When it comes to preparing for childbirth, there are countless resources available – from apps and blogs to classes and videos.
But if you’re looking for a deeper understanding of the natural birth process and a truly empowering experience, there’s nothing quite like a good book.
When you’re looking for the right book, there is no shortage of natural birth books to choose from.
We’ve carefully chosen the five best, most insightful, inspiring, and must-read natural birth books to make it easier for you.
These books will without a doubt revolutionise your pregnancy and birth experience.
So What Are The Best Natural Birth Books to Read to Prepare You for Birth?
Here the short of it…
Number 1 on our list is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Its a classic for a reason.
Next is Rachael Reed’s Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage – which will help you feel empowered in any birth setting (especially a hospital).
For those considering freebirth, Heather Baker’s Home Birth on Your Own Terms is a game-changer.
If you’re looking for a positive birth experience, Milli Hill’s The Positive Birth Book is your go-to.
And for those seeking a natural birth, Rhea Dempsey’s Birth with Confidence is a must-read.
No matter what kind of birth you’re planning, these books are here to guide and support you every step of the way.
1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Best overall Natural Birth Book
If you only read one book during your pregnancy, make it this one. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth truly opened my eyes and continues to be a valuable resource. It has helped me and many of my clients feel positive and empowered about birth decisions. I can’t recommend this book enough!
Best for: Anyone wanting to have a natural birth
Price: $15.99 USD
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – where do I even begin? It’s like having a wise old auntie who’s seen it all and is ready to share her secrets with you.
This book is my go-to for any kind of birth – it covers all aspects of birth, from the physiological process, to intimacy, to how to choose your doula, midwife and obstetrician.
First off, Ina May Gaskin is a rockstar in the natural birth world. She is a traditional midwife that has been attending births and supporting mothers for decades, and this book is the culmination of all her wisdom and experience.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is not your average birth book. It’s filled with inspiring birth stories from real women who have birthed in a variety of settings, from home births to hospital births. And let me tell you, these stories are powerful.
They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and they’ll make you believe in the incredible strength of the female body.
But that’s not all – Ina May also shares her own birth philosophy, which is centred around the idea that birth is a natural, normal process that our bodies are designed to handle. She offers practical tips for preparing your body and mind for birth, including exercises, visualisations, and breathing techniques.
And if you’re feeling nervous about giving birth, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth will be like a comforting hug. Her reassuring tone and gentle encouragement will make you feel like you can handle anything that comes your way.
In short, if you’re looking for a book that will inspire, educate, and empower you on your journey to motherhood, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is an absolute must-read.
What I like/dislike about Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
- Easy to read, well written and funny
- Explores all areas of the birth world and shares raw birthing stories
- Evidenced based content
- Can come across as Biased in some areas
- Some of the birth stories are very spiritual and deep (keep an open mind, everyones experiences brith differently.
- its mostly written about the U.S. and talks about regulations that don’t apply in some countries like Australia and the U.K.
2. Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage by Rachael Reed
The Best Book for an Empowering Hospital Birth
Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage is a game-changer! Dr.Rachael Reed provides invaluable insights into how to navigate the over-medicalised world of childbirth and how to have a truly natural and empowered birth experience. I believe every woman should read this book to gain a deeper understanding of the process and reclaim their power in the birth journey.
Best for: Mummas who want an empowering hospital birth
Price: $17.78 USD
Dr. Rachael Reed, the all-around superstar of the childbirth world, has penned an absolute masterpiece with her book Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage.
As a midwife with a PhD, author, educator, speaker, researcher and consultant, Reed is basically Wonder Woman when it comes to all things childbirth.
This revolutionary book is all about challenging the traditional medicalised approach to childbirth and instead, viewing it as a powerful rite of passage that women can reclaim for themselves.
With her extensive knowledge of childbirth physiology, midwifery practise and women’s rights (and rites), Reed expertly guides readers through the transformative power of childbirth, and how it can be an empowering experience for women.
Dr. Reed’s book delves into the history of childbirth and how it has become so medicalised in recent years
She argues that this has resulted in women feeling disempowered and disconnected from the childbirth process.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Reed’s book offers practical advice on how women can take back their power and have the birth experience they truly want.
