Books and Resources

Below is a list of some of the millions of books around the subject of childbirth. The ones in italics I have and am happy to lend out free subject to availability. If anything should happen to a book you have borrowed I ask that you replace it so others can benefit from this service.
It includes sections on…

• Pregnancy and childbirth
• Home Birth
• Water Birth
• Breech birth
• Caesarean birth
• Men and Birth
• Yoga
• Breastfeeding
• Postnatal depression and emotional distress
• Loss
• Complementary Therapies
• AIMS booklets
• Journals

Pregnancy and Childbirth

England, Pam and Horowitz, Rob (2007). Birthing from Within. Souvenir Press Ltd.
This publication provides an insightful exploration about birth as part of a journey within a life journey. It raises the issue of how our past experiences may impact on birth and provides ideas and tolls for examining this. It includes women’s art work and comments which brings the book to life.

Gaskin, Ina May (2008). Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Vermillion.
Ina May is one of the worlds leading Midwives. She includes an informative range of birth stories and then a section on labour techniques. If you are only going to read one book let this be it! Useful for Dads too.

Kitzinger, Sheila (2006). Birth Crisis. Routledge.
An excellent book exploring traumatic birth experiences.

Buckley, Sarah J (2009). Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering. Celestial Arts
Sarah is a GP in Australia who has had home births. She describes the benefits of gentle birth for the whole family. The book contains detailed physiology about hormones during pregnancy, birth and after the birth. It moves from conception to looking after older children.

Mander, Rosemary (2011). Pain in Childbearing and its control. Wiley-Blackwell.

An in depth and thorough publication which covers pharmacological and non pharmacological methods and approaches to pain relief. It is research based and provides information on the known advantages and disadvantages of the methods it covers.

Moberg, Kerstin Uvnas (2011). The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping The Hormone of Calm, Love, And Healing. Pinter & Martin
This publication focuses on the hormone oxytocin and its many functions and facets.
Noble, Carolyn (2001). Birth Stories. Ginninderra Press. Denis – birth Stories for the Soul.
A moving book of reflective birth stories. Includes stories of loss and bereavement.

Simkin, Penny. (2008). The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions. Harvard Common Press.
The author has written extensively on women’s experiences and how to support women through pregnancy, birth and immediately after birth. Her work is thorough and compassionate and based on many years of working in the field.

Stockton Adela (2009). Birth Space Safe Place: Emotional wellbeing through pregnancy and birth. Findhorn Press.
This focuses on the emotional and spiritual well being of women during pregnancy and gives ideas for approaching birth with confidence.

Walsh, Denis and Byrom, Sheena (Eds) (2009). Birth Stories for the Soul: Tales for women, families and childbirth professionals. Quay Books

A deeply moving, inspiring book. The stories include those from women, partners, grandparents, siblings and midwives and cover a wide range of themes. All demonstrate the impact of excellent midwifery care from a known and trusted midwife and the importance of sensitive obstetric support.

Wesson Nicky (1999) Labour Pain: Discover the secrets of an easier labour. Vermillion.

A readable book for parents about pain in labour and the different approaches to coping in labour. The author is a mother, antenatal teacher and AIMS member and draws on many years of experience of talking to women about their pregnancies and births.

Wesson, Nicky (1997). Morning Sickness. Vermilion.
Again a readable book for women. The book provides information on the causes of morning sickness and a wide range of treatments that women have used to alleviate this.

Older Publications

Balaskas, Janet(1990). New Active Birth: A Concise Guide to Natural Childbirth. Thorsons
A good basic guide pregnancy and birth book. Popular with women.

Balaskas, Janet (1990). New Natural Pregnancy: Practical Well being from Conception to Birth. Interlink Publishing Group
This publication covers the so-called minor ailments in pregnancy and a variety of alternative remedies for these. It provides a good overall perspective which could give ideas for more in-depth information about alternative approaches.

Balaskas, Janet and Gordon, Yehudi (1991). Encyclopaedia of Pregnancy and Birth. McDonald Orbis
Another good basic pregnancy and birth book. Covers a range of topics from conception to the postnatal period. It contains a useful section on foods and their vitamin and mineral content.

Beech, Beverley A Lawrence and Robinson, Jean (1994). Ultrasound Unsound? AIMS
An AIMS publication which considers the possible impact on the unborn baby’s neurological development. The authors acknowledge the lack of good research in the field and call for further research. An update is available from AIMS by the same authors.

Bergum, V. (1989). Woman to Mother: A transformation. Bergin and Garvey
This book is based on in-depth interviews with 6 women moving through pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. It is sensitively written and extremely readable, providing insights into women’s experiences of how their intuitive knowledge relates to medical professional knowledge.

