The following recommended reading is merely that – a recommended list of reading for pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting and beyond. Some of the books deserve comments about how wonderful they are so the italicized comments are my own opinions about each recommendation. Reading is so important and valuable – for women, children and families.
I strongly believe reading is a lifelong adventure.
Interested in other non-bookish recommendations (podcasts, cookbooks, instagram accounts…)? Scroll to the bottom of the page.
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Books on pregnancy…
- Birth and Power: A Savage Enquiry Revised by Wendy Savage
- Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin
- A stark reminder of how birth should be and the interventions that often intrude into an otherwise normal process. An excellent read.
- Childbirth Wisdom: From the World’s Oldest Societies by Judith Goldsmith
- Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Reed
- Creating Your Birth Plan: The Defining Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth by Marsden Wagner and Stephanie Gunning
- Effective Birth Preparation: Your Practical Guide to a Better Birth by Maggie Howell
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley
- How to Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean: A Handbook for Women Who Want a Natural Childbirth by Helen Churchill and Wendy Savage
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
- Excellent, heartfelt, REAL stories about natural labor and childbirth, with emphasis on minimal interventions and healthy body/mind connection for the woman, fetus/infant and family.
- Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Nancy Bardacke
- My #1 recommendation to women asking for the book to help them successfully prepare for pregnancy, birth and postpartum (and beyond). If I could hand this book out at every new OB visit, I would.
- Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel
- An excellent resource for the mama that wants to deliver in the hospital but equally desires a natural birth.
- Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols
- Recommended by a blog reader!
- The Faceless Cesarean by Caroline Oblasser
- Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein
- The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin
- Excellent read for any person planning support a woman in labor. My husband even read this while I was IN LABOR with my daughter.
Books on breastfeeding…
- Breastfeeding (A Guide for the Medical Profession) by Ruth & Robert Lawrence (Text Book)
- Breastfeeding in Combat Boots by Robin Roche-Paull
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett
- Dr. Mom (Guide to Breastfeeding) by Marianne Neifert, M.D.
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
- The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Marianne Neifert (La Leche League International)
- Making More Milk: The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide by Diana West & Lisa Marasco
Books about the postpartum period…
- The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson
Books about midwifery and birth…
- BIRTH: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
- Birth in Four Cultures: A Crosscultural Investigation of Childbirth in Yucatan, Holland, Sweden and the United States by Brigitte Jordan
- Birth Models that Work by Robbie Floyd-Davis
- Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
- Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings by Valerie Lee
- Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Hearts by Carol Leonard
- Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics of Change by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Christine Barbara Johnson
- Midwifery for Expectant Parents: A Modern Guide to Choosing the Birth That’s Right for You by Augre Thompkins, CNM
- Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience By Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
- PUSHED: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
Books for midwifery students…
- 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
- A Pocket Guide to Clinical Midwifery: The Efficient Midwife by Lauren Dutton, Jessica Densmore and Meredith Turner
- My most used desktop reference. Midwifery schools should make this pocket guide mandatory for all students!
- Debt Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy
- I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
- Oxorn Foote Human Labor and Birth (6th Edition) by Glenn Posner, Amanda Black, et al.
- Women’s Gynecologic Health (3rd Edition) by Kerri Durnell Schuiling and Frances Likis
Books on parenting…
- Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic
- One of my favorite books for young mamas – short, easy to read, and full of wisdom about the grace of God!
- Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure
- Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic
- Similar to the comment above – short, sweet and a breath of fresh air in motherhood!
- Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something NewParenting Scripts by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake
- Easily my most favorite book of 2021. If you need some help with finding a new way to say all the things you’ve been saying over and over without change of heart or mind in your littles, this is the book. See my post on this book here.
- Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
- Love this book. Shauna is a talented writer and an honest mama. Any mama would benefit from the hope, love and strength Shauna pours out of this book.
- Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small
- Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch
- Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions by James McKenna
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby – From Birth to Age Two by William and Martha Sears
- The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
- A great book on how to communicate with a toddler. I found the takeaways easy to master and keep a few of these in my back pocket for the worst tantrums.
