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5 Books for Childbirth

Birth books never get old at my house.  Are you looking for some great reads this winter?  Here are five birth books you can cozy up by the fire with and really start digging deep into birth practices, their influences on maternal-fetal health, and how to get started now helping your mentoring clients or making your pregnancy more holistic and comfortable.

Safer Childbirth? by Marjorie Tew

This book is a hard look at the history of maternity practices - from cultural and anthropological influence to studies and evidence completely disregarded and twisted - that literally changed the way we believe about birth and the misconceived perception of safety that runs rampant with many providers and birthing facilities, with research to back.  If you're new to the birth scene, definitely grab a copy of this!  If you're seasoned, especially if you have formal education and find birthing practices and helping women intriguing, definitely grab a copy of this!

Tew tells us, "Action to reduce losses in childbirth still further would have to concentrate on improving the health of the neediest mothers.  In the light of past performance, there is not the slightest reason to believe that the desired objective would be achieved by increasing the medical input into maternity care. On the contrary, fewer losses would result if the medical input into maternity care were greatly restricted, while access to, and uptake of, healthy diets and social support became universal."

Hear, hear!

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, M.S.

Many of you may have read Katy Bowman's interview years ago about the negative impacts of kegels (read: mono-movement) and importance of [proper] squatting (though, in reality - it is movement she's getting at - not just squatting).  You may not have realized that within that time, that interview exponentially increased her traffic and in addition to her amazing Nutritious Movement website, she has many amazing books that are an absolute must read for any... modern human!  What I love most?  She further instills my annoyance over "exercises" and instead encourages fun and functional balanced daily movement.

Movement - rather body alignment which is created from healthy daily movement - is crucial for the body's biological ability to birth smoothly.  There's only so much healthy eating can do for you.  While not a perinatal-specific book, this is a foundational look into some of the most common health conditions of our modern cultures which directly relates to many common birth and breastfeeding complications.

Bowman urges us, "I want you to keep exercise and movement separate in your mind because there are many movements we wouldn't consider exercise that are essential to the tissues of the body.  For example, the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding at the breast are different than the workings of an infant's mouth while feeding off a bottle.  In the end, the task of getting milk is accomplished no matter if you take a boob or a bottle, but the process of milking the breast, it turns out, is important to the optimal formation of the jaw and face bones.  The structure of the face bones and established motor patterns of the face muscles end up affecting other processes, like breathing and swallowing, as ell as the space available for tooth eruption."

mmmmhmmm.... I know - all you mommas out there that have ever interacted with me for breastfeeding support are probably hearing my voice in your head repeating my caution of things like pacifiers, am i right?  This is a great lead into the next dig-deeper book recommendation.

Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, 2ed. by Linda J. Smith and Mary Kroeger

Still one of my most absolute favorite books.  Period.  If I could quote the entire amazing information here, I would.  It is just so good and I am constantly astonished by the persons that work within the maternity industry that not only haven't read this book, but are completely unaware of the information within.  This title is a picked apart, intensely researched, look at birthing practices from the big ones - like cesarean and pain relief - the seemingly insignificant ones with big impacts - like IV fluid and mother's position at birth.  I mean, wow!  It is worth every single penny and I do so hope that if you're a perinatal mentor, that this is already on your bookshelf.  If not, please add this one soon!

The authors explain in the chapter on Effects of IV Hydration on Maternal Stress, Breast Edema, and Lactogenesis, "Postpartum breast engorgement is a major barrier to establishment of effective and comfortable breastfeeding.  Only recently have clinicians differentiated between onset of copious milk secretion (lactogensis III) and edema... Many mothers have left birth facilities by day 2-4, and may not have access to adequate professional support in the critical first week postbirth."

Then the snowball just keeps rolling.

Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding, Revised Ed. by Dr. Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman

Dr. Jack Newman has some of the most thorough and equally the most effective - simple - breastfeeding information available.  There are a lot of great resources out there, but if you're looking for that one title to add to your shelves, this is it.  It is great for expecting mothers without having to filter through a lot of opinions or outdated support techniques to get to the basics of breastfeeding and likewise a great flip-through reference for perinatal mentors.

Have you experienced this yourself?  Newman explains, "A baby who 'latches on just fine for the first few days' and then cannot latch on when the mother's milk comes in and she becomes engorged probably didn't latch on in the first few days: he pretended to.  If a baby breastfeeds well in the first few days, the mother may feel full when her milk 'comes in,' but she should not be so engorged that the baby cannot latch on."

Did your mentor share this information with you?  This is only the tippity top of the iceberg of information contained within these pages dispelling myths - even in the birth support community.

Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark

You know I couldn't do a list like this without some recommendation of herbal wellness.  Many new mentors and parents are looking for compact information that makes their lives easier and healthier.  This is a great book for the shelf that does just that.  Not limited to children, despite the title, it is great for the whole family by offering pages and pages of whole-family safe recipes and basic herbal care knowledge sharing.  Everything from cradle cap and diaper rash remedies to infestations, infections, and fever support - this is a great go-to for feeling more confident in parenting (always helpful) and having resources available for mentoring clients.

