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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your health provider.
Utilizing VBAC Resources
The purpose of this websection is to list some books and other resources that might be helpful if you are considering a VBAC or imminently preparing for one. Books are useful in different ways for different people, so descriptions of the books are included to help you decide which books might best fit your needs. Remember that these are only Kmom's opinions and your opinions might vary.
It may seem daunting to track down and find/buy these VBAC books at first; you do not need to read every single book listed! If you only desire one or two books, The VBAC Companion or Natural Childbirth After Cesarean will probably be your best bets. If you want more but are unsure where to start, try a couple from each area, or use Kmom's "Top Ten" list as a starting point. However, most VBAC moms do find it helpful to read more, and Kmom has also included a number of audiotapes, videos, and websites that may also help.
The book lists contain a wide variety of book types to choose from, depending on your needs. There are general VBAC introductions, advocacy books about changing childbirth practices in the U.S., scholarly works citing research studies, and VBAC story collections. In addition, books of general childbirth interest are also listed, including some of the most valuable books about general childbirth preparation, ensuring proper fetal position for birth, hiring a doula, strategies for dealing with slow labor, etc.
Because women who have had cesareans often are grieving or dealing with trauma, books on emotional healing for childbirth or in general are also included. Pregnancy and birth are major rites of passage in life, and quite often bring up important life issues. "As women live, so they will birth," to paraphrase the old saying. Whatever issues from family problems, past abuse, lack of body trust, self-esteem problems, or control issues you have in life can also carry over into your pregnancy and parenting. This may be particularly true for many VBAC moms.
Pregnancy and birth are MAJOR opportunities in your life to heal past emotional baggage. It is vitally important to do 'emotional homework' for pregnancy. This work often improves birth outcomes, yet too often is de-emphasized by providers and educators. Parents should pursue emotional preparation as carefully as their physical and intellectual preparation for birth. Therefore, books and other resources that can help with this have also been included. Readers can pick and choose the areas that are most important to them to pursue.
If you have a favorite VBAC or childbirth resource that is not listed here, you can submit it to Kmom at email@example.com. To ease the workload, please use the format utilized here, and please include a very short description and opinion of the resource afterwards.
Kmom's Top Ten List
If you feel overwhelmed by the many books listed in the FAQ and would like a short "top-ten" version, here are Kmom's Top 10 VBAC Book Picks. If you want to read several VBAC books but don't want to invest your time in a huge amount of books, these books represent a nice spectrum of VBAC issues.
The VBAC Companion and Natural Childbirth After Cesarean are both excellent introductory VBAC books; if you get only one book about VBAC, make it one of these. They are both highly recommended.
Silent Knife is a classic in the VBAC field. Although its strong tone will put off some, the tone comes from being written when VBAC was still not being 'allowed' by most doctors. Even so, the book still has much to offer years later, particularly the chapter on "Mindscapes" and the birthing stories. It should be near the top of any VBAC reading list.
Birthing From Within is an excellent general pregnancy manual, as is The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth or The Birth Book. If you have to choose one, Birthing From Within is probably more inspirational. Most women love this book.
Creating a Joyful Birth Experience, Transformation Through Birth, Mind Over Labor, and Rebounding From Childbirth are all excellent books dealing with the emotional issues of pregnancy, each from a different but valuable perspective. All are definitely worth getting. Although some people will find some of the suggested activities a bit 'alternative', doing this work can really help process important issues and help you create a much better birth experience. Kmom highly recommends getting at least some of these.
For technical knowledge about childbirth issues, Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities is one of the best books you can buy. It has a particularly good section on VBAC vs. repeat c-section, and analyzes many research studies about various obstetric procedures and their effects on birth. If you need concrete data and studies to show your doctor or loved ones, this is an invaluable book.
Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning shows how a less-than-favorable baby position can cause many of the problems in labor and birth associated with many c-sections. The Labor Progress Handbook takes this one step further and suggests a number of techniques to help correct baby malposition and/or move along a labor that is slow or 'stuck'. Its information is a bit on the technical side, but if you find it too technical, it would make an excellent resource for your labor coach, doula, or midwife. If your past c-section was for "Failure to Progress," "Cephalo-Pelvic Disproportion" or you were told your baby was 'too big' or your pelvis 'too small', these two books are a must-read.
