Taking a childbirth class is important, but it is also difficult to cover everything you may want to know in just one class.  You will also likely have many questions before you begin your classes.  Reading about childbirth on your own is a great way to spend your time in the months before and after your childbirth class.  There are thousands of books about pregnancy and birth; here are a few of my favorite.

A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: Roberta Scaer & Diana Korte

Includes stories and experiences from real mothers, a fabulous list of questions to ask of potential care providers and places of birth, and the tools to empower you to have the type of birth you want.

Birth Your Way: Sheila Kitzinger

Provides information about the safety of home and birth center births.

Birthing From Within: Pam England

A fabulous book for anyone who has fears about labor and birth.  It has simple, short chapters.  It is realistic and honest.  If you enjoy art, you will love it even more, but anyone will benefit from this book, whether or not you consider yourself an artist.

Gentle Birth Choices: Barbara Harper

Includes a wonderful list of questions to ask when choosing a care provider.  Has a lot of information about water birth.  There are also sample scripts for visualizations and positive affirmations to use during labor.  Also provides you with the real answers to several common myths about labor and birth.

Hey, Who’s Having this Baby Anyway?: Breck Hawk

Breck Hawk uses a sense of humor and straight-forward honesty to discuss everything you might want to know about labor and birth.  Her book is written in a very easy to read format, with bullet points and charts.  She really allows woman to make their own choices by giving them all of the information they need in order to do so.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: Ina May Gaskin

Ina May is full of wisdom from her vast experience with childbirth.  Reading one of her books is a must!

Mind Over Labor: Carl Jones

I normally prefer to read childbirth books written by women who have experienced birth, but this is one book that you definitely shouldn’t leave out.  He knows his stuff!  Included are several helpful scripts to use during pregnancy and birth.

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: Penny Simkin

Penny Simkin has been working in the birth field for many years.  Her concern for every woman having a positive experience on a personal level is shown throughout all of her books.  This book is down to earth and realistic.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and your Growing Latter-day Saint Family: Kathleen Tooley Johnson

Not only does this book include helpful information for pregnancy, birth, and parenting, but it caters to those who have a belief in God.

Sharing Birth: A Father’s Guide to Giving Support During Labor: Carl Jones

Along with The Birth Partner, this is a fabulous book for fathers (or other support persons) to read!

The Birth Partner: Penny Simkin

A fabulous book for anyone who is going to be with a woman during labor.  Provides answers to the question, “What can I do to make labor easier for her?”

The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth: Sheila Kitzinger

Sheila Kitzinger is a popular name in the field of childbirth for a reason.  Her book is packed full of information, including a lot of photographs and illustrations.  She also includes some wonderful information on ideas for relaxing during labor.

The Pregnancy Book/The Birth Book/The Baby Book/The Breastfeeding Book/The Attachment Parenting Book: William & Martha Sears

I think it is helpful to have one good resource book on hand, especially for having a new baby and for breastfeeding.  These books are a great option for that.  They are packed full of useful information and will help you know when you can figure out a problem on your own and when you need more help.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth: Henci Goer

If you are interested in research-based answers to your questions about labor and birth, this is the book for you.