Books for Pregnancy and Birth



There’s a fair bit of negativity around having a baby – we often talk about how much it hurts, how horrible it is and how we never want to do it again…until the next time 😉

And when we are pregnant, especially when it is our first baby, this can make us feel scared and anxious about the unknown journey we need to go on to have our baby. Of course, labour can be painful and it can be tough but labour is also a unique experience and you can benefit from preparing as positively as possible in pregnancy. Aside from great antenatal classes, it can be useful to immerse yourself in some good information, something that talks positively about birth.  Reading something which reinforces what happens in your body, encourages you to trust your instincts and learning more about what may help you to labour, stay calm and work with your contractions  can only be good, surely?


Here’s a quick guide to some of my favourites…

ina may

I love anything by Ina May Gaskin – she reinforces the normal range of labour and what a natural experience it is. Not to say you *should* be aiming for a natural birth but Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth reinforces that birth is normal and that your body knows what to do. It talks about how pregnant and birthing women are supported and empowered and Ina May encourages you to try to listen to your body and to your instincts to do what is best for you and your baby.


I like Sheila Kitzinger for the same reason – Pregnancy and Childbirth was key for me when I was preparing  my head for the birth of my first baby. Have to say it worked for me, Kitzinger helped me believe in my body and my ability to birth my baby.


Another great read Homebirth by Nicky Wesson – it is a must for anyone who wants to find out more about birthing at home, or a birthing centre. It’ll talk you through deciding if a homebirth is the right option for you, why and how it works, safety and the what ifs.

active birth

The New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas is an old favourite of mine – it opened my eyes to taking control of my labour, that I wasn’t just going to go into hospital and do what I was told, that this was my labour. I felt empowered and stronger with it and it has definitely impacted on my antenatal teaching as well.


 Expecting by Daphne Metland and Anna McGrail is packed with information and facts about pregnancy and giving birth. It’s another great read because it provides a range of practical information, facts and ideas.

birth skills

As an experienced antenatal teacher, I love Birth Skills by JuJu Sundin. I constantly talk about the benefits of developing and using movement, positions and breathing in pregnancy and in labour.

This book is about learning skills to have greater control during labour, so you know different ways to be comfortable, to stay calm and to allow your labour to flow.


Stand and Deliver: And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth by Emma Mahony is packed full of useful and interesting information and it is wonderfully written with humour and a load of positivity.

Happy reading – and let me know
what works for you…

About Janine 664 Articles
As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and parent support - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, different voices and links to the best products and services for families.