The 5 Best books to prepare for an empowered birth


There are plenty of quality books on the market about parenting and birthing. But what about the process of giving birth in a more natural environment? Few titles actually strike a balance between informative and empowering when it comes to labor and delivery. Most books you’ll find will give you a rundown of what to expect, but often times that means what to expect in a standard hospital birth with an obstetrician as your care provider. For those who opt for a homebirth or in a birth center, like the SCV Birth Center, these books don’t always paint an accurate picture of how to help you plan or envision your birth.

While it’s important to understand the kinds procedures that happen in a hospital birth setting, so that you’re well prepared if the need for a hospital transfer arrives, it’s equally important to set yourself up for your out of hospital birth.  You can do this with the help of the best reading materials catered to your unique experience. That is why it is important that you have resources you can use to help empower your home birth journey. In this article, we will break down some of the best books you can read to prepare you for the birth you envision. 


Here are some of the best books that will help support you in your empowered birth:


 Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth1) Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Number one of the must-read list is Ina May’s notorious Guide to Childbirth. Ina May is one of the most trusted midwives, with over thirty years of experience in natural childbirth. Her book gives women all the tools they need to trust the process of birth. In her guide, the mother of midwifery talks in-depth about the midwifery model of care and discusses the safety and benefits of out of hospital birth. Most importantly, is the deep discussions of the mind-body connection, the role fear plays in delivery, and the importance of trusting in the body’s sacred abilities. It’s hard to come away from reading Guide to Childbirth without feeling a little calmer, centered, and totally empowered. If there is only one book you read, this is that book. 


The Birth Partner2) The Birth Partner

Often required reading for doulas and other birth workers, The Birth Partner is essential for anyone who is planning to support a birth. This comprehensive book gives a detailed look at what the stages of birth look and feel like and how best to support each of them. Whether a doula, a husband, partner, or another support person, reading The Birth Partner will help turn anyone who will be in the birthing room into a quality support person. With helpful positions, comfort measures and other coping skills, this book is the real deal when it comes to supporting any kind of birth.


Birthing from within3) Birthing from Within

This book is a great read for anyone planning a natural birth because of its view that birth is a natural process with the ability to be a transformative experience for women. Rather than talking about birth as something that should be deeply feared (as society often teaches it), it helps teach women to believe in themselves and see birth as an empowering rite of passage. Birthing from Within also offers plenty of activities to help soothe anxious minds, like journaling, meditation, and even painting. These activities can help mothers work through their possible fears about labor. It also gives quality information about the immediate postpartum, as well as practical advice for nursing, sleep, and all the baby care questions new mothers typically have, all from a spiritual and holistic-based approach.


The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Childbirth4) The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Childbirth

An important read for anyone looking for an evidence-based birth, The Thinking Woman’s Guide digs deep into the latest research. While, as empowered women, we are used to making informed decisions about most important things in our lives, when it comes to giving birth, some care providers expect us to hand over the reins. This book, written by a doula and Lamaze instructor, examines the hard truths about the medical view of birth and teaches us that often times, the medical model of care doesn’t line up with the best science. For any woman who is looking to make informed choices about her birth (and aren’t we all?), this book is a must-read before delivery day.


Birth Without Fear5) Birth Without Fear

In this deeply empowering and nonjudgmental book by January Harshe, the founder of the online community by the same name, the author does an incredible job of presenting women with their options during delivery. It’s one of the most important aspects of giving birth- simply knowing your options, and yet so many women walk into the birthing room without knowing what their choices are. Harshe wants women to reclaim their power on one of the most important days of their life and make their own choices about how their babies are born, whether that’s in a hospital, in a birth center, or at home. She reminds women that they have the power of informed consent and no one can take that away.

If you are looking for more resources for your birth or breastfeeding journey feel free to stop into the SCV Birth Center in Santa Clarita and see our little library. We are always happy to help. You can also find more helpful resources and articles about preparing for birth HERE

The SCV Birth Center the only nationally accredited birth center in the Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando, and Antelope Valley. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.