WANT TO HAVE A POSITIVE PREGNANCY AND BIRTH EXPERIENCE?
TOP 5 MUST-READS DURING PREGNANCY
Do yourself a favour and step away from ‘One Born Every Minute’ and put down the copy of ‘What to Expect when Expecting’. If you’re aiming for a positive, empowering experience (and who isn’t?!), the best things you can do are nurture your physical and mental wellbeing, and get reading books that educate you and fill you with excitement (not fear!) about having your baby.
By nurturing your physical wellbeing; I mean find a form of exercise that makes your body feel strong, and good, and helps creates space for your baby in your increasingly crowded torso – yoga is excellent for this. For mental well-being; I recommend connecting with the positive birth community on social media (e.g. Gentlebirth facebook group) and downloading the Gentlebirth app on your phone where you can prepare your mind for the months ahead using sports psychology techniques; mindfulness; hypno-birthing; cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and more - all at your own convenience.
And as for reading books, here are my top 5 must-reads:
1. The Irish Better Birth Book: Taking the Mystery (and Fear) Out of Childbirth Paperback, Tracy Donegan (2012)
This book is the most comprehensive guide of its kind when it comes to the Irish maternity system – it offers fantastic insight into an Irish perspective and I’d recommend it to anyone having a baby in the Republic of Ireland.
2. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (2008)
This book is an absolute game-changer in understanding the culture and reality of childbirth and has to be my number 1 choice – if you can only read one book, then this is the one I recommend. It’s filled with Ina’s May’s wisdom and expertise on pregnancy and childbirth and includes a ton of real-life, positive birth stories.
3. The Positive Birth Book: a new approach to pregnancy, birth and the early weeks, Milli Hill (2017)
I’ve just finished reading Milli Hill’s new book. It's hot off the press and I wish it had been around on my previous pregnancies. While it is primarily geared towards the UK maternity system, it’s teeming with positivity and packed to the brim with highly useful, practical information that covers all the basics – another essential read in my opinion!
4. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League (2010)
For anyone in anyway interested in breastfeeding, I implore you to look past the somewhat unappealing title and cover of this fantastic book. This book is the most comprehensive, reliable, realistic, mother-centric resource I have come across on this topic. In particular, I like this edition as it’s pretty up-to-date and tackles modern-day challenges and the amount of (often incorrect) information available online.
5. Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child's First Year, Cassandra Vieten (2009)
I was introduced to this book when completing my Gentlebirth Instructor training and would have loved to have this when expecting my first baby. It’s such an easy and enjoyable read and is filled with tips and techniques to look after your psychological health while navigating the rollercoaster of becoming a mother.
So that’s it; my Top 5...
Physiological facts and evidence-based information
Positive Birth stories
Navigating the Irish and/or UK maternity system
Looking after your mental well-being
Add in some nurturing exercise and regular use of your Gentlebirth app and you’re good to go! Enjoy the journey 🙂
Claire Flannery is the Founder and Owner of Strength Within coaching and consultancy, where she focuses on helping people create the headspace and mental clarity to discover, cultivate and maximise their strength within. She is a qualified Psychologist, Business & Personal Coach and Gentlebirth Instructor and is passionate about helping people to successfully navigate the huge identity and life transition involved in starting and growing a family. As a large part of her work, she is privileged to work with women and their partners as they make their journey through pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Along with Coaching services, she runs Gentlebirth and Return-to-Work workshops in Dublin, Ireland.