What sets this book apart is Reed’s focus on the spiritual and emotional aspects of childbirth. She believes that birth is not just a physical process, but a deeply transformative experience that can change women on a profound level.
Her book offers a fresh perspective on childbirth, emphasising the importance of intuition, connection, and empowerment.
Whether you’re planning a natural home birth or a hospital birth; Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage is a must-read for anyone who wants to approach childbirth with a more holistic, empowered mindset.
Dr. Reed’s writing is engaging and insightful, and her book is sure to revolutionise your perspective on childbirth.
Get ready to be enlightened, inspired, and empowered by Dr. Reed’s wisdom and guidance.
What I like/dislike about Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage
- Written not only for mummas, but also for doulas and health care professionals to promote a change in how women are birthing today
- Written and published recently so it gives a fresh up to date in site of the birth world
- You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to understand it.
- Helps women understand their rights
- Overuse of the word “herstory” in the place of “history”
- A bit difficult to read in some places, and wishy washy in others
- Not everyones cup of tea
3. Home Birth on Your Own Terms by Heather Baker
The Best Book for Freebirth
If you’re considering a home birth, Home Birth on Your Own Terms by Heather Baker is a must-read. This book is a great resource for anyone planning a home birth, whether it’s assisted or unassisted. It’s full of valuable information that helps women understand their bodies and believe in their ability to birth without intervention. I highly recommend this book, especially if you live far from a hospital… You never know when you might need it.
Best for: Mummas who want a home birth (assisted or unassisted)
Price: $24.51 USD
Heather Baker is not your average midwife.
With over 20 years of experience attending births all over the world, she’s seen it all – from hospital births to home births to unassisted births.
And now, she’s sharing her wisdom with the world in her groundbreaking book, Home Birth On Your Own Terms: A How To Guide For Birthing Unassisted.
Her book is a comprehensive guide for women who want to experience the beauty of home birth on their own terms.
Heather Baker shares her extensive knowledge and expertise in the traditional midwifery field, and provides detailed instructions and insights for women who want to birth unassisted.
She even shares her powerful experiences of freebirthing 4 of her children at home with her husband and doula at her side.
Baker’s book is not just a how-to guide; it is a manifesto for women who want to take control of their birthing experience.
She provides a step-by-step guide to preparing for an unassisted birth, from choosing the right birth space to creating a birth plan, and even covers emergency situations that might arise during birth.
What sets this book apart is Baker’s approach to unassisted home birth, also known as freebirth.
The 1st of its kind, Baker’s complete manual for mothers, includes everything they need to know to have a healthy, safe, unassisted home birth.
Her book is a celebration of the innate strength and wisdom of women’s bodies, and is an inspiration for women who want to take back their power and trust in their bodies to birth their babies.
Whether you are planning an unassisted home birth or just want to learn more about natural birthing, Home Birth On Your Own Terms is a must-read.
Baker’s passion for traditional midwifery and her dedication to empowering women shine through on every page, making this book not just informative, but also an enjoyable read.
what I like/dislike about Home Birth on Your Own Terms
- The book is straight to the point and written well
- Covers all situations and everything you need to know about home birth (unassisted and assisted)
- I loved reading the birth stories they are so inspiring and some are quite funny
- Not sure about the diets that she talks about
- Talks about tinctures and homeopathic as remedies – these methods aren’t for everyone.
4. The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill
The Best Book for a Positive Birth Experience
“I absolutely loved reading The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill! This book covers all birthing options in a factual and unbiased way so that you can choose your birth journey knowing all the facts. Whenever I meet a mumma that is torn between birthing options and which path to choose, I recommend this book – it helps every time!
Best for: Mummas who want to know their options (unbiased)
Price: $28.13 USD
Milli Hill is a freelance journalist and the founder of the global Positive Birth Movement – this woman knows what she’s talking about when it comes to giving birth like a boss.
The Positive Birth Book is not just any book about birth. It’s THE book about how to have a positive birth!
If you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or just want to learn more about how birth can be a positive experience, then this book is for you.
