According to the WHO Universal Rights of Childbearing Women you have the:
Right to information, informed consent and refusal, and respect for choices and preferences, including companionship during maternity care
The search for information can be overwhelming, particularly when ﬁrst starting out. If a resource takes away your instinct, goes against it or feels wrong… step away… Ultimately, I think that when we parent naturally - by instinct - the use of books and links are more to reassure and empower us in the face of criticism. Concerned ‘supporters’ oﬀer advice to, but you know your circumstances and what works for one parent does not always work for another. When making Informed Decisions, information is just one part of the puzzle.
My Top 5 reads for preparing for birth in Australia:
THE BIRTH MAP by Catherine Bell
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah Buckley
Birth with Confidence by Rhea Dempsey
Birth Journeys by Leonie Macdonald
A Modern Woman's Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth by Katrina Zaslavsky
The following list has been compiled to help highlight the ‘good’ resources. The resources listed have been chosen because they are evidence-based, consider things from a biologically normal view point and do not have an ‘agenda’ beyond providing information.
LINKS TO EVIDENCE-BASED ARTICLES AND WEBSITES
I check these regularly, if you find a dead link, please contact me. I include links only to websites that are not aggressively marketing, they may contain adverts, but the site itself is transparent and focused on providing evidence-based articles and support. I do not receive payment or favour from these links.
Legal Aspect of Birth Plans
This Article states: "Birth plans aren’t new-age nonsense. They protect mothers’ medical rights, midwife Hannah Dahlen and lawyer Bashi Hazard say."
The Doula Directory Australia
Doulas in the Canberra region
The Australian Breastfeeding Association provides evidence-based information and support in Australia. They provide breastfeeding education and you are welcome to attend group meetings before your baby is born.
The Milk Meg is hosted by an IBCLC (lactation consultant) providing evidence-based information.
These breastfeeding titles are also recommended:
• Boobin' All Day...Boobin' All Night!
• Adventures in Tandem Nursing
• Mothering your Nursing Toddler
• Politics of Breastfeeding
• Breastfeeding… Naturally (included with Australian Breastfeeding Association membership).
You will find a series of breastfeeding related articles in the bellablog..
• Homebirth Australia
• Homebirth South Australia
• Homebirth Access Sydney
• Positive Birth Stories
• Birth Journeys
OVERCOMING FEAR OF BIRTH
toxophobia: what to do and how to get support
Sarah Buckley provides insight into the hormones associated with birth.
PREGNANCY, BIRTH AND PARENTING INFORMATION
• Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond provides evidence-based articles from a variety of authors about pregnancy, birth and parenting.
• Belly Belly provides evidence based articles and a forum. It is the "The Thinking Woman’s Website For Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting."
• Midwife Thinking Australian Based midwife Dr Rachel Reed provides evidence-based articles about pregnancy and birth.
• Evolutionary Parenting Tracy Cassels has a PhD in Developmental Psychology, this website provides information from an evolutionary and biological perspective on sleep, breastfeeding and parenting. You can apply this to your lifestyle.
• Wombecology of birth (by Michel Odent) is a database of the research covering pregnancy, birth and the first year of life.
• Rockstar Birth Magazine
• Dr James McKenna provides evidence based information regarding breastfeeding and bed-sharing, co-sleeping and normal sleep behaviour for infants.
• Grubby Mummy Blog (wordpress) offers insightful articles about sleep training and sleep schools.
• Becoming Dad provides information and support specific to fathers.
• Beer and Bubs provides birth support education sessions aimed at fathers.
INDUCTION, EPIDURALS AND CAESAREAN
Michel Odent writes many informed and balanced articles and books. The Tree and the Fruit provides insights that may help you in deciding what is best for your circumstances. This article discusses 'The Birthing Pool Test' for 'slow' labour.
Midwife Thinking also offers an article on balancing the risks of induction.
Gloria Lemay addresses research on 'Stretch and Sweeps'.
Sarah Buckley provides insight into the effects of epidurals.
This article looks at the importance of undisturbed labour.
This Bellablog Post contains several links about induction and this one about how doulas can help with planned caesarean. This post discusses maternal assisted caesarean.
Here you will find a list of research papers and a review of Sara Wickhams book: Vitamin K and the newborn
BOOKS and AUTHORS for BIRTH PREPARATION and PARENTING
As with the links above, I include authors and books that are evidence-based and support-focused. I do not include that which I have not reviewed, so if something is missing, please feel welcome to contact me with your suggestions. I am always happy to receive a copy of a book for consideration.
• Sarah Buckley – Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering is an excellent resource for Australian women. Highly Recommended
• Jane Hardwicke Collings – Ten Moons: The Inner Journey of Pregnancy Preparation for Natural Birth. A unique guide to pregnancy and birth written by a homebirth midwife, mother and grandmother. This book takes you beyond the biological and into the emotional journey we travel as we prepare for and become Mothers.
• Rhea Dempsey – Birth with Conﬁdence: Savvy choices for normal birth is a brilliant and recent book explaining why it is not enough to simple want a normal physiological birth in the current birth climate. Highly Recommended. Review on the bellablog.
• Pam England – Birthing from within. Whilst she is very directive and has outdated ideas on breastfeeding and birth planning, many natural birthers swear by this book, the birth art sections can be very healing and can help in preparing for a natural birth when there are underlying fears and anxieties. This book is particularly good for people preparing for a birth after a previously traumatic or confusing experience.
• Ina May Gaskin – Her books are based on United States history and culture, but contain positive birth stories and information backed by experience. Many women are inspired by her books.
• Milli Hill - The Positive Birth Book. Review on the bellablog.
• Shelia Kitzinger – writes women centred books, about birth politics and advocacy. She is a strong woman, with evidence-based ideas. She is about empowering women.
• Frederick Leyboyer – Birth without Violence (not recent, but a classic)
• Jean Liedloff - The Continuum Concept is an anthropological look at parenting.
• Leonie MacDonald - Birth Journeys is a wonderful collection of positive birth stories. Highly Recommended. Review on the bellablog. (My gift to you, when your order my book)
• Fiona McArthur – Her non-fiction books include The Don't Panic Guide to Birth and two ebooks: The Little Book of Birth and Your Baby is Breech. Also a bellablog guest post
• Meg Nagle - Boobin' All Day...Boobin' All Night! Breastfeeding and night-time parenting are addressed in this easy to read, evidence-based book. Highly Recommended. Review on the bellablog.
• Michel Odent has written extensively on optimising birth outcomes for women and babies. He speaks of scientific vs technological birth; scientific meaning ‘natural’, technological referring to the interventions. Very well researched and un-opinionated, I highly recommend anything by Odent.
• William Sears – Nighttime Parenting (He has authored many books, this one is highly recommended).
• Annie Sprague – Water Labour, Water Birth is an excellent resource for understanding how water can support labour and birth.
• Sofie Vantiers – Making informed decisions on childbirth: one scientist’s international perspective. A useful summary of the science behind various interventions and how to apply this to your own circumstances.
• Katrina Zaslavsky - A Modern Woman's Guide to a Natural Empowering Birth. Highly Recommended. Review on the bellablog.