Gentle Beginnings Birth & Wellness Center


A Few Must Reads

Hello! Melissa, here. One question a lot of women who are expecting ask me is, “What books do you recommend?”. As I was driving home the other day, thinking on this topic, I found myself belting out “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of my car...on 635. It was fun, and it’s been way too long since I watched that movie!



Back to the topic at hand. I do have a short list of tried and true reads, trusty nightstand companions, and here it is:


“Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin.


Reasons why I love this one: It is so readable. It is positive. It is practical. The first half is all birth stories written by the women themselves or by Ina May and the midwives that work with her. Whether you are pregnant with your 1st or your 10th, it is so good to read stories of women who have gone before you, birthed their babies, and would do it again! Way better to fill your head with these stories as opposed to the story that lady in Target told you about her 300 hour labor, etc... etc.... And the stories are short! You can read one in just a few minutes. I even recommend at the end of your pregnancy going back and re-reading one birth story a day :)

The second half is birth philosophy and practical advice. You will be informed and knowledgeable about what is actually going on during labor and birth and how you can best work with your body and your baby to achieve the end goal.


“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League International


Don’t be intimidated by the size of this one! This gem is an everything-you-needed-to-know about breastfeeding from the first latch to the last. You can read this on a need to know basis. Start in the beginning reading about how to breastfeed a newborn and then read the rest of it as you go along and want to know about troubleshooting, introducing solids, tandem nursing, weaning, and everything inbetween! This is a fabulous resource to have on the bookshelf to refer to when you need it. On this note, La Leche league is amazing! Check out a local chapter meeting if you want to get together with other nursing moms and babies for free breastfeeding support and solidarity, sister.


“Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheon



If you have to pick ONE to ask your partner to read with you I would pick this one. It is a readable, evidenced based guide to prepare women and their coaches for pregnancy, labor, and birth. This book focuses what to expect physically and emotionally in the different stages of labor and more importantly (in my opinion) gives you tools to embrace and manage it more comfortably. It has great illustrations that show you different positions for labor and really helps your coach to feel like they know how to help you. THIS IS SO KEY. This one is written for both of you and you’ll be so glad you read it together!

I think I’ll stop there.

Best of luck to you and happy reading!

-Student Midwife, Melissa

Michele Massey