fully...through reading! I can’t tell you how much I learn from books. I have compiled a list of my favorite books that are incredibly supportive of a safe and gently, controlled birth experience. 


  1. Expecting Better- Emily Oster
    When parents ask me waht books they should read, I understand that most parents aren’t going to bang out a book a month so logically I want to suggest one book to increase the likelihood they get, at least, some information. This is always that one book. If you read nothing else, read this. It will help you understand the most common misconception and misbeliefs about pregnancy. Professor Emily has looked at meta-analysis on things like drinking alcohol in pregnancy or sleeping on your back and shared what the science says in comparison to what current recommendations are (you’ll see some of our recommendations are more than just a little out of date…). 

  2. Cribsheet- Emily Oster
    Round Two. This is Professor Emily’s second book. The book title sounds like it’d be fit for postpartum, but it’s slightly misleading. It is about things you’ll need to know postpartum, so you should read it before your baby is here so you are already educated on the decisions you’ll face immediately after birth like the erythromycin eye gel and what to know if your baby fails their hearing test (don’t worry 30% do!). 

  3. Pushed-Jennifer Block
    This book is the cold, hard truth. It’s the ugly side of birth, but it’s an important side to be aware of if you are birthing in the medical system (hospital or birthing center). Jennifer shares about the side of healthcare that is financially driven. At the end of the day, a hospital is a business and everything has a price tag, even birth. While that alone may not sound intimidating, Pushed will help you understand why certain practices may be pushed or suggested over something else (hint: a lot of it comes back to the pay day or the cost associated). If you go into it understanding you can use this information to equip yourself, you can actually protect yourself. 

  4. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth- Ina May Gaskin
    This is the woo-woo book in the group. Every book club has to have one and this is mine. Ina May is my spirit animal and this was the first book I read after I decided to become a doula. It has shaped the integral parts of who I am and how I practice. Ina May shares the raw and beautiful ( and very, very crunchy) side of birth. This book will help you understand everything I‘ve said about the mind and body connection. After reading this, you’ll know why my Mastering Your Mindset for Birth is one of the most requested and most attended classes we have. 

  5.  Babies are not Pizza- Rebecca Dekker
    I already love Evidence Based Birth and it’s one of my staples. It has been incredibly influential in, both, my practice and my support during birth. Rebecca is brilliant when it comes to explaining big data piles in everyday terms so your average birthing person can understand what the hard science (and confusing statistics) says about having a baby. In Babies are Not Pizza, Rebecca shares the evidence behind routine care during pregnancy and what birthing people should know. 

  6.  Birth Without Fear- January Harshe
    January breaks down any limiting mindset you may have around your ability to birth your baby. As a mama of 6 and someone who has had every kind of birth (seriously, C-section, VBAC, HBAC, freebirth, etc), she is sharing what you can do to break free of the restrictions of traditional maternity care and take control of your birth...yal know that’s right up my alley!

    Optional: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
    I know this isn’t about pregnancy or birth, but I am a firm believer that everyone can breastfeed if they want. This book beautifully sets the stage of what to expect when breastfeeding a newborn. You know I love realistic expectations so this book is another staple of mine. 

The way you prepare for your birth matters. It matters big time. There is absolutely 0 time to avoid preparing or put this off. You’re already working on a limited 9-10 month schedule and every minute you don’t prepare is time you could have spent mastering your mindset to control your birth no matter what comes your way. 

In The Birth Lounge, I teach my signature C.O.N.T.R.O.L. Method that helps women have less painful births, shorter pushing time, and decreased tearing. Join me in the lounge if you are ready to take control and have a safe, gentle birth experience. 

Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


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