I am frequently asked by friends to recommend inspiring books about pregnancy and birth! So here are my top 3 Books/Authors! I would equally recommend these books as must-reads for any aspiring Midwives/Doulas!
1) Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
This was the first Midwifery book that I ever read, and was given to me by my great friend and eternal inspiration Ingrid Lewis.
Ina recommends singing, snogging and laughing to keep you relaxed during labour, which facilitates a feeling of OPENING and gets the love hormones (Oxytocin) going!
Similarly Katherine Graves recommends a “sloppy kiss” as the ultimate hypnobirthing tool! I LOVE this beautiful video where the parents are kissing in the birthpool during the labour.
Ina-May Says: “it’s love that got the baby in there, so it’s love that will get the baby out!” (or something like that!)
2) Rediscovering Birth, Sheila Kitzinger
Given to me by the phenomenal Superwoman that is Annie Francis just before I started my Midwifery training, this book is a beautiful salutation to the anthropological and historical legacy of birth.
It reminds us that birth wasn’t always the medicalised and managed phenomenon that it is today and many cultures across the globe did, and still do, view birth very differently.
Sheila heralds pregnancy and childbirth as the ultimate woman’s journey through highlighting its legacy as an important ritual and right of passage for women, over time and place.
Sheila says: “Birth isn't something we suffer but something we actively do and exhault in!”
3) Michel Odent: Birth and Breastfeeding (and tonnes of other books by him)
The Oxytocin King! Michel reminds us most importantly that we should NOT distract the labouring woman when she is 'in her zone!’ Viewing birth as an essentially animalistic, primal act he warns against triggering the ‘neocortex’ or the 'thinking brain' when the labouring woman is in her groove!
These books were sort of given to me viscerally by my Mum back in 1984 as she read his books and applied his principles when she gave birth to La petite Jodi in 1985!
Odent's primal health work is equally important in emphasising that the way we are born can have profound effects on the way we experience the world as adults. Some people find his views a bit extreme but I say take what you like and leave what you don’t? (there are some REALLY juicy bits!)
Michel says (do your best French accent here): "giving birth is a lot like making love, you wouldn’t want to do that in a bright room with lots of stranger watching you."
Alternatively you can watch the man himself on youtube here (amongst other places), he really has to be seen to be experienced!