Since returning to the States, Husein and I have re-discovered the awesomeness that is the public library. I scoured the pregnancy-related books and found a few titles that interested me. Here’s a few that I’ve read and my brief thoughts on each.
The Yoga Birth Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Natural Chilbirth Even if you don’t commit yourself 100% to this method of birthing, I think anyone can appreciate the strategies it provides for a more “yogic” birth experience. It covers both the emotional aspects to consider and physical asanas you can do throughout pregnancy and labor. The part I liked best was where it discusses the importance of setting a birth intention and helps you create one. Here’s mine:
-accept feelings without trying to control them
-see pain as purposeful to bring baby into the world
-support the baby, don’t leave him to do all the work
-appreciate those supporting you (Hus, midwives, nurses)
-react to difficulty by learning from it
-peacefully accept the possibility of different outcomes (requiring pain relief, episiotomy, C-section, etc)
-use the mantras “My body is strong and ready” and “My baby and I are a team”
The asanas it recommends practicing throughout pregnancy and labor are pretty straightforward, with an emphasis on cat/cow, squats and child’s pose. They are all poses you are bound to be doing anyway in your standard prenatal flow. I also read another prenatal yoga book called…
Prenatal Yoga & Natural Childbirth A simple title, but be aware that this is some hard core hippy stuff. I like reading things like this, even if they are written on an extreme end of the spectrum, because I think there’s something to be learned from every different type of birth experience. In the beginning there is a very practical prenatal yoga sequence, similar to the one found in the other book. This was cool. The author of this book gives birth to 6 children, the first in the hospital and the rest at home, so the rest of the book is basically the birth stories of each child and then her firstborn daughter’s birth experience. Her goal is basically to have as little assistance as possible, so by the later births she’s pretty much just chilling at home with her husband having babies, including TWINS. Again, it’s pretty extreme but an interesting read. Not for everyone though.
Birthing a Better Way: 12 Secrets for Natural Childbirth This book is basically organized into these 12 secrets (which are nothing mind blowing, simple stuff like “read positive stories” or “don’t take labor lying down, gravity is your friend” etc), with one secret being each chapter, and each chapter includes tons of personal birth stories, informational passages and also excerpts written by doulas, midwives and obgyns. I appreciated how thorough this book is. It’s 320 pages of solid writing, not as repetitive as a bunch of other books I’ve read and providing many different perspectives. It covers a wide range of topics and moves quickly. I love reading positive birth stories, and this book is full of them. A good read overall.
Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth In a perfect world, Hus and I would have taken the 12 weeks of Bradley classes that you are supposed to do to fully commit to this method. Since that wasn’t possible for us, and I chose not to have a doula either, I am forcing Hus to read this book with me and becoming my “doula”. This book guides your partner in how to coach you throughout pregnancy and then labor, and it’s really written for the husbands (or partner, friend, family member that wants to be your labor coach) themselves. I appreciate that it’s written for the husband that knows NOTHING, which was pretty accurate for Hus. It prepares them for what to expect during a natural childbirth experience, and what they should and should not do along the way. It also guides them through husband-assisted exercises/meditations to do daily in the months leading up to birth. I’ve started doing the pelvic rolls and squats, but haven’t yet gotten Hus to do the nightly massages/relaxation things which I’m eager to do. WHY CAN’T I GET MY OWN HUSBAND TO MASSAGE ME?!! ARGGGH. Anyway, you need a pretty enthusiastic partner to make this work. Not sure if mine can really handle it, though I’m still working on him.
Okay, I’ve read others but will have to cover them later on. My back hurts. Chairs are dumb.