In this book, Milli Hill draws on her years of experience as a birth activist and founder of the Positive Birth Movement to guide you through every step of the birth journey, from pregnancy to postpartum.
She helps you understand your different birth options that are available, from home births to hospital births, and even caesarean sections.
She breaks down the jargon, the myths, and the stereotypes surrounding birth, and empowers you with evidence-based information so that you can make informed choices about your birth experience.
But what sets this book apart is its focus on positivity – unlike most natural births books, she talks about all types of birth in a positive light.
Hill doesn’t just give you the facts – she inspires you with stories of real-life positive birth experiences from around the world.
She shows you that birth can be an empowering and transformative experience, no matter how you choose to birth your baby.
The book also includes practical tips and tools for preparing for birth, from creating a birth plan to coping with pain, and even includes a section for birth partners.
It’s like having your very own doula in book form!
So, if you’re ready to choose your positive birth experience, then The Positive Birth Book is the perfect guide to help you get there.
what I like/dislike about The Positive Birth Book
- A non-medical view of the birth world – the only author in my list that is not a midwife, or doula of some sort. But yet she is still a wonderful resource of knowledge.
- Well written content with humour laced throughout
- I love how this book talks about exercise during pregnancy and tips for breastfeeding and gives information about your pelvic floor.
- Only really talks about policies in the U.K.
- It does shed some bad light on doctors
5. Birth with Confidence by Rhea Dempsey
The Best Book for Natural Birth
As a holistic doula caring for many first-time mummas, Birth with Confidence by Rhea Dempsey gave my clients the knowledge and tools to approach their labour and delivery with excitement and empowerment instead of fear. I loved that the book isn’t just for moms, but also for their partners. It was a great resource for them to learn how to work together during birth, manage pain, and trust their bodies.
Best for: Mummas and partners
Price: $14.99 USD (Kindle version)
Rhea Dempsey is a well-known name in the world of childbirth education, and for good reason.
As an experienced Australian Doula, speaker, and counsellor, she has attended over a thousand births and has helped countless women achieve their goal of having a natural, intervention-free birth.
Her book, Birth with Confidence: Savvy Choices for Normal Birth, is a must-read for any woman who wants to approach an intervention-free birth with empowerment and confidence.
In this book, Rhea shares her insights and wisdom on what it takes to have a successful natural birth.
The book covers a wide range of topics, from understanding the physiology of birth to preparing for labour and delivery.
Rhea emphasises the importance of having a birth plan and understanding your options for pain relief and intervention. While also stressing the importance of listening to your body and your instincts.
One of the standout features of Birth with Confidence is Rhea’s emphasis on pain and how to stay on top of it, as well as the role of the birth partner.
She provides practical advice for partners on how to be an effective support person during labour, including tips on massage, positioning, and communication.
Throughout the book, Rhea also draws on her extensive experience working with women from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
She shares stories and insights from her work with Aboriginal women in Australia, as well as women from other cultures around the world.
Overall, Birth with Confidence is an excellent resource for any woman who wants to have a natural, intervention-free birth.
Rhea’s compassionate and practical approach makes this book an essential read for anyone preparing for childbirth.
what I like/dislike about Birth with Confidence
- This is a great book for those supporting women in labour (partners, doulas, etc.)
- Great if you are looking for an intervention free, natural birth – even in hospital
- gives some good strategies about how to manage pain in labour
- Only really talks about birth and not much about pregnancy or the postnatal period
- Is written about birthing in Australia, which may have different regulations to other parts of the world
- The paperback copy is $160 USD, however the kindle version is only $14.99 USD
The top-5 natural birth books to empower YOUR birth
So there you have it – the top five natural birth books that will change your pregnancy experience for the better!
From the inspiring stories in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth to the empowering insights in Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage, these books are filled with invaluable information and guidance.
Whether you’re planning a hospital birth or considering a freebirth, there’s something here for everyone.
And let’s not forget about the positive and natural birth experiences that The Positive Birth Book and Birth with Confidence will help you achieve.
So go ahead, grab a cup of tea, curl up on the couch, and let these books take you on a journey towards the birth of your dreams.
Remember, knowledge is power, and these books will give you all the power you need to have the birth experience you deserve.