Home Birth…

Kitzinger, Sheila (2002). Birth Your Way. Dorling Kindersley.
Sheila writes well on the emotional aspects of birth. Although the book is ostensibly about homebirth, it could usefully be read by any pregnant woman and her partner. Her section on touch and support during labour is particularly helpful.

Wesson, Nicky (2006). Homebirth: A practical guide. Pinter and Martin.
This fourth edition has been completely updated and provides information on homebirth as well as women’s accounts of their homebirths. Previous editions have been found to be particularly useful by women planning homebirths.

Edwards, Nadine, P. (2005). Birthing Autonomy: Women’s experiences of planning homebirths. Routledge.
This publication looks at the experiences of 30 women who planned home births in Scotland. It suggests that women define safety in broader ways than obstetrics, that trusting relationships with midwives who support a social approach to birth is crucial, and that obstetric practices when used routinely, can harm women and their babies physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Older Publications

Campbell, Rhona and Macfarlane, Alison (1994). Where to be born: The debate and the evidence. National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit.

Again another older publication but it does have a very readable account of the statistical research on homebirth and safety. The well respected authors concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that homebirth was unsafe at this time – there have subsequently been further studies in this area but this remains a key publication.

O’Connor, Marie (1995): Birth Tides: Turning towards homebirth. (Pandora).
This is very readable and is based on in depth interviews with women who planned and had homebirths in Ireland. It explains women’s views on safety and risk and what homebirth means to them as individuals.

Water Birth…

Balaskas, Janet (2004). The Waterbirth Book. Thorsons.
One of the few books on waterbirth for women. It is a good comprehensive, practical guide and covers more than just waterbirth.

Garland, Diane (2011). Revisiting waterbirth: An attitude to care. Palgrave MacMillan.
This is a book primarily aimed at midwives but it is a good source of information for both parents and birth supporters.

Breech Birth

Banks, Maggie (1998). Breech Birth Woman-Wise. Free Association Books.
One of the few publications devoted to breech birth. Homebirth midwife Maggie Banks brings together up-to-date research and a midwifery perspective to give women and midwives confidence that breech babies can be born normally and without problems.

Jane Evans (2005): Breech Birth: What are my options? AIMS Publications.
An invaluable booklet which presents concise evidence based information to help women make decisions about their care options when their baby is presenting in the breech.

Waites, Benna (2003). Breech Birth. Free Association Books.
This publication provides a very detailed examination of the research on breech birth, so that women can make decisions about vaginal births or caesarean operations foe breech babies.

Caesarean Birth

Chippington Derrick, Lowdon and Barlow (2004).Caesarean Birth: Your questions answered. The National Childbirth Trust.
This booklet answers the questions that people most commonly ask about having a baby by caesarean.
Churchill, Helen and Savage, Wendy (2008). Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section: The VBAC handbook. Middlesex University Press.
One of the authors is an obstetrician who is a strong advocate for women’s childbirth rights.

Odent, Michael (2004). The Caesarean. Free Association Books.
Very readable, an interesting exploration of caesareans, why they have become popular and what their impact on humanity is likely to be. Another opportunity to read about Michel Odent’s theories and musings on the birth process in a cultural context.

Vadeboncoeur, Helene (2011). Birthing Normally after a Caesarean Section or Two: A guide for pregnant women – exploring reasons and practicalities for VBAC. Fresh Heart for Better Birth.
This book is a recent publication and has received good reviews.

Mander, Rosemary (2007). Caesarean: Just another way of birth? Routledge.
This publication combines great attention to detail with a broad range of sources to provide an in depth and practical read.

Men and Birth

There has been a recent explosion of books about fatherhood and pregnant men – however some are less informative than others. The following couple of books provide a good balance…

Leah Hazard (2008). The Father’s Home Birth Handbook. Victoria Park Press
An excellent resource for men considering or or planning to support their partners birthing at home.

Mander, Rosemary (2004). Men and Maternity. Routledge.
With so little written about men at birth, this is a welcome addition. As usual Rosemary pays meticulous attention to research, as well as including men’s voices.

Vernon, David (2006). Men at Birth. College of Australian Midwives.
Men’s stories in their own words.


Balaskas, Janet (2003). Preparing for Birth with Yoga. Thorsons.
An updated edition of the book on yoga for pregnancy. The section on breathing is particularly helpful. Some of the poses may be too complicated for women who have not practiced yoga before, but they could be adapted and simplified.

