Tanya Smith Acupuncturist Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Do you really need to read pregnancy books?

dreamstime_s_33897448Many of my clients balk at the idea of pregnancy books, saying that reading about it is not going to change anything anyway. They’ll have a baby if they read them or if the don’t!

Or they’re worried that the books are going to stress them out and they’re already stressed out with all of the stuff to buy and the foods to not eat and the constant barrage of advice and advertising aimed at pregnant women.

Which is why I wrote this post. I want to simplify the choices (only the best here!) and to help you figure out which things might be useful to read that will make an impact on how pregnancy goes.

It’s true, in pregnancy there are some things you have control over, and some things you don’t. You get to choose how to nourish your body and your baby, you get to decide how much you move and what you do and you are in charge of how you prepare for birth and parenting.

If you want my advice (and you have read this far, so possibly you do), here are some of my favorite pregnancy books and resources to help you have the most comfortable, smooth and complication-free pregnancy and birth. These books will provide you with inspiration for starting healthy habits that will support you through pregnancy and parenthood.

Nutrition – You have different nutritional needs during pregnancy (that’s why it is recommended that every pregnant person take a prenatal vitamin) and our mothers and aunties used to be the ones that would share (or dictate) this information with us. But our generations’ mothers were also raised on processed food and prenatal vitamins and much of the cultural wisdom around pregnancy nutrition has been lost.

Books are an excellent resource figuring out your new nutritional needs during pregnancy. I really like Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck. I found her language really approachable and her recommendations realistic for most people. The First Forty Days by Amely Greeven, Heng Ou, and Marisa Belger is a beautifully photographed and compassionately written book to help prepare both the kitchen and mindset for after the baby is born. It is truly a must-read!

Movement – The hilarious and irreverent movement guru, Katy Bowman shows how the ways we move everyday affect pregnancy and recovery. She also points out that, as parents, we model movement habits that shape how our children move.

She has put together a brilliant pregnancy kit of her work that I would love every woman to have. With the right movement it is possible to have a pain-free pregnancy and prepare well for efficient labour.

Birth and Parenting Preparation – There are not many moments in our lives that we are pushed beyond our normal limits which is one of the things that can be intimidating about labour and birth. And we hear stories of new parents who are overwhelmed and sleep deprived and it can be difficult to figure out how to prepare for this.

While reading a book about the stages of labour can be helpful, there is no way to predict how a labour will go. Most of us have never seen a baby born, so we are just not sure what to expect. So how do you prepare for the unpredictable? One idea is to build your resiliency, flexibility and courage to move with whatever labour (and parenthood) presents you. Surround yourself with positive, supportive care and connect in with mothering groups even during pregnancy.

One source of positive support is to read prenatal books. The good ones are written by wise women who have attended hundreds of births and approach them with a confidence in women, their bodies and their babies. Ina May Gaskin and Penny Simkin are two of these wise women and I like these books written by them: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin, The Birth Partner and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin.

Sometimes, even if you are eating and moving well, there are some symptoms that crop up in pregnancy, labour or after your baby is born that would benefit from some acupuncture treatment. Find out more about how I support women through pregnancy here. Or set up a time to chat with me and see if I may be able to help.

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