Below is my list of resources – books, DVDs, CDs – available for clients to borrow, and descriptions. If you have a question please ask, as I have many evidence-based research articles I can share with you.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
My fave childbirth book ever! First half is filled with empowering birth stories and for many women has totally turned around fears and negated all that societal mis-information about birth. Second half has research based info on what you really need to know about your body and labour – the forgotten, empowering info you don’t hear about in our society unless you really search it out. Most interventions aren’t even discussed which is why I like my clients to pair this with the Dahl book for a balance of a deep knowing of our power and modern day procedures. But if a woman tells me she’ll only read 1 book this is the one.
Birthing From Within by Pam England & Rob Horowitz
What I call the third trilogy in really preparing for birth. Not too much about hospital procedures because it really focuses on the emotional / spiritual preparation for both parents-to-be. This work literally changed the face of birthing in North America. Great info about how our non-physical selves affect the process (>95% in my humble opinion), how to uncover some of our beliefs and work toward really feeling confident. (Pam did The Elk & the Epidural DVD and we get the ice-cube exercise from her teachings.)
Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets by Gail Dahl
A best-seller to help you prepare for a positive childbirth in any setting. Kind of like a non-scary, empowering version of What to Expect. (That book scared the crap out of me while pregnant!) Laid out month-by-month. Packed full of info and includes sections on preparing for birth, every pregnancy issue and intervention I can think of, extensive sections on breastfeeding and baby-care. An example of some of the top secrets for childbirth: Go in with a plan for pain. There is much more to know than breathing. Her book lists over thirty methods to help reduce pain during labor.
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Zand & Rountree
It’s the best kid-health book I know of from infancy right to teen years, and the only one you’ll need unless you plan to specialize in some aspect of kid-health. There are short sections on basic safety, nutrition, health etc. The bulk of the book is an alphabetical listing of specific illnesses and conditions – what it is, signs & symptoms, many ways to treat allopathically (i.e. Western medical style) and holistically (i.e. outside the medical model). Each illness has a “when to seek medical advice” paragraph, which I found quite reassuring as a new mom.
DVDs & CDs
Birth Day (DVD) by Naoli Vinaver Lopez (10min)
Natural home water birth, empowering, short, non-graphic; good one to show siblings-to-be. Naolí’s birth takes place at home with her husband and two children. It’s a touching and intimate account of natural birth, waterbirth and close family dynamics. The love and support Naolí receives gives her courage to labor uninhibited. Her children are present to receive their sister and be part of the process. She provides narration about what she was feeling and thinking during labor.
Birth with Gloria LeMay (DVD)
- 9 Homebirths without narration
- Same 9 Homebirths with commentary
- 30 min intact PSA featuring Dr. Dean Edell
- 25 min The Prepuce presentation by Doctors Opposing Circumcision. This is a film for medical students on the importance and function of the male foreskin.
It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth (DVD) (27min)
An educational DVD that tells the story of 7 mothers and their emotional journeys to natural childbirth. Partners express their fears and concerns, ultimately transforming as well.
The story is enhanced with footage of partners and the roles of various professional birth workers.
Pregnant in America¬ (DVD) by Steve Buonaugurio (106min) – (may be on Netflix)
A story about the institutionalization of birth in North America – kind of like Business of Being Born but more fun to watch; follows a couple from pregnancy to birth. Shocked by the greed of U.S. hospitals, insurance companies and medical organizations, Steve and his wife Mandy set out to create a natural home birth in a world where everything is anything but natural. The film is educational and entertaining and prepares excepting parent for their uncertain journey of being pregnant and having their baby.
The Birth of Sabine (DVD) by Andaluz Waterbirth Center (10min)
Sabine’s video shows the excitement and anticipation of a first pregnancy. Follow a couple from the positive pregnancy test, prenatal visits, to the unexpected surprise of her water breaking days before labor begins. They are shown making decisions and using natural methods of induction up until the day they are (gratefully!) in labor. Dad helps catch baby as she is born into the water and placed immediately on mamas chest.
What Babies Want (DVD) by Debby Takikawa and Noah Wyle (58min)
Mind blowing info about infant’s experience of pregnancy, birth and early childhood. This info changed my life. An award winning documentary that explores the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world. Filled with captivating stories and infused with Noah Wyle’s warmth as narrator, the film demonstrates how life patterns are established at birth and before. It includes information on early development as well as appearances by experts: babies and families.
The Elk and the Epidural (DVD) by Pam England of Birthing From Within (15min)
Discusses pros and cons, when use is appropriate, and how to support a family if epidurals are used. Candid info not presented by mainstream medicine, research based. Illustrates the truthful and typical experience of labor with an epidural. Parents learn about the advantages, disadvantages, and the cascade of medical support that accompanies epidurals. The message to parents is to develop and maintain a solution-focused, non-judgmental mindset, so that if an epidural (or any medical support) becomes necessary, they can stay present emotionally and spiritually for the birth of their child.