Finally, most VBAC moms find that they draw inspiration and encouragement from reading lots of VBAC stories, and The VBAC Experience has any number of these, as does Silent Knife. Readers should also consider joining the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), either through the online mailing list or their local chapter meetings. Most VBAC moms find the support of other VBAC moms to be invaluable during pregnancy after cesarean, and you can read/hear lots of VBAC stories first-hand there.
These are Kmom's Top Ten Picks and the reasoning behind them. Naturally, your opinions may vary! However, if you have to choose only a few books to read and/or buy, these are probably among the best places to start. If your budget is limited, see below for how to save money. And don't forget that new books are being released all the time, so keep your mind open to other possibilities too. Happy reading!
Where To Find These Books
Many books can be ordered through Amazon Books on the World-Wide Web, available at http://www.amazon.com. Books marked with an asterisk are available from La Leche League International, http://www.lalecheleague.org/. Cutting Edge Press also carries some of these titles; you can contact them at www.childbirth.org/CEP.html or by calling (802) 635-2142.
However, the best source for most of these books (especially many hard-to-find or out-of-print books) is the Birth and Life Bookstore (a division of Cascade HealthCare Products, Inc.), 141 Commercial Street NE, Salem, OR 97301. Orders can be placed online at www.1cascade.com, by faxing (503) 371-5395, or calling 1 (800) 443-9942. This fine organization also carries many videos and childbirth education teaching aids. Between Cutting Edge Press and the Birth and Life Bookstore, most of these books and resources can be found. Kmom gives both bookstores her highest recommendation. (No, she is not associated with them in any way and does not receive kickbacks!)
Some of these books are out-of-print or hard to find even through Cascade or Cutting Edge Press. Try www.bookfinder.com or www.amazon.com to look for used copies. It may take quite a while to find some of them so be patient. Also, many midwives and childbirth educators have copies of many of these books, so try inquiring about borrowing from one of these sources.
If money is an issue, try your local public library (have them do a search around your state) or your local hospital's medical library. In addition, La Leche League usually keeps a lending library which will include a number of these books. These books are usually available to borrow for FREE, an incredibly valuable resource for those who want to watch their pennies carefully.
Terminology and Abbreviations
* An asterisk means that this book is available through La Leche League's catalog, and can probably be checked out for free from most LLL chapters. You can find out where your closest local chapter is at www.lalecheleague.org.
General References on VBAC
The VBAC Companion, Diana Korte. Boston: Harvard Common Press. 1997.
This is the book to get if you are not sure about VBAC. A must-read! Covers all the information needed to help choose between ERCS or VBAC TOL, and although clearly pro-VBAC, is supportive of women who choose ERCS. Many helpful, practical hints for pursuing VBAC, choosing a provider, and addressing fears. Excellent section on helping with specific labor problems such as posterior labors. Outstanding!
Natural Childbirth After Cesarean, Karis Crawford and Johanne C. Walters. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Science. 1996. *
Another excellent VBAC preparation book. Practical and useful information, clearly written. Full of helpful hints about handling different types of problems that can lead to c-sections, including many concrete and practical suggestions about specific situations. Also addresses well the emotional aspects of childbirth preparation, using visualizations, and exploring fears. If you are considering a VBAC, get this book too! Also highly recommended. Available from www.lalecheleague.org.
Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, Nancy Wainer Cohen and Lois J. Estner. South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc., 1983. Hard-to-find these days, but Cascade Books still has some, www.1cascade.com, 1-800-443-9942. Some LLL chapters may also have a copy in their lending libraries.
An older book, the first on VBACs, and often angry in tone in places (but that's what was needed then!). Unvarnished look at the pain that c/s deliveries often cause for mothers ("Voices of the Victims" is an especially powerful chapter); great for uncovering and starting to work through anger over previous births. Because it was written in the early 80s, some of the medical information is a bit outdated, but most of it still rings very true and is valuable even today. Classic must-read in the VBAC field.
Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities, Henci Goer. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey. 1995. Can be ordered from Henci Goer, 970 Buckeye Court Sunnyvale, CA 94086, WeGoers@aol.com, or see www.efn.org/~djz/birth/obmyth/contents.html.
Superb review of the medical literature and whether it supports most common obstetric practices on issues such as episiotomy, active management of labor, amniotomy, gestational diabetes, cesarean for breech, epidurals, etc. Contains a MUST-READ section on VBAC vs. repeat cesarean. Highly recommended book! Dense reading but very valuable.
