Recommendations for a pregnant friend- part 1

I was writing an email to my sweet friend, who is expecting in July, regarding some good books on pregnancy and child rearing that I’ve read. While I was pregnant I read anything I could get my hands on thinking that I probably wouldn’t have much time after our little sweetie was born. Since I was going to share this list with her, I thought I might as well share it with the world. Tell me if there are any titles you’d add to this!

Pregnancy books:

Pushed: The painful truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care– Fascinating read! It was interesting for me to learn a little more about why C-sections rates are obscenely high in many hospitals, why a natural, unmedicated birth is almost unheard of these days, and what are some common and possibly unexpected procedures to expect when giving birth in a hospital. Additionally, it talks about some alternatives to hospital births.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth– Don’t worry; the book isn’t all stories. It starts off sharing about some childbirth experiences that women have had, but then goes on to give you information about the psychology of childbirth, the low down on epidurals and episiotomies, and more information to consider pertaining to giving birth. I found this a great resource.

Active birth– Please don’t judge this book by its cover. If you do you’ll never read it and that would be a shame. This book gives some tips for moving while pregnant to keep comfortable and to prep for childbirth (i.e. yoga), and then it also goes on to talk about movement while giving birth. I had a home birth with our daughter and I was moving all over the apartment going from squatting, to leaning on the bean bag chair, and more. Moving helped me deal with the pain, but I think the movement also moved things along more quickly which was very nice! I was surprised when it was time to push because I was expecting the whole shebang to be several more hours. Not a common story you hear about first births!

Ina May’s guide to breastfeeding– Although I wouldn’t recommend reading a book over taking a class concerning learning to breastfeed, I think this would be the one to read if you did. I also read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and didn’t find it nearly as helpful even though I do so love the cover! I found Ina May’s book a great resource after my baby arrived and I was dealing with thrush, mastitis, and oversupply of milk and pain at times. The one thing in this book that was weird for me personally is she talked about breastfeeding other peoples’ kids while babysitting. Sorry, too far for me! But, hey, to each his own!

What to Expect while You’re expecting- I soak up any literature I can, so you bet I read this classic. However, I should note that a midwife I met with in California said this book has incorrect information, and what that specific information is I do not know. So, read with caution.

The baby book– You may be wondering why I put this book in the pregnancy category? Well, you can’t learn everything after your baby has arrived, and there are many decisions you’ll need to think about before they arrive. Co-sleeping, bassinet or crib? Cloth or disposable diapers? What supplies to have on hand and which ones don’t matter? It also has tips for trouble shooting in the early days (good to read about beforehand so you are armed and ready!) and more… This book will be a great resource after the baby’s arrival.

The diaper-free baby– Have you ever heard of elimination communication?  People all over the world let their babies go diaper free, and essentially they do it by waiting for the baby to cue that he needs to go, giving him a spot to go, and communicating the go ahead! The one thing I didn’t like about this book was all of the parental comments. I would rather read that on a blog instead of in a book. It makes it a bit tough to sift through to find the cold hard facts and how-to guide. Worth a read whether or not you do it since it’s something to consider when you do want your baby to start learning how to control and understand their toilet habits.


The business of being born– I became pregnant while living in Hungary and fully expected to give birth in a public hospital there. Well, after my first visit to the hospital for the initial blood test and urine sample, and finding no hand soap on the premises, I started to research other options. This movie gave me a little bit more information about what to expect if you plan to give birth in a hospital in the United States and some alternatives to giving birth in a hospital (such as home birth or a birth center). Warning- although it gives great information about birth you may see a little bit more of Ricki Lake than you would want to!

Orgasmic birth– I had never planned to watch this movie because I was turned off by the title (no pun intended). However, while at a pregnancy group the leader put this on and I had nowhere to run- or waddle for that matter! It was a super positive spin on what a great thing our body does while giving birth, and redeems birth from the image of the woman screaming profanity at her husband in the throes of pushing. I liked this movie.


More to come…

Any to add to this list while I’m at it?





About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mama and fan of all things Turkey. Among other adventures, Melissa loves living life in Turkey while raising her daughters. On IstanbulMoms you can hear about her adventures and escapades, tips for success, strategies for untangling the culture, and ideas for enjoying life in Istanbul to the fullest.

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