Three books every pregnant woman should read
I would never say that I’m organised, however I do like to ensure that whatever situation I’m in or about to be in I like to be as informed and prepared as I can be. I went about pregnancy and birth in the same way as I would do anything else, I wanted to know what my body was doing, how birth happens and what I needed to do to be able to breastfeed once baby was born. Also, I read a little about how to make that parenting transition all the more easier by understanding what my baby needed from me when they arrive!
I was recommended some books and these are the three that were really useful to me and made me feel like I knew what was going to happen to my body and how to look after my baby once they arrived! The best blog I read in the few weeks before Connie arrived said “Read the baby not the books” which is why I’m only recommending three books and saying they should be read BEFORE baby arrives!
- Maggie Howell, Effective Birth Preparation, your practical guide to a better birthThis book was recommended to me when I was about 15 weeks pregnant by a lady who said she told every pregnant woman about it as it was so good! She wasn’t wrong, the book is fascinating and explains why birth is such a natural thing and how it has been medicalised unnecessarily. You learn what your body goes through whilst in labour and how as long as you are healthy there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a completely natural birth. The information is as the title says, a practical guide to a better birth, this information empowers you as a woman to have the birth you want, I’m not saying this as a “hippy” I’m saying this as an educated woman who was given the tools to be able to have the birth I wanted. There is also an accompanying CD for Hypnobirthing depending on what type of birth you are having (hospital or home birth). I wrote my birth plan with complete confidence that what I planned would be how it would go as I had no doubts in my bodies ability to birth my baby after reading this book.
- You’ve Got it in You: A Positive Guide to Breast FeedingI read the first few chapters of this book completely fascinated by the fact that my body was not only supporting my baby successfully whilst I was carrying them inside me but would continue to do so once they were born. The day by day guide for the first week and then following on week by week letting you know what to expect in terms of feeding, wet nappies, dirty nappies and how to know if your baby is feeding “enough” baring in mind that when they are first born their stomach can only hold 5ml of liquid at a time and breastmilk is digested very quickly. It allowed me to stay calm when at three days old Connie “cluster-fed” all night as I knew that it meant she was upping my milk supply to suit her needs. By day 3 Connie was only 1oz below her birth weight, by the time she was 7 days old she’d gained 3oz over her birth weight! Admittedly I also sought advice from a lactation supporter and the La Leche League as Connie’s latch wasn’t right on one side but the information I learned from the book was invaluable!
- The Gentle Sleep Book: For calm babies, toddlers and pre-schoolersI bought this book before I was pregnant to understand a little bit more about the sleep patterns of my step-daughter Katie and help her to settle more easily when she was staying with us. The reason I love it is because I can dip into it for a bit of advice when I need it and find something that helps straight away to reassure me that what Connie or Katie is going through at the time is “normal” and how best to deal with it. The most important thing to take from the book is that babies don’t need to learn how to sleep, we need to learn why babies don’t sleep like we do! I knew before Connie was born that it would take her 12 weeks to develop her circadian rhythm so she wouldn’t know day from night until at least then. It was very important to me that I knew how best to soothe Connie so we got as much sleep as possible in those early weeks, although some nights were difficult when she was struggling with wind and generally getting used to being earthside but I felt I had the knowledge to get through them without feeling helpless. It’s got us to 16 months and through various development leaps!
I haven’t included much actual information from the books, more my experience of reading them and how much they helped me. I really think that going into parenthood prepared and informed has made the world of difference to me and I think that it’s really important for women to give themselves the opportunity to understand a bit more about themselves and the little person they are bringing into the world!