Books on childbirth

I'm a real book worm, concerning the topic of childbirth. I've been reading every letter I got my hands on for years. This list contains only writings that I've read and liked best. There are books on birth, pregnancy, parenting, vaccinations and other related topics. I've tried to attach photos or links, so as to make purchasing easier, in case you like some of them.
Besides this site, I also have a section on my "Homeopathy / Naturopathy" page about  books on homeopathy.
I've rated the books with starts at the end of each description. The very best ones are marked with a red star.
This list does not include books in Hungarian language. For these, see the Hungarian version of this page.
Links of "amazon.com" type help support an American family with many children - friends of mine -, by "sending" them a small percentage of the books' price (prices are the same as if opened from the main site of Amazon.com). Because of this, please open the books' pages by the help of the links given here, not through Amazon's search engine. Thanks in the name of the family.

uk.gif (3642 Byte)   In English language
Author and title Description, key words,
rating, availability
Block, Polly:
Polly's Birth Book
This is the best book I've ever read on childbirth. It's clear, thorough, natural- and homebirth-centered. It lists the main natural methods for maintaining a healthy pregnancy / birth. It's a real "midwife's book", very informative both for lay people and professionals. If I could have just one book on this topic, this would be it.

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Availability:
Lifetime Books & Gifts - here you can order it online quite easily from all around the world, http://www.inet-1.com/~hearth/homepage.htm - here you find the cover photo, comments and ordering info mainly for US residents

Bohjalian, Chris:
Midwives
For a change, this is not a manual, but a novel. However, I feel it belongs here. For birth junkies like me, it's impossible to put down and a nice distraction besides so many textbooks. From the professional point of view, I don't necessarily agree with every detail, but this being a novel, it may be forgivable.
"On a violent, stormy winter night, a home birth goes disastrously wrong. The phone lines are down, the roads slick with ice. The midwife, unable to get her patient to a hospital, works frantically to save both mother and child while her inexperienced assistant and the woman's terrified husband look on. The mother dies but the baby is saved thanks to an emergency C-section. And then the nightmare begins: the assistant suggests that maybe the woman wasn't really dead when the midwife operated. The author chronicles the events leading up to the trial of Sibyl Danforth, a respected midwife in a small Vermont town, on charges of manslaughter. It quickly becomes evident, however, that Sibyl is not the only one on trial--the prosecuting attorney and the state's medical community are all anxious to use this tragedy as ammunition against midwifery in general. Through it all, Sibyl, her husband and their teenage daughter attempt to keep their family intact, but the stress of the trial puts pressure on both marriage and family. Bohjalian takes readers through the intricacies of childbirth and the law, and by the end of the trial, it's difficult to decide which was more harrowing--the tragic delivery or its legal aftermath."

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Bradstreet, Karen:
Overcoming Infertility Naturally
The relationship between nutrition, emotions and reproduction
This was one of the two books besides "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", my main volume, that I found worth buying at first sight on the topic "fertility". I was not disappointed: the book gives good advice on how to eliminate factors that keep us from successful conception, from our everyday life.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Castro, Miranda:
Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth, and Your Baby's First Year
This is a very strong book, the best I've encountered about homeopathy versus childbirth. It contains a general description about birth and the newborn that's worth a separate book by itself, followed by a comprehensive Materia medica (list of remedies) and Repertorium (list of symptoms). I recommend this book to professionals such as homeopaths and midwives and also to the lay person, since it's easily searchable and everyone has a good chance to find the appropriate remedy for him/herself due to the thorough descriptions.

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Availability:
www.amazon.com

Davis, Elizabeth:
Heart and Hands
- A Midwife's Guide To Pregnancy and Birth
It's a phantastic book, very thorough, it goes through pregnancy and birth from a midwife's perspective. Contains a lot of useful herbal and homeopathic methods and tips for preventing and handling possible complications. It's a professionally written book, but also excellent for the lay person. Great!

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Davis, Elizabeth:
The Circle of Life
"Once in a while, a book goes to the heart of what it means to be a woman, and connects this to women throughout time and across the world. The Circle of Life is such a book, with a permanent place at my bedside. A stellar work!"
    --Suzanne Arms, author, Immaculate Deception (and I agree)

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Availability: www.elizabethdavis.com 

Fagerström, Grethe, Hansson, Gunilla:
Our New Baby: A Picture Story
for Parents and Children
An outspoken picture book on sexuality and reproduction for children. Ideal for illustrating "the talk" or for preparing older siblings for the arrival of a new baby. It talks openly, yet discretely about sex, conception and pregnancy. The part on birth itself is very hospital-centered, and should be extended in my opinion, but otherwise it's a great book.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Frye, Anne:
Holistic Midwifery
This is the first comprehensive textbook ever written for midwives-to-be. The volumes 2 and 3 are still under construction, but the first volume is a gem in itself: very thorough and informative, and unlike the typical "medical" gynacology textbooks, it's written with the spirit of midwifery: with deep trust in Nature and health and loving respect for women. I highly recommend it for birth professionals or ones in training. However, not for expecting parents, as it gives way too many details that may be unnecessary or uninteresting for the lay person.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Gaskin, Ina May:
Spiritual Midwifery
Ina May Gaskin is one of the "mothers of modern midwifery". She's written this book in the 70s, summarizing her experience as a lay midwife in a community of hippies living on their "Farm". Thanks to the earthly and free spirit of this community and to the natural talent of the author, the book gives a very good insight in the processes of natural birth and the non-invasive methods of midwifery. It describes the physiology of birth in a simple language and also contains lots of interesting birth stories.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Gray, John, Ph.D.:
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
In my opinion, everyone should read this book, who lives in a permanent relationship or desires to have one. It voices basic truth that you feel you always knew deep in your heart, but if you use its principles consciously, it helps understand both your partner and yourself. In addition, it gives some surprisingly effective strategies, as to how to get on with the opposite sex.
The author has several more books with similar titles (Mars and Venus series) that specialize on various parts of life (e.g. sex, contest, separation). Therefore, it's worth to do a search on the author's name in the catalog.