Birth After Cesarean: The Medical Facts, Bruce Flamm, M.D. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1990.
Classic medical resource on whether VBAC is safe, written by the most pre-eminent author of VBAC studies. Excellent data points, yet understandable by the layperson. Good book to use if you need to convince your provider or a family member of the value or safety of a VBAC. Some of the information is dated (it was written in 1990) and the recommendations tend to be pretty conservative but it's still a good introduction to the subject. Not worth buying on its own, but if you need something for a skeptical spouse or relative who need reassurance from someone with an "M.D." after their name, this is your book.
Trust Your Body! Trust Your Baby! Childbirth Wisdom and Cesarean Prevention, edited by Andrea Frank Henkart. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey, 1995.
Another childbirth/VBAC book, with different chapters by various contributors. Emphasizes the whole pregnancy and birth experience including conflicting feelings, good medical consumerism, rituals to recover from a c/s emotionally, dealing with fears, using visualization, questions to ask a provider, the role of the husband, taking each birth one at a time, etc. A good addition to a basic VBAC library of information, but shouldn't be your only VBAC book. Use it as a supplement if desired.
Open Season: A Survival Guide for Natural Childbirth and VBAC in the 90s, Nancy Wainer Cohen. New York: Bergin and Garvey. 1991.
Sequel of sorts to Silent Knife. Filled with lots of rhetoric on the politics of birthing which not all readers will enjoy or agree with, but also gives a lot to think about. However, the section on childbirth education, dealing with fears, dealing with past birth negatives, etc. is QUITE good. Definitely worth reading, but is not meant to be a guide of step-by-step practical advice for planning a VBAC. Use as additional reading if desired.
VBAC: Very Beautiful And Courageous, Packet of compiled materials self-published by Lynn Baptisti Richards. Xeroxed copy available from the author at 3455 Moki Drive, Sedona AZ 86336, (520) 282-9787. Call for details.
Self-published manuscript at this time. Although it's not clear, Kmom believes the author is in the process of revising it and hopes to have it published formally in the future by Bergin and Garvey. Kmom got a copy by calling the author, who is a midwife and childbirth educator in AZ (she also may do telephone support counseling). Very large packet with a wide variety of information, some of it quite helpful. However, the packet Kmom got was unprofessionally reproduced and hard to read. Parts of it were superfluous and not that helpful, but other parts were *quite* helpful. Probably mostly for the mom who can't get enough about VBACs and wants more material to read and consider.
Collections of VBAC Stories
The Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Experience: Birth Stories by Parents and Professionals, Lynn Baptisti Richards & Contributors. South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc. 1987.
Great book of anecdotal VBAC stories. Good for inspiration and 'you-can-do-it' motivation. Hard-to-find book but worth searching for! Is full of inspiring VBAC stories both from moms and health professionals; offers many lessons for women seeking a VBAC.
Artemis Speaks: VBAC Stories & Natural Childbirth Information, written and compiled by Nan Koehler. Occidental, California: Jerald R. Brown, Inc. 1985. Address listed for Jerald R. Brown, Inc. is 17440 Taylor Lane, Occidental, CA 95465.
Book of VBAC stories and advice on alternative approaches to nutrition, pregnancy problems, etc. Purposely samples different providers' opinions on nutrition, herbal advice, etc. so some info is contradictory, out-of-date or dubious---take with a grain of salt, but some parts may be helpful. Has wide variety of birth stories, from those that did not succeed to those that did against all odds. Another good source for VBAC birth stories to read. VERY difficult book to find. Try searching for a used copy.
Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, Nancy Wainer Cohen and Lois J. Estner. South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin and Garvey Publishers, Inc., 1983. Hard-to-find these days, but Cascade Books still has some, www.1cascade.com, 1-800-443-9942. LLL may have a copy in some lending libraries.
Classic VBAC book (see above) that also has a chapter of VBAC stories to read, including a wide variety of experiences, including VBAC after multiple cesareans, VBAC after classical cesarean, etc.
Processing Previous Births/Emotional Healing
Transformation Through Birth, Claudia Panuthos. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey. 1984. www.1cascade.com has a few copies.
