Looking for a compilation of the best resources and books for natural birth to help make your birth goal a reality? You are in the right place!
As an L&D RN and founder here at Mommy Labor Nurse, I’m ALL about helping moms that are interested in birthing without an epidural find the resources and tools they need to make that a reality!
When it comes to having a natural birth, simply wanting it usually isn’t enough. The overwhelming majority of mamas that succeed with this goal have done a LOT of physical and mental preparation to make it a reality.
The good news is that there are so many wonderful resources out there to educate you and equip you with the tools and tips you need to rock your natural birth.
So, let’s take a look!
- Best books for natural birth
- More must-have resources to prepare for natural birth
- What natural birth books and resources will you use?
Best books for natural birth
Even in this digital age, sometimes there is nothing like learning from a book. The internet can feel endless at times. Combing through (and consuming) all of the content related to natural birth prep can feel pretty overwhelming.
Books for natural birth are a great way to dial in your preparation and unplug for a bit at the same time. These three natural childbirth books are my absolute favorite – and ones I even recommend to the students who take my best-selling online birth classes!
They provide a unique and different perspective, and can only enhance your learning as you prepare to birth without an epidural!
1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
This book is a kind of “cult classic” in the world of natural childbirth – and for good reason! Ina May Gaskin is an American midwife with over 30 years of experience.
She’s often referred to as the “Mother of Modern Midwifery” and is a passionate advocate for unmedicated, or as she calls it, natural birth.
Ina May’s book teaches about trusting your body’s ability to birth, how to reduce the pain of labor without drugs, the importance of setting an atmosphere for your birth, and so much more.
When you read this book you will gain many tips and tools to prepare you for natural birth, but you’ll also be entertained by the anecdotes and passion infused in the text.
One thing to be aware of is that Ina May, and this book, have a strong bias towards natural birth. And it is important to understand that Ina May’s experience attending unmedicated births was largely in the birth center on a self-sustaining community known as “The Farm”. She and her husband founded The Farm in the early 1970s. In other words, you will very likely get some “hippy” vibes from some of the birth stories and teachings in this book!
While I am a big fan of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and do whole-heartedly recommend it to any mama that knows she wants to try for a natural birth, understanding the lens and bias is important!
2. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon and Robert A. Bradley
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way is another renowned book in the world of natural childbirth. The Bradley Method claims a 90% success rate in drug-free births for women birthing vaginally with the use of this method.
This book is authored primarily by Susan McCutcheon, who is a childbirth educator that studied under Robert A. Bradley himself (the founder of the technique).
In the Bradley Method, women are taught how to defuse fear, involve and prepare their partner to be a birth coach, understand what they call the “induction and Cesarean epidemics”, and give detailed guides to relaxation, breathing, and visualization for natural birth.
Before you purchase this book, it’s important to understand that there is again strong bias towards entirely unmedicated birth, and because The Bradley Method is a method that is available in a paid class – you will find strong sentiments against other birthing methods in the book.
Lastly, I want you to be aware that this book does use dated language in referring to your partner exclusively as “the husband”. I wish that the 2017 updated version had done a better job at reflecting all of the unique birthing and family situations that exist.
3. The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
This book is geared towards, you guessed it, the support people that will attend your birth! This might be your partner, other family members, or even professional doulas. The Birth Partner is written by Penny Simkin who offers the professional perspective of a PT, childbirth educator, doula, and birth counselor.
This book is PACKED with actionable tips and advice for partners to use to support the birthing mama. Additionally, you will get an overview of the entire birth process, what to expect, and relatively unbiased explanations of possible medical interventions.
In addition to covering how partners can help during birth, the book includes information about breastfeeding and newborn care from the partner’s perspective which is added info that is absolute gold!
The 5th edition of this book uses inclusive terms to refer to the birthing person and their support person.
More must-have resources to prepare for natural birth
Now, while we’re on the topic of natural birth books, I thought I’d give you a little round-up of some of the resources we have here at Mommy Labor Nurse to help you prepare for natural birth.