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Availaility: www.amazon.com

Griesemer, Lynn M.:
Unassisted Homebirth
- An Act of Love
The idea of planned unassisted birth faces much controversy all around the world. Indeed, it is not for everyone, but those who are able to walk the road of acquiring knowledge and mental preparation, usually have an extraordinarily deep experience at the end. The main idea in the background is the exclusive intimacy of man and woman, which is strengthened greatly through such a birth experience. I like this book a lot, but recommend it only to those who are interested in unassisted birth and/or in the mental relationship of the birthing couple, or to those who are open to this idea.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Idarius, Betty:
The Homeopathic Childbirth Manual
A practical guide for labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period
This is a small, but quite well written book for the homeopathic following of birth. It contains only the most important remedies, but those are described thoroughly. It can be searched both by remedy and by symptom.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Johnsson, Jessica  & Odent, Michel :
We are all water babies
This beautiful book researches the primal relationship of man and water. It "leads us back" to the wet element through the examples of babyswimming, waterbirth and man-dolhin relationships. The pictures are wonderful!

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Availability:
www.amazon.com

Klein, Susan
A Book For Midwives
A manual for traditional birth attendants and community midwives
An amazingly good book: it was originally written for midwives who practice in areas where the availability of hospitals is limited. It has the same "common sense" style and lots of lively pictures as the book "Where there is no doctor". Don't get fooled by its simple language: it's very informative and thorough at the same time! Fortunately, it lacks the "traditional folk medicine versus modern medicine" battles that are so common nowadays, thus, one gets the opportunity to focus on practical things and peacefully use from both "disciplines" what is best. I love it!

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Laskin, David and O'Neil, Kathleen:
The little Girl Book

- A Guide to the First Eight Years
Interesting writing about the developmental, mental and constitutional differences between girls and boys. By its help, we can get closer to understanding our daughter and fulfilling her gender-specific needs, as well as making the best out of her special feminine characteristics. It's especially useful for men, who might come to a better understanding of their wives as well!

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Leboyer, Frederick:
Birth Without Violence
Frederick Leboyer is the grandfather of modern childbirth rehumanization movements. This book can be considered as the very first and most basic volume of the childbirth reform tendences. It talks about the experience of being born (from the baby's point of view!) in a touching, poetic style. Although Leboyer's ideas of desirable obstetrical practice have become somewhat out-of-date since their first conceptualization, his basic principles are still valid and they undeniably wrote history in their time. I recomment this book both for birth professionals and expectant parents.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Leboyer, Frederick:
Loving Hands
- The Traditional Art of Baby Massage
This is quite a new Leboyer book. If you like the author's style, you will like this one, too. Like "Birth Without Violence", it radiates a poetic and peaceful atmosphere, full of pictures of Indian mothers practicing the massage art mentioned in the book. However, don't expect great practical knowledge from the book. It is more beautiful than informative.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Mendelssohn M.D., Robert S.:
How to Raise a Healthy Child
...In Spite Of Your Doctor
I love this book. It is straightforward, God help the author: even blunt about today's children's pediatrical practice and about its uselessly or even dangerously, overreactive attitude. It describes,how we can overcome light and seemingly serious, but in fact harmless children's diseases and when it is really time to ring alarm. It may sound too radical for many, but I agree with most of what he wrote.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Mendelssohn M.D., Robert S.:
Immunizations -
The Terrible Risks Your Children Face That Your Doctor Won't Reveal
It's an anti-immunization book written in the usual, quite radical style of Mendelssohn. It would be informative, if it wasn't written in a not-so-well-organized article form. I have read better books on vaccinations.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Mize, Jackie:
Supernatural Childbirth
It's a book written from a Christian perspective, about the power of faith in conception and avoiding fears and pain during birth. I highly recommend it to Christian mothers who have to deal with fears before birth.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

Moran, Marilyn A.:
Pleasurable Husband/Wife Childbirth
Aside from a few exaggerations, this book has a strong appeal to me. Yet, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. It approaches the spirituality of unassisted birth quite deeply and reveals some great basic truth. My favourite is the picture where birth is compared to the act of conception, both of them being two halves of a cycle: at conception, the husband gives his love gift, the seed of new life, to his wife, and at birth, the wife gives the baby to him as her love gift. This cycle is experienced in its fullest, if the father accepts the child being born into his own hands. Well, not everyone is open to this idea, but to me personally, it is very convincing.

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Availability: www.amazon.com

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