THE BEST BOOK on emotional preparation for or recovery from birth; in fact, probably one of the best overall books on pregnancy and birthing that Kmom has read to date. Highest recommendation possible! Unfortunately, out-of-print now, but Birth and Life Bookstore/Cascade Press has a few left. If you can afford it, GET THIS BOOK.
Rebounding From Childbirth: Toward Emotional Recovery, Lynn Madsen. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey. 1994.
Good specifically for processing traumatic births, be they vaginal or cesarean, necessary or unnecessary. A bit flaky in spots, but overall a very useful tool. If you have had a difficult or traumatic birth, get this book.
Birth As A Healing Experience: The Emotional Journey of Pregnancy Through Postpartum, Lois Halzel Freedman. Binghamton, New York: Harrington Park Press. 1999.
A new book on the emotional aspects of pregnancy and postpartum, emphasizing the opportunity for healing potential. Utilizes many individual women's stories. A good introduction to the subject, but more detail and stories would have been helpful. The author is a certified childbirth educator with a private practice in individual prenatal and postpartum counseling in the Boston area.
Ended Beginnings, Claudia Panuthos and Catherine Romeo. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey. 1984. www.1cascade.com or www.birthworks.org has this book.
Deeply affecting book about processing all kinds of pregnancy-related losses, including infertility struggles, cesareans, miscarriage, stillbirth, early neonatal death, etc. Very hard to read the first time but definitely worth sticking it out and re-reading multiple times. Offers suggestions for dealing with the pain of pregnancy losses on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, and help in moving beyond the losses and healing when ready. Excellent book.
Emotional Preparation During Pregnancy
Creating a Joyful Birth Experience: Developing a Partnership with Your Unborn Child for Healthy Pregnancy, Labor, and Early Parenting, Lucia Capacchione and Sandra Bardsley. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1994. Can still be found from www.birthworks.org or www.waterbirth.org (1-800-641-BABY).
An EXCELLENT childbirth preparation guide with an emphasis on emotional preparation too. Uses many "New Age" type exercises like artwork, writing with the non-dominant hand, imagery, and visualizations to work through issues, but if you can get over a resistance to the 'crunchiness' of some of these techniques they can really be helpful. Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but the above sources still carry the book, or a used copy can be found. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Transformation Through Birth, Claudia Panuthos. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey. 1984. www.1cascade.com still has a few copies.
THE BEST BOOK on emotional preparation for or recovery from birth; in fact, probably one of the best overall books on pregnancy and birthing that Kmom has read to date. Highest recommendation possible! Unfortunately, out-of-print now, but Birth and Life Bookstore/Cascade Press has a few left. If you can afford it and can find it, GET THIS BOOK.
Mind Over Labor, Carl Jones. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. Available from www.amazon.com.
Very good book for using visualizations, imagery, etc. for reducing the fear and pain of labor. Many excellent exercises that can be used to change previous negative birth associations, deal with fears, visualize a normal natural birth, and affirm a positive attitude. If you have a lot of fears or worries about past births or your present pregnancy, GET THIS BOOK.
Pregnant Feelings: Developing Trust in Birth, Rahima Baldwin and T. Palmarini Richardson. 1986. Available from www.1cascade.com, (1-800-443-9942).
Also helpful in preparing emotionally for childbirth. Workbook format, with lots of writing exercises and exploration activities. A bit hokey at times---women are encouraged to dialogue with their 'Birthing Energy', which many will disdain or feel far too silly trying to do---but the basics of the book can be valuable and insightful for those willing to do the work.
An Easier Childbirth: A Mother's Guide for Birthing Normally, by Gayle Peterson, PhD. Berkely, California: Shadow and Light Publications, 1993. Available from www.1cascade.com or www.amazon.com.
Cascade's catalogue lists this as "A mother's workbook for health and emotional well-being during pregnancy and delivery. Focuses on exploring and resolving emotional issues during pregnancy through guided imagery, visualization, and journal keeping." Deals extensively with learned attitudes towards pregnancy from cultural influences, your own birth circumstances, and family attitudes. Also has a great deal on coping with labor, dealing with pain and surrendering to birth, etc. A strong emphasis on journaling and inner dialogues, which is uncomfortable to some, but still a good tool for learning and growth. Also recommended.