- The Read-Aloud Family by Jim Trelease
- Probably my favorite book of 2018. The importance and long term effects of reading to your children are endless.
- The Read-Aloud Handbook by Sarah Mackenzie
- A cousin of the book above, but more important, a modern day how to read aloud to your children with outstanding book recommendations for every age. We’ll be referencing this one in our house for years to come.
- The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin
- The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
- In the very beginning of this book, there is an analogy about keeping your child’s mind in the middle of the river – not in the rapids or the weeds near a still bank, but the middle of a smoothly flowing river. This analogy was a huge awakening for me as a parent! Great read overall.
- The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby’s Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward by Frans X Plooijand Hetty van Rijt
- Love this book so much – I regularly include this in baby gifts to new mamas! They also have a great app!
- Your Amazing Newborn by Klaus, Marshall and Phyllis Klaus
- Your Baby is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby by Kevin Nugent
Books for women or about women’s health…
- Burnout by by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski
- An easy read but a huge takeaway. The first third of the book will change your life.
- Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
- Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristen Armstrong
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- A wonderful book about informed consent and a woman who unknowingly donated her cells to research that spanned decades.
- The Power of Lift by Melinda Gates
- A book unrelated to parenting but absolutely inspiring. If you want a look into the world of a smart, fierce and path blazing woman, read Melinda’s story about global health and international ministry. You simply can’t walk away from this book with same views as before you opened the pages.
Books on healthcare, public health or global health…
- Better by Atul Gawande
- Another hit by Dr. Gawande. This book examines how we must all do better in the details of healthcare – from a polio outbreak to reducing infection rates in a skilled surgeon, a must read for all in health care.
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling
- A book recommended off the What Should I Read Next podcast! It’s full of facts and data about the state of the world. The big takeaway: the world is a lot better off than you think it is!
- On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor’s Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier by Thomas A Sims
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- A great peek into the mind of a surgeon frustrated by the weaknesses of the U.S. health care system – and a plan for how to make it better. A quick, captivating read for anyone that’s ever received health care.
Want even more? Try these other awesome non-pregnancy or non-bookish recommendations that I recommend on a regular basis to patients, mamas, colleagues and friends:
- Bill Gates’ blog
- Grow Midwives
- Journey to Midwifery
- Mommy Slay
- Nurse Practitioner Business Owner
- Postpartum Support Virginia
- Read Aloud Revival
- Risen Motherhood
- Strong Sense of Place
- The Scientific American
- Thriving Home Blog
- The Modern Mrs. Darcy
- Two Doulas and You
- From Freezer to Table by Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer
- Love, love, love this book. This cookbook is one of the only reasons my family eats good, home cooked meals during the week. I regularly include this book with baby gifts and wedding gifts.
- From Freezer to Cooker by Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer
- This book released January 14th, 2020 and the recipes are delicious, nutritious and easy to make! We use my crockpot at least three times a week to make the recipes in this cookbook.…in short, we’re fans. Get your hands on a copy today.
- @doulalibrary – Reading recommendations from a doula!
- @goodfortheswole – Becky is my favorite postpartum resource discovery in the past DECADE.
- Before Breakfast with Laura Vanderkam
- Best of Both Worlds with Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger
- Bill Gates’ Blog
- Focus on the Family: MARRIAGE
- Focus on the Family: PARENTING
- Journey to Midwifery
- Want to interview with the podcast? Find out more here!
- Mother To Baby
- Parenting Great Kids with Dr. Meg Meeker
- Read Aloud Revival
- Risen Motherhood
- Sex Chat for Christian Wives
- Unlocking Us or Dare to Lead with Brene Brown
- What Should I Read Next?
Have a great book or resource to share? Send me an email at email@example.com.
Need a jumpstart in your reading life? Try Audible Premium Plus and Get Up to Two Free Audiobooks. Join Audible through this link and help support A Midwife Nation. New to audiobooks? I recommend you start with The Dutch House by Tom Hanks. You can’t go wrong with an audiobook narrated by Tom Hanks!
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