A little excerpt encourages, "Treating a child with herbs can be an effective way to fortify the body and cure illness.  Herbal medicine is the right choice for kids because it blends modern medical research with ancient practices and remedies.  Children generally respond well to herbal remedies, even when they are administers in tiny doses.  Children's bodies are sensitive and react promptly to an herb's synergistic, efficient, gentle effects."

This was one of the first books I ever bought on herbal wellness when my littles were tinies and it just fed my obsession of obtaining herbal awareness.  I still reference this at times for my personal mentoring clients when time is of the essence.

BONUS!

Man's Guide to Birth by Danielle Bergum

Last but not least, a little bonus book - and free with Kindle Unlimited - though I may be a little biased on this title, is Esali Birth's Man's Guide to Birth which is a pocket-guide style summary of the holistic knowledge shared from Esali Birth Mentoring.  From conception through pregnancy, into birth, and during postpartum and early parenting - each page is a tip to follow with a quick summary.  No new parent should be without this guide, and every mentor should have this in their lending library.

Esali Birth Monthly Live Chat

It's that time again!  Set a reminder - we'll be live on the Esali Birth Facebook Page on the first Monday of [most] every month at 8:30 pm EST.  If you're an expecting or TTC couple, these chats are for you!

This is NOT a "what to expect" class.  These are "what are my options and how do I feel confident" mentoring sessions covering information to support your wellness before, during and after birth.  (Private birth mentoring is available with the standard 10-week, 6-week, or custom-length options that cover your specific needs in a one-on-one approach and group classes local and online.  Contact mdbergum~at~esalibirth~dot~com for inquiries).

Each chat will focus on a topic from our monthly group birth class in a free online format where you can listen and type in questions live.  Topics may include:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Care Provider Options
  • Home & Hospital Birth Experiences
  • Transformation of Labor (Labor Stages/Labor Overview/Hormonal Influences)
  • Support Techniques
  • Breastfeeding
  • Postpartum

These live chats will *not* be made available after the live session ends - but we will cover each topic multiple times throughout the year.

If you participate in the *live* chat (you HAVE to comment with your name at least so attendance can be verified) - you may purchase a 30-day access to the Esali Birth Complete Online Series (which follows the standard 10-week perinatal education series) for $30 (normally $100).  Contact after the live event has ended, or select the Live Chat ticket on our eventbrite page for registration to the online class.  Registration will be completed after the event has ended.

Fees for any of these classes can be used towards any full-length private or online series if registered within 6 months of attendance date.  See you Monday!

At Esali Birth, we go far beyond "what to expect" in birth.  While "birth class" is often what people call it - that's simply because it is a term that has been around for so long.  Additionally, people think of the word "doula" as someone that only supports moms during labor - and that is not completely accurate, either.  Ideally, your care provider is the one that not only educates you and supports you and provides breastfeeding guideance, but reality these days doesn't really offer the opportunity for providers to have the time to do so.  This is where a birth educator comes in and then often a separate doula after that and then a separate lactation counselor after that.  However, reducing the amount of people not only in the birth itself, but overall during the perinatal journey has many values.  No matter what you want to call it - someone that provides a continuum of education and support from pregnancy through labor and into postpartum not only has the value of trust, but the value of knowing your personal journey.  Even more than a standard series, I LOVE focusing on individualized education - because just like your care provider for birth, the information you receive prenatally is specific to your needs.  Working with couples in private mentoring sessions allows me to focus on not only your questions, but techniques that are specific to your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

What might a prenatal mentoring session look like?  That really depends on your goals, and where you are in your childbearing journey.  We may:

  • Talk about birth history and the birth industry and how that will influence your health and happiness - do you know how the business of birth changes your options and safety?  We'll talk about the safety of birth in the US, too.
  • Process a previous birth (or even a birth story you've heard) to reduce fear and move on to enjoying your perinatal experience - Do you know how this can affect the comfort and health of your birth?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Work on body techniques to eliminate pregnancy discomfort and help position baby for the best birth possible - Do you know techniques you can do at home to reduce these discomforts and why misalignment changes even things like vaginal birth and VBAC?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Discover nutrition that will increase your health, your baby's health, and reduce chances of things like rupture of the membranes before labor due to nutrition - Do you know about whole foods and herbal therapies?  We'll talk about that, too.
  • Find a birth team to best support your needs - Do you know what is available to you from home to hospital?  We'll explore your options.
  • Develop a relationship that carries into trust in birth so I am not only your "labor doula" - but a connected part of your team that knows more about your history, who you are, and what you desire - Do you know what a doula can do for you AND Dad?  Let's discuss that, too.
  • Build confidence in you AND dad so you can work together through the perinatal stages and become empowered parents - because confidence is key and I want you to walk away from a mentoring session with a smile and an energy excited for birth.

Wow, and that's just the tip of the iceberg!  Overall, we're not only working towards your goals in birth - but in creating the happiest birth possible because a happy birth is a healthy birth.  One on one sessions - virtually or locally - help you have that special time to focus on you and a guide along the way to provide you with information and resources that support you holistically without having to spend hours and hours in parenting groups and blogs trying to filter through the information.

Interested in a session or series?  Get in touch!

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