What to Read During Pregnancy: A Doula's Top Picks


With so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes birth books. Quiet time can be a hot commodity for us parents too, so before we spend our precious moments alone reading a birth book, it helps to know it's worth devoting time to. With that in mind, I'm sharing a few of my top picks as a Birth Doula for books to read during your pregnancy journey in preparation for your birth. These are books I've read myself and recommend to the families I support as a Doula.
In addition to being able to learn or review some of the important milestones and decisions you might encounter during your pregnancy and birthing time, setting time aside to read is a great way to slow down during your pregnancy. You can use this time to practice or implement relaxation techniques, and it'll also give you a chance each day to intentionally connect with the tiny human you're growing. I've found that when I sit, take a moment to connect with my tiny human and note where we are in our journey, this is when he is most active. Knowing this, my intentional quiet time before I dive into reading or breathing practice each day has easily become something I look forward to and enjoy.
I also want to mention, even though it feels different at times in the motherhood community, there is no perfect birth. There is only the perfect birth for you and your family. However, one of the best ways to work towards the birth you envision is by getting familiar with the emotional, physical, and physiological aspects of birth and exposing yourself to the power you have when it comes to decision making. The evidence actually tells us that even when births deviate from our vision, people who feel prepared for these changes often still view their birth experience in a positive light. You truly have everything to gain and nothing to lose by adding to your bank of birth knowledge. Here are some of my favorites!
Don't be deterred by the Natural in the title if you're still exploring your vision for birth. This book offers some good insight on how to prepare for birth in a hospital setting whether your goal is zero intervention or you're open to certain procedures or medications
Not only is this a great option for the birthing person, but it's probably my top pick for your partner or the support person you'd like present during your birth.
This book covers it all - the physiological must-knows (think how the body functions during labor), the emotional transformation you're about the embark on, and it gives practical advice for preparing your body for birth, right down to recipes and yoga poses.
I love this book because while it includes great information birthing people need to know, and it also marries the scientific research we currently have with things like meditation and ceremony.
This is worth the read because it discusses decisions birthing families commonly encounter, as well as some of the evidence available to us on these interventions. I'm a huge advocate for evidence based care, so this one always comes to mind. It's also a great resource for VBAC families.
Some additional options:

  • Birthing from Within
  • Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method
  • Cut, Stapled, and Mended 
  • *therapeutic option for birthing people attempting VBAC*
  • Active Birth

Now grab your pregnancy pillow, get comfy with a cup of tea, and happy reading!
About the Author:

I'm Amber, wife to Jorge, and Mama to Diego, Cruz, and one tiny human on the way!nI'm a Birth Doula and Certified Lactation Educator Counselor supporting growing families in Orange County, California. I'm also a connoisseur of delicious food, Grey's Anatomy superfan, lover of good books, and when I'm not doing birthwork, I enjoy long strolls through Disneyland and coffee. Lots of coffee.

The Mama Sol Birth story - I've always known I was meant to do birth work, it's just taken a lot of life and motherhood to find the role that was meant for me. I completed undergrad at the University of California, Irvine with every intention of continuing on to nursing school. I interned at a local OC hospital and a year after graduating, I was admitted to the Master of Science in Nursing program at the University of San Francisco. It was and still is one of proudest achievements, but after what seemed like an eternity of anxious self reflection, I realized I still had more learning and exploring to do outside of academia before making such a huge commitment. During my first pregnancy I learned of the doula's role in childbirth and honestly, something just clicked! It was hard to table years of investment into nursing but it seemed like around every turn life pulled me towards doula work. Finally, after two babies and a couple years devoted to learning how to handle motherhood, I took the plunge, completed a birth doula training, and I launched my business.

The rest is still unfolding.

I'm not a professional mommy blogger by any means! You won't get perfectly curated insta-worthy photos every single time or through an entire post of mine without some spelling errors (there's usually a toddler dying to hit the keyboard). What you will get is some honest and real tidbits about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood based on my successes, failures (yup, these happen and it's ok!), and what I'm continuing to learn as a Birth Doula.

I hope it's helpful, like chicken soup for your mama sol, and I hope you follow along.


This post originally appeared on Mama Sol Birth