I admit that What to Expect When You’re Expecting is sitting on my bookshelf, and I too laughed along when reading Up the Duff. These are popular pregnancy books and do provide some good information, but it’s useful to read a bit more widely, particularly when it comes to preparing for birth.
Try to get your hands on some of these Australian pregnancy books which will give you a different perspective – one which is relevant to pregnancy, birth and parenting here in Australia. Some of them you’ll find in your local library while others are harder to source. They are listed in no particular order.
1. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah J Buckley
An Australian doctor and a mother, Sarah Buckley approaches the question of how a woman and baby might have the most fulfilling birth experience with respect for the wisdom of both medical science and the human body. She combines current medical research with women’s experiences (including her own), and demonstrates that what she calls “undisturbed birth” is almost always healthier and safer than high-technology approaches to birth. Her wise counsel on issues like breastfeeding and sleeping during postpartum helps extend the gentle birth experience into a gentle parenting relationship.
2. Well Adjusted Babies, Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
An Australian Best-Seller, this book is well-researched and easy-to-read. It covers information about Self-Care During Pregnancy, Meeting Your Physical/Emotional Needs, Techniques to Ease the Pain of Labour, How to Have a Safe, Natural Birth, Breastfeeding, and many useful parenting tips.
3. Birth with Confidence, Rhea Dempsey
Written by one of Australia’s foremost thinkers on the subject of childbirth, this book explains why normal birth is almost impossible in our current birth culture-and what women can do to beat the odds. In this accessible, straightforward book, Rhea Dempsey draws on over thirty years’ experience to show how a woman’s choice of caregivers, support team and birthplace, as well as her life experience and personal attitudes to pain, will affect her birth outcomes. Featuring real-life stories, the latest Australian statistics and opportunities for guided personal reflection, Birth with Confidence provides the knowledge and practical advice that women need for the best chance of normal birth in today’s birth culture.
4. The Down to Earth Birth Book, Jenny Blyth
The Down to Earth Birth Book is a practical guide to natural birth in any setting, promoting self-nurturing, responsibility and awareness to help create a conscious birth and parenting experience. This is a ‘grass roots’ book that celebrates the innate intelligence of mind, body and spirit in relation to birth.
5. Having a Great Birth in Australia, David Vernon
A collection of birth stories, that demonstrate that birth can be a positive, life-affirming event, and that it need not, with the right support, be the trauma that the media often suggests childbirth is. The experiences described are diverse, ranging from caesarean births and VBAC births, to births that take place at home and in a birth centre or labour ward. All of the mothers in this book chose to have their birth care provided by an individual midwife. These stories express the experiential aspects of childbirth and are used to educate midwives. There is also a description of a miscarriage and a stillbirth and the stories explain how the women managed to overcome their feelings of grief at the event.
6. Birth Journeys, Leonie Macdonald
A collection of 29 diverse birth stories by Australian women (and men) written to encourage, inspire and reassure you. Find out how beautiful and powerful every birth can be by reading these positive, uplifting and truthful stories.
7. Labour of Love, Gabrielle Targett
This book presents information in an empowering and honest way written from the eclectic experiences of Gabrielle who has worked as a Doula and independent childbirth educator for 20 years. The information is beautifully intertwined with stories from the heart, and includes information and quotes from other prominent childbirth educators. Gabrielle presents a non-medical approach to childbirth that emphasises empowering and asserting confidence in women and their support partners. Every chapter has something to offer to assist in acknowledging what is necessary when preparing for a natural birth. It also de-mystifies and questions the fear surrounding birth today and covers so many important labour and birth issues that are often overlooked.
8. Ten Moons: The Inner Journey of Pregnancy–Preparation for Natural Birth, Jane Hardwicke Collings
Ten Moons is a treasure-trove of women’s lore and spiritual nourishment around pregnancy and birth. Midwife Jane Hardwicke Collings illuminates the sacred dimensions of childbearing with practical information, individual exercises and enlightening sharing from herself and others, including many who have participated in her birth workshops.
9. Birth Skills, Juju Sundin with Sarah Murdoch
If you’re like most women, you’ll go into labour with little knowledge of exactly what your body is doing and why, and how you can actively manage the pain and stay in control while helping your body do what it’s designed to. Birth Skills is a step-by-step guide packed with information plus easy-to-learn, proven pain management skills. In Birth Skills, obstetric physiotherapist Juju Sundin shares the techniques she has pioneered over her 30-year career, while Sarah Murdoch takes you on a personal journey of her own labour and birth, describing how she learned the skills in the class then applied them on the big day.
10. BIRTH – Conceiving, nurturing and giving birth to your baby, Catherine Price and Sandra Robinson
Every prospective parent’s bible and now a bestseller in Australia and New Zealand. It is reader-friendly and reassuring, providing practical, up-to-date, accurate and unbiased information. At around 600 pages, BIRTH manages to answer virtually every question you may have relating to preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. BIRTH explains medical treatments and natural therapies, describing the many normal physical changes of pregnancy and what to expect for labour and birth or when having a caesarean, including possible variations from the norm and the mother’s physical recovery. It dispels common myths and addresses the many concerns and endless worries women, their partners and support people may have, as well as providing options for achievable support strategies.
Caroline Bagga is Mum to 3 beautiful girls, age 6, 4 and 21 months. She is passionate about helping women to have a healthy, active pregnancy and an empowering birth. Caroline is Founder of Mother Nurture Yoga, Sydney’s Leading Pregnancy Yoga School, offering Pregnancy Yoga Classes in 8 locations around Sydney, as well as Retreats, Couples Workshops, Online Courses and DVDs. Find out more at www.mothernurtureyoga.com.au