Since becoming pregnant I’ve managed to consume a ridiculous amount of information about all things pregnancy and baby! Mainly in the form of books but also I’ve learnt quite a lot from a few different websites and apps too, so I’ll mention those. Here is the low down on my favourite ones:
The Good Birth Companion – Nicole Croft
This one is, as the title suggests, mainly a book about the process of labour and advocates a natural, active birth where possible. I really enjoyed this book, it’s well thought out and everything is explained in detail along with a few illustrations here and there to show birthing positions, baby’s position in the pelvis etc. It also gives you background information about the science behind the hormones we produce in labour and how to work with the hormones for hopefully an easier birth with no interventions. At the end of the book there is also a section on what to expect post-birth and a bit about feeding and looking after baby too. If you want a good all rounder leaning towards a natural birth, then I 100% recommend this book!
Effective Birth Preparation – Maggie Howell
This is a book specifically about Natal Hypnotherapy, or Hypnobirthing if you prefer. There is a lot of background information about labour, the hormones and how to optimise those hormones etc. This book also explains how the process of birth has become so clinical over the years as medicine has progressed, which I found quite interesting. Throughout the book there are snippets of real life stories from mums who have used Natal Hypnotherapy for their labour. After all the background information, the book then moves on to the practical side of Hypnotherapy and how to apply it, alongside other coping techniques for labour and how to stay relaxed. I downloaded the Natal Hypnotherapy track that accompanies the book from iTunes, although you don’t necessarily have to if you read the book and feel you can put yourself into a “trance” without being guided. I’ve listened to the track quite a few times from about 28 weeks onwards and plan to go back over the book and continue to listen to the track regularly up until I go into labour. I was quite dubious about Hypnotherapy to be completely honest, but this version isn’t that cheesy at all and the track is really good even just for relaxing for 30 minutes so it gets a thumbs up from me. Hopefully using the relaxation techniques will help during labour and the suggestion part of it might help me to avoid using any pain relief.
Your Baby: Week by Week – Simone Cave & Dr Caroline Fertleman
This one is obviously a baby book. It’s great in my opinion because it literally does go through every week from bringing your baby home and what you can expect. There’s also a “mum” part for each of the first few weeks which explains what you could be going through in the weeks after birth. The chapters cover feeding, sleeping, crying, nappy output and any other things like vaccinations that are due. Very straightforward and I think this book will be a good reference guide for us once Baby G is here because you can easily find the week you need if you’re in a rush.
First Time Parent – Lucy Atkins
Again, another baby book. This one is very modern with tons of glossy photos and a clear, friendly narrative. Rather than being set out into weeks like the book above, this book is divided into sections on different topics. Feeding, bathing, changing nappies, sleeping, playing… it’s all covered in here. It has everything in there for the first year or so, which means it mentions weaning and other parts of development that you can come to expect over the course of your baby’s first 12 months. Another good reference guide and the photos are really useful for things like changing a nappy!!
Baby-Led Breastfeeding – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett
I’ve only just purchased this one so can’t comment yet, but as I’m planning on breastfeeding I thought I would do a bit more reading on it. Breastfeeding isn’t really something you can “learn” from a book as it’s entirely unique and personal between the mum and baby, but this book covers quite a few FAQs and troubleshooting points, which I think I will find useful.
I also use the BabyCentre app and I love the weekly updates during pregnancy about baby’s development. The website is particularly useful for general questions about anything pregnancy related such as can I do xxx or can I eat xxx? There is also plenty of information on baby’s development once they’re born and even a slideshow of “nappy output” explaining what is normal and what should be questioned!!
I use the Ovia app to track my weight gain but I mainly like it for the weekly updates during pregnancy. It’s an American app so some of the info/advice isn’t quite accurate for the UK market but it has the best pictures/size comparisons of the (many) apps I’ve downloaded! This is the one with the hand size compared to baby at 40 weeks so you can easily see how well baby is growing.