General Childbirth Preparation and Information
Birthing From Within, Pam England and Rob Horowitz. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Partera Press, 1998. Also available at their website, www.birthpower.com.
Holistic birth book, encompassing both technical information and emotional preparation. Extremely user-friendly. Some readers may be uncomfortable with the art and self-discovery exercises contained within. Still, has numerous examples of birthing art and how this reveals mothers' anxieties and concerns, and has suggestions for working through the concerns. Also has excellent information on coping with labor, the advantages of natural childbirth, the compassionate use of drugs and epidurals, and "gestating parenthood". Highly recommended, but best used in conjunction with at least one other pregnancy manual.
The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, Sheila Kitzinger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.
One of the best all-around childbirth and pregnancy books currently available. Excellent, sensible approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Great pictures, great advice on handling various labor scenarios, discourages interventions without being too preachy yet also fairly presents information on using interventions. Not as good about discussing emotional preparations for birth, but still highly recommended.
A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want, Diana Korte and Roberta Scaer. 3rd Rev. Ed. Boston: Harvard Common Press, 1992.
A very good childbirth book, though a tad heavy on rhetoric in places. Emphasizes being a very well-educated medical consumer and definitely discourages most interventions. However, don't let the rhetoric scare you off, even if you are not sure that natural childbirth is for you. Has excellent information and documentation which will be valuable no matter what you decide. Recommended, but The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth has more updated information and practical advice.
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer. New York: Berkeley Publishing Group (A Perigee Book). 1999. Available from Cutting Edge Press, (802)635-2142, or www.childbirth.org/CEP/. More info at www.efn.org/~djz/birth/betterbirth/order.html. Can also be ordered from Henci Goer, 970 Buckeye Court Sunnyvale, CA 94086, or WeGoers@aol.com.
Outstanding review of many childbirth issues, especially induction of labor. However, VBAC section is so-so; some VBAC proponents feel that this book is more cautious than Obstetric Myths, possibly for political reasons. First half of book is no-nonsense guide to pros and cons of various birthing issues; second half is a detailed medical reference section, discussing and analyzing studies. Couples can simply use the non-technical summaries in the first half, delve into the medical studies and analysis in the second half, or access both as needed. Although the author has definite opinions, she presents both sides fairly and gives valuable hints on maximizing outcome if an intervention is chosen. If induction in particular is an issue for you, get this book. As simply a VBAC resource, however, OB Myths is a better investment.
A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Murray Enkin, Marc J. N. C. Keirse, Mary Renfrew, and James Neilson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Excellent book that uses an evidence-based medicine approach to reviewing many of the current obstetric practices utilized today. Periodically updated; be sure to get the latest edition.
Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way, Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg and Peter Rosegg. Rev. ed. New York: Plume, 1996. *http://www.lalecheleague.org/
Book that gives background and information for the Bradley childbirth education series. Emphasizes nutrition, natural childbirth and alternatives/preventions for common childbirth interventions. Also emphasizes the husband as labor coach and addresses his concerns and needs as well. (Some of the other Bradley books can be pretty patronizing, but the childbirth class series is generally good; Kmom highly recommends Birth Works or Bradley classes over standard hospital childbirth classes. For more info on these classes, contact www.birthworks.org or 1-888-TO-BIRTH, and www.bradleybirth.com or 1-800-4A-BIRTH.)
The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth, William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1994. *http://www.lalecheleague.org/
A very good pregnancy book emphasizing non-interventive childbirth but with information about pain medication options and other interventions. Much better choice than their subsequent The Pregnancy Book (which is more intervention-happy). Recommended.
Creating A Joyful Birth Experience, Lucia Capacchione and Sandra Bardsley. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc. (A Fireside Book). 1994. Available from www.birthworks.org or www.waterbirth.org.
Hard-to-find book but worth looking for. Definitely a bit 'new-age' for some people's preferences; uses journaling with your non-dominant hand and artwork for exploring feelings and issues, which will alienate some people. However, has many good exercises and excellent ideas for preparing for birth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic, and Birth, Suzanne Arms. Berkely, California: Celestial Arts, 1994. Available from www.waterbirth.org.
A look at normal childbirth and the history of birthing; an examination of common medical practices. Also extensively addresses the issues of pain and fear in birth. The prequel to this book was a classic in reforming childbirth in the USA. An excellent addition to a reading list, but is not a stand-alone pregnancy manual. Definitely non-interventionist in approach.
