My first pregnancies I didn’t know that I had options in my prenatal care or birthing experience. I went along with a typical hospital birth just as everyone around me had done, cared for by an OBGYN. I had two pitocin inductions, epidurals, and episiotomies. They weren’t traumatic in anyway, in fact, I really enjoyed my first epidural birth! But after my second birth, which on paper was exactly the same, I left the hospital wanting more. Not just a healthy baby, but a deeper experience. I wanted to experience the process and desired to feel empowered in my choices– and so I switched to midwifery care at a birth center.
Below are the resources I’ve found most helpful in my more natural minded pregnancy journey:
This documentary filmed by Ricki Lake (yes, that Ricki Lake from the 90’s talk show!) and Abby Epstien was revolutionary to my thinking as my natural journey was sparked by the void that my second birth left. It was eye opening to see how the USA’s medical care is ran and how beautifully empowering natural birth can be. It is a must watch! There is also a second film called More Business of Being Born.
Written by the creators of The Business of Being Born, I absolutely loved this book as I was trying to decide how my next birth was going to be different. It explores your different options of care providers as well as locations (hospital, home, birth center, etc) in depth which really helped me nail down the changes I wanted to make and who to hire for my next birth.
I had the pleasure of hearing Ina May speak during one of my pregnancies (and meet her!). She is a birthing genius and knows her stuff as a midwife who has seen it all. I loved this book for the information it gave me on how our bodies work during labor when we give it space to let it do its job. I also devoured the various labor stories, drawing strength from them that I could do it as well.
For those who need some science behind their decisions, or to help support your choices to family who may be nervous, this is a fantastic resource to use.
For those who like to listen instead of read, this podcast is filled with all kinds of birth stories from all over the world. Yours truly shared her story on “A Red Tent Birth” episode.
This is a course you can take at home or locally. My first two natural births I read this book to help understand how the process and techniques to relax through the contractions. It helped me to retrain my brain in that the process doesn’t need to be feared and how to work through that. I also used the tracks offered for one birth, practicing when I could lay down during the day and in labor up until pushing. I found it helpful as a foundation, but expanded upon it more in subsequent births with different techniques.
This has a whole course available, either self-studying at home or through a local class, but since I had the hypnobirthing back ground and two natural births under my belt I just dived in with practicing the tracks. I love these tracks! I preferred these over the Hypnobirthing ones personally as I could better follow her breathing cues and techniques. They didn’t seem so “out there” visualization wise. I practiced these daily the last trimester when I laid down for a nap or couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night. Upload them to your phone and keep some headphones handy! My third natural birth using these techniques really helped create a peaceful, calm, and in control delivery.
I discovered this weekly update during this current pregnancy and loving them! It is geared toward the natural minded momma, unlike other updates. Each week your update contains baby’s growth, how you may be feeling, natural remedies, or things to research.
What momma doesn’t need inspirational quick reads to connect with yourself and your baby on this journey? I love it has some prompts to journal.
This is more of a for-fun-to-read book, but it was encouraging and entertaining to me when I was preparing for my natural birth. Like Ina May she’s seen it all, but has an extra layer of humor in her story telling.
Go search for some natural births and be awe inspired at the strength of women! You can do it, too.
Another great resource to learn your options, plus more empowering stories of all birth types. I recently met the founder January at a local meet up, it was wonderful to be surrounded by women who all feel the same way about birth and support one another regardless of differences!
This is only a teeny list of what is out there, but these certainly have helped me and countless women who have walked the pathway into motherhood. I hope as you begin digging deeper into your own journey you come across more resources that will inspire you (and I’d love to hear them!).