Gentle Birth Choices (DVD) by Barbara Harper (55min)
Blends interviews of midwives and physicians with footage of six different birth experiences–including a home birth, waterbirths, vaginal birth after a prior Cesarean section, and birth with other children present. The DVD vividly demonstrates the strength of women during childbirth and the healthy and happy outcome of women exercising gentle birth choices. It is a moving and powerful instructional tool, not only for expectant parents, but also for midwives, hospitals, birth centers, and doctors. This remarkable production combines art, education, and politics.
Giving Birth (DVD) by Susanne Arms (35min)
Lots of info about how nature equips us to handle labour and have a safe birth. Lots of great info about how hormones work in labour – every woman should know this. NOTE: Research done on Giving Birth proved that this film is effective in lowering the level of fear of birth in men as well as women.
It shows the model for normal birth and why it is important for mothers and babies. It contrasts the two different models for birth ~ the medical model vs. the midwifery model and explains the risks of routine obstetric practices. You will learn what scientific evidence has discovered about birth and hear it from three obstetricians a labor and delivery nurse, and a doula. You will learn why doulas are important if you birth in a hospital. You will also hear from a mother post-Caesarean and watch two (non-graphic) births. You will experience a woman giving birth in her own home, attended by a midwife, and see images of a water birth. This video explores common misconceptions about pain in labor, epidural anesthesia, cesarean, and many routine hospital procedures. Giving Birth presents what midwifery care is all about.
Birth As We Know It (DVD) by Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova (75min)
Variety of births clips in a variety of settings; watch as many or as few as you wish. This movie features eleven natural births, including home birth, water birth, twins, breech delivery and self-birth. Also featured are informative interviews on topics rarely discussed, such as the Sexuality of Childbirth, Circumcision and Limbic Imprinting, and conveys its message in a non-intrusive way.
Giving Birth & Being Born (DVD) (20min)
Shows 4 natural births in a European birth centre, in variety of positions. The women use a variety of equipment, including birth ball, wall mounted ladder, rope, stool and mats to increase their comfort, with their partners offering support and encouragement. There is no commentary, just simple music to underpin the visuals and a very few sub titles to explain what is being said by the midwives and women. Bonus (36 minutes) offers an explanation of the basics of the birth process, using video animation and short clips from Part 1 to illustrate the various topics.
Business of Being Born (DVD) by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein – (May be on NETFLIX)
A documentary story about the institutionalization and financial business of birth in North America. This film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and disturbing statistics about the U.S. maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal. The filmmakers ask: Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?
Orgasmic Birth (DVD)
Yup – just like it sounds. A documentary about medicalization of births and how well women can cope in the right circumstances. Examines the intimate nature of birth and the powerful role it plays in women’s lives when they are permitted to experience it fully. This documentary asks viewers to re-examine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds. Undisturbed birth is revealed as an integral part of women’s sexuality and a widely neglected human right. Couples share their birth experiences, discussing their fears and how they found the support, nurturing, and ultimately the power and strength within themselves to labor and birth their babies in a beautiful, loving, and ecstatic way.
Relaxation, Rhythm, Ritual: The 3 Rs of Childbirth (DVD) by Penny Simkin (15min)
Penny shares 23 “scenes” from the labors and births of 10 women, illustrating with moving examples what she often refers to as “The 3 Rs of Childbirth: Relaxation, Rhythm, and Ritual.” Watching these different women and their unique responses to contractions as they progress from early labor to birth will inspire women looking forward to birth.
Reducing Infant Mortality and Improving the Health of Babies (DVD) (17min)
Free viewing at http://www.reducinginfantmortality.com/ Listen to Obstetricians, Doulas, Neonatologists, Midwives, Psychologists, Pediatricians, and other Physicians explain how our health care system is failing babies and mothers and what we can do about it. This film is a tool for everyone to use to draw attention to infant mortality and infant and maternal health issues as national health care policy is debated on Capitol Hill.
First Hour of Life (DVD) by Marshall Klaus (33min)
Dr. Marshall Klaus has studied infant bonding and newborns for over forty years. He, along with John Kennell, introduced the Doula concept into mainstream US medical practice. Now, filmmakers from Italy have combined an interview with Dr. Klaus and footage from four (Italian) home births in a profound and simple video which should be required viewing for all parents, obstetricians, nurses, and childbirth educators.
Kangaroo Mother Care I & II (DVD) by Nils Bergman, MD
KMC I – Rediscover the natural way to care for your newborn baby (26min)
This video summarizes the latest research to prove that the newborn thrives best on his mother’s chest, where the temperature is perfectly controlled all the time. How to wrap the baby to mother’s chest is also shown. Kangaroo Care is for all newborn babies, but especially premature ones. Dads can do it too! This is the “How-To” video. Kangaroo Mother Care enables the baby to relax, and improve the heart rate and the body temperature. Breastfeeding is an essential and natural part of Kangaroo Care.