Gentle Birth Choices (book and/or video), Barbara Harper. Put out by Global Maternal/Child Health Association, Inc. P.O. Box 1400, Wilsonville, OR 97070. (503) 682-3600 or 1 (800) 641-BABY, www.waterbirth.org.
Book about choosing to birth as gently and lovingly as possible. Video details 6 births under varying conditions, including homebirth, waterbirth, posterior labor, standing birth, squatting birth, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, etc. Commentary between birthing scenes is mostly good but sometimes annoying; even so, the video is worth seeing. Generally inexpensive; available through Birth and Life Bookstore too.
Birth As an American Rite of Passage, Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd. 1992. Complete book available from Birth and Life Bookstore; excerpts available online at www.itp.tsoa.nyu.edu/~alumni/birthmessages.
Excellent sociological view of how American culture ritualizes birth and how many of the procedures most women encounter are actually not always medically necessary but culturally imposed. An analysis of the technocratic and holistic models of birth. Fascinating reading, though a bit technical in some places. Well worth reading.
Special Topics of Concern
Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning, Jean Sutton and Pauline Scott. Tauranga, New Zealand: Birth Concepts, 1996. Available from Cutting Edge Press, www.childbirth.org/CEP.html, (802) 635-2142, www.birthworks.org, or www.midwiferytoday.com.
MUST-READ booklet on the importance of fetal position on labor progression and birth. Many c-sections and/or complicated births are actually caused by fetal malpositions (sometimes subtle ones), but the majority of the obstetric community pays little attention to fetal position once the head is down and don't know how it impacts labor. This booklet, written by two New Zealand midwives, summarizes normal positioning and various possible malpositions, what effect this has on labor, and ways to help correct the problem. Excellent. If you had a cesarean for FTP or CPD, get this book.
The Labor Progress Handbook, Penny Simkin and Ruth Ancheta with Jilly Rosser. Oxford: Blackwell Science Limited, 2000.
Another must-read book on the importance of fetal position and how to recognize and help correct any problems before and during labor. Written primarily by two doulas (professional labor support personnel), the emphasis is on low-tech, non-surgical, non-pharmacological solutions to help a stalled labor or a 'stuck' baby. Writing is a bit technical at times and is clearly aimed at doulas, maternity nurses, midwives, doctors, etc., but many moms can also understand and benefit from this book. If you had a cesarean for FTP or CPD, get this book, either for yourself, your midwife, or your labor coach! Available from www.amazon.com, among others.
Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth, Marshall H. Klaus, M.D., John H. Kennell, M.D., and Phyllis H. Klaus. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
An introduction to the topic of professional labor assistants ("doulas") and how they can help you to an easier birth. Cites medical studies that show *amazing* reductions in c-sections, epidurals, and complications among women who have professional doulas at their births. Discusses concerns of the husband, what to look for in a doula, and how to find one. An excellent resource---definitely recommended! One of the BEST things you can do for yourself, especially when aiming for a VBAC, is to hire a doula. DO IT.
The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth, by Penny Simkin. Boston: Harvard Common Press, 1989.
Excellent and very helpful book for coaches looking for ideas for helping women through labor. Covers the last few weeks of pregnancy, comfort measures for labor and birth, and dealing with the medical side of childbirth, as well as postpartum and breastfeeding information. Great for dads or others who will be helping the mother during labor and birth!
General Emotional Healing Resources
Peace, Love, and Healing, Dr. Bernie S. Siegel. New York: Harper & Row. 1989. Also wrote Love, Medicine, and Miracles.
Not a childbirth book, but has a lot of insight into the effect of emotional issues on the body, and how to utilize the innate ability to self-heal the soul (and often the body) through various techniques. Author is a surgeon who has worked extensively with cancer etc. patients and studied the techniques of visualization, meditation, etc. in conjunction with traditional treatments.
The Picture of Health: Healing Your Life With Art, Lucia Capacchione. Van Nuys, California: Newcastle Publishing Company, Inc., 1990 and 1996.
Uses art therapy (you don't need to be a good artist!) to help deconstruct old negative self-perceptions and messages and reshape your life towards your ideals. Can help stop self-destructive and negative messages and help visualize and create the positive end results you want to aim for. Again, 'crunchy' techniques not everyone will be comfortable with, but these techniques can be very powerful. If you tend to 'live in your head' or get caught up in a never-ending loop of worry, fears, or self-criticism, this book might be helpful to you.
