What Should I Read Now That I’m Pregnant?
It’s funny how quickly your taste in reading changes once you find out you’re pregnant. Suddenly, your appetite for bestsellers or Reddit sub-feeds is replaced with all things pregnancy and childbirth. You’ve probably already noticed that tons of things have been written on these subjects in various forms: books, blogs, websites, magazine articles, etc. Regardless of the delivery system you prefer, you are probably wondering what you should be reading and how best to sift through the seemingly limitless amount of written word.
Although the good news is that our information age has provided us an abundance of information on the subjects of pregnancy and childbirth, not all of it is what you should be reading. If for example, your mother-in-law has given you a dog-eared copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” from 1993, then you might want to smile, thank her politely, and discreetly move it to the bottom of your bedside stack of books. Why? Not only is the edition she gave you woefully out of date and lacking the most up-to-date information, but it also pads its 650+ pages with many alarmist worst-case scenarios that will only instill fear within you.
Of all the things reading up on pregnancy should do for you, rock bottom on that list is creating fear and apprehension. When we’re teaching our Hypnobirthing classes at the Birth Education Center, we spend a lot of time acknowledging fear and teaching ways to transmute it into power and confidence. So much of managing fear has to do with blocking out any negative influences that foster it, for example, books that go into anguishing details about all the things that can potentially go wrong for you or for your baby. Ultimately it’s best to turn your attention and energy toward the positive and things you can control, and fortunately, there are a lot of books and other sources of information that can help you do this.
One of the books that are always at the top of our referral list for our students is “Labor Like a Goddess: A Fearless Guide to Preparing for the 7 Gates of Transformation in Pregnancy and Birth” by Alexandra Moran and Lauren Mohana. We love this book so much because it uses allegory to address the different “gates” of labor and provides various exercises (think journaling, rituals, etc.) to work through each one ahead of time, so by the time you’re ready to go into labor you’ve made peace with the emotional and psychological side of birth that, if left unaddressed, can manifest into physical roadblocks along the way.
For breastfeeding, there’s a lot of detailed information out there (which again, is great!) but simpler is always better. You can’t go wrong with “Breastfeeding Made Simple” by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett Ph.D., or “Latch” by Robin Kaplan, to learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding without getting confused or overwhelmed. The KellyMom website is also a great source of information for all things breastfeeding.
In terms of websites, we love Evidence Based Birth because they walk the walk when it comes to collecting all the most up-to-the-minute information about pregnancy and childbirth. Their mission is to amass every bit of scientific research that’s available on any given subject, review the outcomes, and boil down the conclusions into convenient, unbiased, bottom-line summaries. You’re free to go down the minutia rabbit hole if you like and read all the statistics, or you can always drop down to the bottom and read the conclusion. Either way, it’s well researched and current data.
These recommendations are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s available, but as long as your guiding principle is seeking out well-reviewed, up-to-date, evidence-based information that doesn’t skew toward fear and worst-case scenarios, you should be in good shape. If you check in with your body and you’re not feeling calm, relaxed, and eager to turn the page, then click off that website or close that book and move onto the next one.
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