KMC II – Restoring the original paradigm for infant care and breastfeeding (52min)
This comprehensive, expanded video is instruction for health professionals who support the maternal/newborn dyad. Dr. Bergman clearly and simply presents what happens to a human newborn when separated from the mother. His own research plus >200 studies shows many benefits to the newborn in skin to skin care.
Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding (DVD) (45min)
Simple reassuring info about breastfeeding. This is a no-nonsense approach to baby-led breastfeeding. It illustrates the numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, including detailed reviews on the importance of colostrum, proper latching techniques, latching the baby who does not yet latch, and how to treat the colicky baby by changing milk flow.
- How to know if baby is getting enough milk
- Breast compressions
- Avoiding sore nipples
- How to get a baby to latch
- Colicky babies
- How to increase baby’s intake of breastmilk
- Risks of formula
- Using a lactation aid
Baby-Led Breastfeeding (DVD) by Christina Smillie (16min)
This film shows mothers learning to breastfeed naturally, by letting their babies show them how. Human babies are already hardwired to seek out and find the breast at birth and this film shows babies instinctively finding the nipple. The film includes babies of various ages with a variety of breastfeeding challenges. In this video we see just how babies can do it, when we get out of the babies’ way.
Prenatal Yoga (DVD) by Shiva Rea
Learn poses for each trimester. DVD includes:
- Calming meditation and deep breathing
- Gentle workout with seated poses, standing poses and floor work
- Guided relaxation
Postnatal Yoga (DVD) by Shiva Rea Reconnect with your strength, your energy and your pre-pregnancy shape and lifestyle through warmth, guidance and inspiration of instructor Shiva Rea. Post-pregnancy is a most important time for a woman to regain her physical strength and stamina. This gentle program focuses on moves and exercises that help alleviate the stress incurred by giving birth.
Happiest Baby on the Block (DVD) by Dr. Harvey Karp (128min)
Note: I haven’t watched this yet so can’t share an opinion. It was donated by a client who highly recommends it. Aimed to help soothe most of baby’s cries in seconds…plus add 1-3 hours to tot’s sleep! Parents master these fun tips best by watching. Then, after they you get good at switching-on your baby’s amazing calming reflex, Dr. Harvey Karp, noted pediatrician and child development expert, reveals the amazing secret reflux that literally is ‘THE OFF SWITCH” for baby’s crying! Learn the 5 simple ways to turn on the calming reflex (the 5S’s).
Babies Know… Seven Principles of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology (DVD) (20 min)
Seven Principles of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology is all about infant consciousness from the moment of conception through birth, and the significance of our first experiences after birth on development. Becoming aware of this level of consciousness can have a profound impact on our babies being born today, as well as people of any age investigating how experiences from within the womb and birth have impacted the overall experience of being human.
Trauma, Brain & Relationship – Helping Children Heal (DVD) (30min)
This documentary is an overview to help those who care about children recognize, prevent and heal psychological trauma. Internationally and nationally recognized authorities who work with children and teenagers in the field of emotional trauma offer insight and information about the origins of relationship/developmental problems, as well as problems associated with PTSD later in life. A central message of the documentary is that even though psychological trauma often goes unrecognized in children, emotional trauma is very responsive to relational repair. It clarifies such points as the difference between emotional trauma and emotional stress.
Your Body, Your Birth (CD) by Lynn Griesemer (78min)
Inspires, encourages and reveals secrets for a rewarding birth experience – one you can cherish for the rest of your life. This CD is about taking charge of your birth and your life. Topics include: exploitation in pregnancy and delivery; medical aspects of birth (drugs, safety, myths, technology); natural childbirth (definition, advantages, why we should avoid drugs at birth, why more people don’t aspire to natural childbirth); tips for a successful pregnancy and birth; how to make birth-related decisions that you feel comfortable with; goal setting; imagination; body image; human needs; what obstetricians will do for you; strategies for a satisfying birth.
Wondrous Beginnings (CD) by Wendy Anne McCarty (49min)
This audio CD is part of the What Babies Want Audio Lecture Series about the consciousness of infants. This CD offers insights into our spiritual nature, right from the beginning of life.
Dr. McCarty intertwines amazing new theories and findings with heart-warming healing stories of families who have come to her for guidance. This CD is especially encouraging and supportive of pregnant families and families with young children. Wendy leads us on an amazing journey through a new understanding of the consciousness of the infant. Her emphasis on scientific research does not contradict her deep spiritual understanding of what it is to be human. She presents ideas and stories pertaining to the process of coming into the world from preconception through early childhood.
Ancient Encoded Wisdom (CD) by Joseph Chilton Pearce (45min)
This audio CD is part of the What Babies Want Audio Lecture Series about the consciousness of infants. This CD offers insight into our birthing culture. Joseph Chilton Pearce offers us a clear, no-holds-barred look at the developmental needs of babies and children, and clearly spells out for us the roots of violence inherent in our birthing and parenting practices. He also offers simple and concise choices that we can make for positive change.