Recovery of Your Inner Child, Lucia Capacchione. New York: Simon and Schuster (A Fireside Book), 1991.
Uses journaling, non-dominant hand writing, and art therapy to help re-parent the wounded 'inner child'. May be especially useful to those from dysfunctional families, and those not afraid to use non-traditional techniques. 'Crunchy', but many people find these techniques helpful.
Videos and Audiotapes
"Body-Centered Hypnosis for Pregnancy, Bonding, and Childbirth." Gayle Peterson. Birth Resources, 1749 Vine Street Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 526-5951. Can be ordered from www.1cascade.com.
Excellent tape for helping prepare for normal pregnancy and birth. Side One is for relaxation during pregnancy and bonding with the unborn child. Side Two (to be used at the end of the pregnancy) is a complete 'rehearsal' of labor and birth, creating an emotional 'experience' of a normal birth ahead of time. Peterson is a family therapist in Berkeley specializing in pregnancy, birth and parenting, and has authored a number of important books in childbirth education and preparation (see above). Highly recommended.
"Ancestral Mother Series" (3 tapes for pregnancy). Karen Frank, Birthwise. P.O. Box 1111 Decatur, GA 30031, www.birthwise.com. Can be ordered from www.1cascade.com too.
Guided imagery, affirmations, and music for pregnancy and birth. The three tapes include "Ancestral Mother", "Heart Healing", and "Releasing". Other titles available too. Very peaceful, relaxing, and useful. "Releasing" is particularly good.
"Birth in the Squatting Position." Polymorph Films. 95 Chapel Street Newton, MA 02158. 1-800-370-FILM. Available from www.1cascade.com.
EXCELLENT video for getting *normal* birth into your mind! Only 10 minutes, but very powerful visually. Graphically shows a number of babies crowning and being born with no interference. Its graphic visualizations are a bit startling and shocking at first, but few other videos show *normal* birth so well and so vividly to help your mind visualize the reality for yourself. Originally made in South America to help promote the use of the squatting position for birth, positioning becomes secondary to the effectiveness of the visuals of normal natural birth. HIGHLY recommended, especially for women who had problems/fears about the pushing stage or visualizing themselves giving birth normally.
"Birth Reborn." (book and/or video) Michel Odent. Second Edition, 1994. Birth Works Press, P.O. Box 2045 Medford, New Jersey 08055. (609) 953-9380. Available from www.birthworks.org or www.1cascade.com.
Dr. Odent was a French pioneer in reforming birth practices worldwide. His hospital in France had women labor naturally, in any position they desired (they especially encouraged standing and water) and did breech births vaginally on a regular basis. This video has very interesting footage of several births, including a footling breech twin delivered vaginally, although the other twin must be delivered by cesarean because of a placenta problem. Very interesting book and video.
Gentle Birth Choices (book and/or video). Barbara Harper. Put out by Global Maternal/Child Health Association, Inc. P.O. Box 1400, Wilsonville, OR 97070. (503) 682-3600 or 1 (800) 641-BABY, www.waterbirth.org.
Book about choosing to birth as gently and lovingly as possible. Video details 6 births under varying conditions, including homebirth, waterbirth, posterior labor, standing birth, squatting birth, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, etc. Commentary between birthing scenes is sometimes annoying; even so, the video is worth seeing. Also available through www.1cascade.com.
"Birth Into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience." Available from Global Maternal/Child Health Association, Inc. P.O. Box 1400, Wilsonville, OR 97070. (503) 682-3600 or 1 (800) 641-BABY, www.waterbirth.org.
Film recording 5 totally natural waterbirths, some in the Black Sea at the shore, and some in see-through home birthing tubs. If waterbirth is of interest to you, you will want to see this tape. 25 minutes.
"Five Women/Five Births." Suzanne Arms. Distributed by Birth Works, Inc. P.O. Box 2045 Medford, NJ 08055. 1-888-TO-BIRTH. Available from www.birthworks.org or www.1cascade.com.
Not really a film but a series of slides put into film format with voice-over. Looks at 5 women's births, their attitudes towards birth and their caregivers, how that affected their births, and their thoughts about it afterwards.
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