Books offer an amazing deep dive into one perspective, but taking a well-rounded approach to your birth preparation and education is really going to serve you best.
Let’s take a look at some other resources that can help you, too!
Birth classes for natural birth
If birthing without an epidural is your goal, taking a birth class that’s tailored to that type of birth is going to make a huge difference! Mindset, as well as physical and mental pain-coping strategies, are going to be essential for you to have the positive birth experience you deserve!
By choosing a natural birth class as opposed to taking a more general birth education course, you know you’re going to learn exactly what it takes.
Birth It Up: The Natural Series
Birth It Up: The Natural Series is one of the most affordable online birth classes specific to natural birth!
It promises to:
- Eliminate anxiety and fear about labor and delivery
- Teach you how to manage your pain – physically and mentally
- Prepare you partner to offer calm support and advocacy
- And still teach about medical interventions (like epidurals and C-sections) with an open-mind, just in case
So if you want to feel strong and ready for your unmedicated, epidural-free birth, enroll in this class today!
But I know that committing to a paid class can feel like a lot. So if you’re not there yet, you can always check out Mommy Labor Nurse’s FREE birth preparation workshop, 3 Must-Know Secrets to an Even Better Birth.
This is a totally free, on-demand video-based class that’s about 45 minutes long. Inside you’ll:
- Discover the 3 elements of birth preparation that pack the most punch towards a positive experience
- Walk away with tons of actionable tips you (and your partner) can start practicing right away
- Participate in live demonstrations of pain coping strategies
- And be well on your way to an even better birth!
This is a risk-free way to check out the Mommy Labor Nurse teaching style, learn some solid foundational tips to help you have a natural birth, and find out if an online birth class could be a good fit for you!
Podcast episodes about natural birth
The Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast is a popular pregnancy podcast that airs every Monday. Each week you’ll hear pregnancy-related topics, expert interviews, and a variety of birth stories to support you in pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
Here, I’ve compiled a list of episodes that feature positive stories of birthing without an epidural! Hearing other women’s positive experiences with natural birth can be a really powerful way to get yourself prepared.
- EP2: My Birth Story!
- EP18: Have A Better Birth After Taking Birth It Up!
- EP41: Has Liesel Had The Baby Yet? Maybe…But Let’s Hear An Unmedicated Birth Story!
- EP44: Mommy Labor Nurse’s SECOND Birth Story!
- EP50: Madison’s Positive Natural Induction Story
- EP52: Erin’s Redemptive Unmedicated Hospital Birth!
- EP55: A Fellow Labor Nurse’s Birth Story (Part 2)
The Mommy Labor Nurse Blog is full of evidence-based articles on a variety of topics related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. You can use the search bar to find exactly what you’re looking for!
Here I’ve compiled some of our most popular articles related to birthing without an epidural:
- Birthing Without an Epidural: How to Have a “Natural” Birth
- A List of Pain Meds for Birth Other Than Epidurals
- 25 Natural Birth Tips from a Labor Nurse
And lastly, I want to make sure you don’t miss out on grabbing your FREE Natural Birth Prep Pack! It’s a totally free set of printables to help you start preparing for an even better birth.
Inside you’ll find:
- Printable Hospital Bag Checklist: Feel 100000% confident your hospital bag is stocked with everything you need for your big day.
- Printable Birth Plan Templates: Grab a snack and a big glass of water, and think through all the questions: how you want to give birth, who you want in the room with you, what kind of music to play, and so much more. With this plan, you’ll have the sense of control you deserve.
- Printable Birth Affirmation Cards: Our minds can be one of our best assets to birthing without an epidural! And birth affirmations are one of my favorite ways to tap into that mental strength.
- Printable Third Trimester To-Do List: Feel completely at ease heading into labor, knowing you’ve checked every box.
What natural birth books and resources will you use?
Here you’ve got a GREAT compendium of natural birth resources – and aside from the books many of them are totally FREE.
I’d love to hear which ones you’re planning to use, or other ones I might have missed. Drop me a comment below 😊