Farhi, Donna (2001). Yoga, Mind, Body and Spirit: A return to wholeness. New Leaf.
Recommended by active birth teacher and trainer, Alice Charlwood at the active birth centre

Farhi, Donna (2005). Bringing Yoga to Life: The everyday practice of enlightened living. Harper Collins.
Recommended by active birth teacher and trainer, Alice Charlwood at the active birth centre.

Freedman, Francoise Barbara (2004). Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond. Dorling Kindersley.
Another perspective on yoga for the natal period. This book, having a substantial section on postnatal Yoga, brings in the continuum of support Yoga can provide for mothers.

Sabatini, Sandra (2006). Breath: The essence of Yoga. Pinter and Martin.
Essential reading.

Stewart, Mary (2003). Yoga. Teach Yourself Books.
An all round and easy to read introduction to Yoga, of a very manageable length.


Gaskin, Ina May (2009) Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Pinter & Martin.
One of the worlds leading midwives. This is an excellent book.

Giles, Fiona (2003). Fresh Milk – The secret life of breasts. Simon & Schuster.

Pitman Teresa, Weissinger Diane and West, Diana (Eds) (2010) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. La Leche League. 8Th Edition.
A broad ranging book on breastfeeding and mothering. Another classic.

Postnatal Depression and Emotional Distress

Curham, Siobhan (2000). Antenatal and Postnatal Depression. Vermillion.
A basic introduction.

Kitzinger, Sheila (2006). Birth Crisis. Routledge.
Draws on mothers’ voices and experiences to explore suffering after childbirth. It is a fascinating and useful resource for birth supporters, health professional, women and their families who want to learn how to overcome a traumatic birth.

Rowe, Dorothy and Nicholson, Paula (2001). Postnatal Depression: Facing the paradox of loss, happiness ands motherhood (family matters). Wiley-Blackwell.
A highly recommended book.


Henley, Alix and Kohner, Nancy (2001). When a Baby Dies: The experience of late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Routledge.
In this book, parents who have lost a baby tell their stories. They speak about what happened, how they felt, how they have been helped by others and how they helped themselves.

Lothrop, Hannah (2004). Help, Comfort and Hope after Losing Your Baby in Pregnancy or the First Year. Da Capo Press.
A sensitively written, broad ranging book which acknowledges the pain and grief of parents who suffer the death of a baby.

Moulders, Christine (2001) Miscarriage: Women’s experiences and needs. Routledge.
A sensitively written book that discusses women’s experiences of miscarriage.

Complementary Therapies

Castro, Miranda (2005). Homeopathy for Mother and Baby. Homeopathic Supply Company.
One of the few publications recommended by a range of homeopaths as it provides detailed and accurate information.

McIntyre, Anne (2003). The Herbal for Mother and Child. Thorsons.
A good basic introduction.

Machover, Ilana, Drake, Angela and Drake Jonathon (2006). The Alexander Technique Birth Book: A guide to better pregnancy, natural birth and parenthood. Mouritz.
This book has some interesting quotes from women about how they experienced labour.

Thomas, Pat (2000). Alternative Therapies for pregnancy and Birth. Thorsons.
A range of approaches for pregnancy and birth.

Aims Booklets

Am I Allowed
Beverley Lawrence Beech (2003). Beverley is an expert on women’s rights in maternity care. This booklet sets out options and rights through all the stages of pregnancy and birth.

Birth After Caesarean
Jenny Lesley (2004). Aims to provide information about choices and suggests ways in which a vaginal birth after a caesarean can be made more likely.

Birthing Your Baby: The Second Stage
Nadine Pilley Edwards and Beverley Lawrence Beech (2000). Details the physiology of the pushing stage of labour and considers the advantages for the mother and baby, of a more relaxed approach to the birth of the baby.

Breech Birth: What are my options?
Jane Evans (2005). Written by one of the most experienced midwives in assisting women to give birth to their breech babies.

Birthing Your Placenta: The third stage
Nadine Pilley Edwards and Sara Wickham (2011). This booklet discusses the merits and disadvantages of both managed and physiological third stages.

Induction: Do I really need it?
Sara Wickham (2004). Examines the complex social and emotional reasons women may have for wanting their baby induced and also the feelings of women who feel they are manipulated into the decision to induce.

What’s Right for Me: Making decisions in pregnancy and birth.
Sara Wickham (2002). This booklet helps women think through their needs and feelings so the process of decision making becomes less daunting.

Vitamin K and the Newborn.
Sara Wickham (2003). Designed to help women make choices based on the little evidence there is.


AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services) The aims journal is an excellent source of up to date information, views and research from women’s perspectives. On the cutting edge of birth issues

Birth: Issues in perinatal care Considered to contain some of the best research papers.

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