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My Favorite Books for a Natural Pregnancy

In this regard, I’m a bit of a nerd. I absolutely love reading and the topic of ‘pregnancy’ immediately piqued my interest. The same week I had a positive pregnancy test, I started ordering a number of books.

This list isn’t to make you feel like you need to read them all. But feel free to take advantage of the fact that I have done so and can tell you what I liked. Then you can choose the books that best suit you.

Tip: ask around with friends if you can borrow books! It’s more sustainable and saves costs.

Shamanic Wisdom for Pregnancy and Parenthood

I found this book by Anna Cariad, incredibly nice to read because it doesn’t focus so much on the practical part of being pregnant, the birth, or the baby, but more on the transformation from woman to mother. What all can come forward in that and how you can navigate through this time. It has more of a shamanistic approach with, for example, small rituals and ceremonies that you can do alone, with your partner, or with friends/family. This book helped me to reflect on the grandeur of bringing new life into the world and the mystery and magic that surrounds it.


Super comprehensive book by Nina Pierson and for me a must-read! With information from the first trimester to the postpartum period. Lots of tips for a natural pregnancy. From yoga exercises, healthy recipes to clothing tips and nice therapists. I devoured it and still regularly open the book to read something again. I also found the accompanying podcast with interviews to be incredibly valuable.

Orgasmic Birth

Orgasm and childbirth in one title? Sounds bizarre and almost too good to be true, right? In this book, you’ll find a lot of birth stories, but also information about childbirth. I found this book very valuable because it links sex and giving birth. Something we may not think about too quickly, but which might make more sense when you consider that the birth canal involves your sexual organs. And for a smooth delivery, the same hormones (oxytocin) are needed as for sex. I now better understand why interventions (as small as a new person entering the room), bright light, or moving to a different location can cause labor to stagnate.

The book has helped me to sketch an idea of an ideal birth for me. What do I need for that and who do I want around me? I started thinking about what I need for a pleasant sexual experience, maybe even an orgasm. And especially what not. What degree of intimacy I need to actually allow everything that comes up in that moment, including pain or sorrow. And perhaps also pleasure. An interesting fact I found, for example, is that nipple stimulation can help if contractions don’t start, and clitoral stimulation can help relax the pelvic floor area and so assist the dilation.

There is also a documentary online with the same title. It’s very American, but my partner and I found it valuable to watch together, also to see some examples of births.

Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

Ina May is the most famous midwife in America and perhaps in the whole world. Her community The Farm is a place where women from all over the country come to give birth naturally. The book consists half of birth stories, which I enjoyed reading to get an idea of what a birth can look like. In addition, it contains information and personal experiences from Ina May and her team of midwives during childbirth. What difficulties can arise and what could possibly help. Both conventional and medical interventions as well as more ‘alternative’ methods, such as changing positions or nipple stimulation to help get labor started.

If you only want to read one book, I would recommend this one. With this, you have a combination of both birth stories and a mix of medical interventions and natural tips for childbirth.

Free Birth

This book is a bit like the book by Ina May and Orgasmic Birth, but it is Dutch and writes more from personal experience than from scientific research. I liked it for becoming more aware of the many interventions that can take place around a birth and that you always get to maintain control yourself.

The Fourth Trimester

A book full of practical tips and tools to optimally recover after the birth of your child. Not just physically, but also mentally. Written by Kimberly Ann Johnson, a yoga teacher who thought she had prepared herself well, yet had to work on recovery for years afterwards. Both physically and mentally and energetically. In this book, she shares her personal experiences, as well as valuable tools and practices she has learned over the years. Including exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor area, nice communication tools for your relationship, information around sexuality and resources to create a support system around you after childbirth.

I liked reading this to be able to prepare myself for the intensity of the postpartum period so that it (hopefully) won’t catch me off guard. Among other things, it made me realize how important it is to discuss certain things with your partner in advance, but also to ask your best friends and family for help. Consider thinking about visitors during the postnatal period, with whom you can say everything, cry and ask for a hug. But also asking for help with doing laundry, cooking, and washing dishes. And where can you go for good postpartum treatments? Things like a massage, yoni steam, or abdominal binding that help you recover.

The First Forty Days

I found this to be a wonderful book to read and I got a lot of inspiration from it. For recipes that are strengthening in the postnatal period, but especially also the information about the first six weeks after birth and how important and determining they are for the health of the mother (for many years to come!). After reading this book, I really realized that I need to take as much rest as possible in the first six weeks after birth and should be taken care of. That I shouldn’t try to be ‘tough’ and take on all sorts of household tasks myself, but that this is an investment for my health for the next 40 years!

Author Heng Ou is of Chinese descent and she shares how the women in her family traditionally handle the postpartum period. The information and recipes are inspired by traditional Eastern postnatal care from China and Ayurveda. Now I can’t see myself quickly making the recipes with pork kidneys, but there are also plenty of plant-based suggestions and information on why certain ingredients are especially good. Easily digestible and warm is the most important!

Hopefully you can rest as much as possible during the postpartum period. What I do is to prepare a number of recipes and freeze them. In addition, I share some recipes with friends for inspiration for when they come over to cook or bring food.

The Continuum Concept

Not really a ‘pregnancy’ book, but definitely recommended. It is a thin, small book and reads easily. I read it for the first time years ago and it is valuable not only with regard to babies and children, but also for becoming aware of your own patterns.

The author, Jean Liedloff, has observed a tribe in the jungle of South America for many years and comes to very interesting insights about human development. Why do we find it normal to bounce babies all the time or to put them in a playpen? Why do we always need to pay attention and be afraid that a child will hurt themselves? Why are we as humans always looking for a goal and fulfillment in our lives?

Valuable insights for me include that babies need the physical proximity of another in the first months to be able to release their energy (so lots of carrying). That babies and children don’t need to be the center of attention, but that they actually want to see what you are doing. So they know what kind of world they are entering and what is expected of them to then do it themselves.

Safe Infant Sleep

I can relate very well to the idea that a baby needs the physical proximity of its parents in the first weeks and months of its life. Since a baby spends most of that time sleeping, I like to delve into sleep. The idea of co-sleeping appeals to me a lot, but how can you do that safely? After seeing this YouTube video I started reading the book Safe Infant Sleep by James Mckenna.

Every child and every parent is different, of course, so in the end you can only really notice what works in terms of sleep when you spend time together. In addition, this naturally changes continuously. What I liked about this book is that it has given me an insight into the sleep pattern of a baby. Why does a baby wake up so often at night, why does it want to breastfeed so often and why do you as a parent (and mother) suddenly sleep so lightly? It has given me an idea (and confidence) in how I want to sleep with our baby in the first weeks and how I can create a safe environment for that. So definitely recommended!

The First 1000 Days

This is a slim scientific booklet by Professor Tessa Roseboom, which highlights how crucial the first 1000 days (from conception to the second birthday) are for a human life. Not just for the child, but ultimately for society as a whole. A good start leads to a stronger generation that is less dependent on healthcare systems. The health of the mother is also important during this time, since the mother and child are so inextricably linked. The healthier the mother during this period and the more support she receives, the more her entire family, partner, and surrounding community benefit.

Reading this book has reinforced my understanding that it is not selfish, lazy, or weak to take it easier from pregnancy until the child’s second year of life. And by ‘taking it easier’, I specifically mean in terms of work, social activities, etc. It’s okay to ask for help and to schedule extra self-care moments. It’s not only good for me, but also for my child and ultimately for the entire society!

Which books have you read about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood that you found incredibly valuable? Share about them below in the comments!

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