Pregnancy/Birth/Labor Self-Education

It should come as no surprise that the sources listed below all have a natural bent to them. No I haven’t read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, and I don’t intend on doing so.


I subscribe to all of the natural-birth blogs I can find. Below are my favorites.

My Best Birth-Some of the writing in this sight can be a bit “meh”, but if you liked the multi-writer format of sites like Weddingbee you’ll probably enjoy the real woman perspective of this site with a variety of viewpoints. It’s created by Ricki and Abby, the producer and director of The Business of Being Born.

My OB Said What?!?-That Husband frequently has to tell me to stop reading this site because I get really worked up over the ridiculous statements. According to the site description: The purpose of this site is to capture the crazy but true comments said to birthing women by doctors, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and childbirth educators when they are having their babies!

Public Health Doula-A doula that’s working toward earning a master’s in public health

Reality Rounds-Written by a nurse, this is a great read for those who want to learn about the current birth culture from someone inside the medical world.

Science & Sensibility-From Lamaze International, my favorite resource for studies and other scientific info.

Stand and Deliver-I believe this writer is LDS, she writes a mix of personal and birth education posts.

The Well-Rounded Mama-A woman who writes about issues that relate specifically to women of size.

Woman to Woman Childbirth Education-Kathy’s posts are my very favorite of all the birth/pregnancy/labor blogs I read. She taught me about this Monty Python skit.

The Unnecesarean-My second favorite. A blog leader in the fight against unnecessary c-sections.

Top 100 Natural Birthing Blogs-If these blogs aren’t enough for you, browse this extensive list (I found most of my favorite birth blogs through this list).


The Business of Being Born-The most popular and well made film so far that explores the culture of birth in America. Definitely biased, but I still enjoyed it.

Orgasmic Birth-Super touch-feely and lots of talk about the beauty of birth and how wonderful it can be.

Pregnant in America-I didn’t learn anything new, but if you have Netflix on Demand it’s currently available on instant so it might be worth a look.

Being Dad: Inspiration and Information for Dads-to-Be-That Husband is way behind me in terms of birth research, and I had high hopes that this DVD would be something he would be interested in sitting down to watch.

10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates- Not really an educational resource but I thought I’d include it here since it’s been my favorite pregnancy workout DVD by far. I like that I can string together different 10 minute options to create something that feels personalized for the day.


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth-The first book I finished in my pregnancy and I LOVED it. Really set the stage for the path I’m taking in my pregnancy.

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method-I still haven’t finished this one, but I think I started too early in my pregnancy, when labor pain management wasn’t at the front of my mind yet.

Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods-I obviously like this one as I’ve been writing a series of posts on how I’ve introduced Nina’s philosophies on nutrition into my diet. I plan on re-reading the nursing/baby’s first foods sections in the next month or so.

The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be, Second Edition-Loaned to me by a friend, I tried to read this one when TH was around so I could yell out relevant things to him, in the hope that he would absorb some of the things I was telling him.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night-Read almost all of it in one sitting, and I plan on mixing the methods she suggests with my next read, The Happiest Baby on the Block

Your Pregnancy Week By Week-Picked this one up at a used book store for like $5 and I really like picking it up every once in awhile and reading where the baby is and the different milestones. I disagree with the things it says pretty frequently so I move on or do some research to figure out where I stand on the issue.

Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature-Costs as much as a few of my college textbooks but so chock full of information I could read it several times in a row without getting bored. If you really want to learn about the medical/scientific research and analyses behind birth I would recommend buying it, otherwise check it out from the library if you can find it. Of course if you’re looking for “The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy” or whatever that popular book is, this is NOT it.


Pregtastic-Though the website hasn’t been updated for a month (I even emailed them to ask if the show wasn’t being produced anymore!), the past episodes are a phenomenal resource, in my opinion. I wrote about my favorite episodes here.

Google-Research everything. Everything your doctor suggests, everything you hear. When trying to decide if you trust the information look for articles written for large news outlets, links to studies, and other credible sources. Usually forums and message boards are not the best source of factual information.

19 thoughts on “Pregnancy/Birth/Labor Self-Education

  1. Jenna, I’m wondering why you aren’t going to read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Not that I think you should, I don’t know anything about maternity/baby literature. I’m just curious now that you said you definitely won’t be reading it. :)

    kay Reply:

    That book is seriously the devil, and I’m no where near as hardcore about childbirth, etc. as Jenna is. Honest to God – I’ve never been more scared in my life than when I read all the crap in that book and on the website about what I shouldn’t do, what I shouldn’t eat, how I’m going to feel, etc. etc. etc. It was absolutely awful.

    Not to mention it’s an incredibly medical model centered piece of literature…

    This is my second pregnancy (will be our first baby) and I stay FAR AWAY from that crap.

    I stay away from most baby books in general, really. I think it can become way too much of an obsession/overkill.

    Jenna Reply:

    For the very reasons that kay mentioned, that WTEWYE seems to do more harm than good for women. Instead of presenting birth as a natural situation and helping them prepare for the possibility of complications, it makes birth seem very scary and problematic, often getting into topics that a very small minority will ever have to deal with (but not really clarifying that for readers).

    Have you ever felt something was wrong with you, and then went online and used some kind of diagnostic tool and it told you that your cough could be a cough or flu or bronchitis or pneumonia or cancer? That’s what I feel like the book does. Instead of giving practical advice for how to deal with things, it freaks them out by presenting them with a variety of very unlikely situations. Maybe if it was organized differently?

    Kitten Reply:

    Oh my goodness, I never would’ve guess that it was scary on the inside! The cover of the book looks like a quilt and has a happy prego lady in a rocking chair! So misleading!

  2. Thanks, Jenna! I was just talking to my husband about finding more books to read to get ready for birth.

    I will say even though I am heading the natural route for child birth, that I am a fan of the What to Expect books. I could see why it might frighten some people I suppose, but I like being able to find a topic in the index and get the scoop. Usually it is from an irrational fear that I want to be reassured is normal without calling my midwife for the third time that day. But as usual, to each there own!

    Jenna Reply:

    I think there are probably many midwives and doctors who really appreciate the book for just that reason. Saves them time dealing with simple questions that aren’t hard to find the answer to!

    Barb Reply:

    I am also a fan of the book and heading toward the natural childbirth route, and I like being able to look up what is going on at any certain point, and appreciate a reference, even if a lot of the information is extraneous. The internet is full of speculative information and with so many opinions out there it is easy to be mislead.

  3. as someone very interested in childbirth and babies, i thank you soooo much for this list! i am always looking for blogs on these subjects.

  4. Ah, this takes me back to when I first started reading about natural childbirth, I would spend hours on the internet reading things, and hours in the bookstore as well- I think you and I got into it around the same age in college if I remember correctly. I eventually stopped keeping up with it though, because I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant anytime soon, and I’m still not, but I do still love reading birth stories and I have to say it’s been so awesome to find out you were a fellow researcher and natural birth fan. I love these posts, they are so interesting and fun to read.

  5. I like your preggo/maternity blog lists. I’m not interested in a child right now, but this is still really interesting. Thanks!

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