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Featured Books: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum

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Ancient Map for Modern Birth: Preparation, Passage, and Personal Growth During Your Childbearing Year. Pam England, $38.00

The integrative model of childbirth described in this book will provide women with the information needed to prepare for birth, how to think and feel about labor, and how to tell their story. During their childbearing year, women traverse two paths at once: an inner path of psychological and spiritual awareness and an outer path of practical approaches to birth in modern-day culture. The book combines scientific research with meditation, ceremony, art, and mythic stories, which not only prepares childbearing women to go beyond their edge into uncharted territory but to find their way home again. The underlying message throughout is not to strive for a perfect birth but to be mindful of the mythic journey, of all the mothers who have come before — an awareness that leads not only to the birth of a child but to the birth of a new self.

Awake at 3am: Yoga Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Pregnancy and Early Motherhood. Suzannah Neufeld, $24.95

Pregnancy and new motherhood are often thought of as the most joyful, exciting, and blissful times in your life — but they can also be difficult and overwhelming. Yoga therapy offers practical mind-body tools (simple breath, movement, and mindfulness practices) to support you and provide solace, steadiness, and ease in difficult times.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the number one “complication” of birth. They affect not just moms who suffer, but also the families who care about and rely on those moms. More than twice as many moms suffer from PMADs as gestational diabetes. Yet while robust support and treatment options exist for diabetes, moms who suffer emotionally are rarely acknowledged. Instead of receiving help, they are handed platitudes like “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” “Let go of stress because it’s bad for the baby,” or “Just enjoy every minute because it goes by so fast.” This can be a lonely and confusing place to be — suffering profound fear or sadness at a time when your friends and family expect you to be happy, radiant, and beatifically calm.

As a therapist supporting women's mental health and those recovering from perinatal mood disorders and trauma since 2003, Suzannah Neufeld is keenly aware of the special needs of women during pregnancy and the first year of motherhood. Synthesizing modern psychotherapeutic research with practical yoga therapy, Neufeld offers a compassionate, acceptance-based approach that meets women (and their partners) wherever they are.

Awake at 3 a.m. contains short, digestible chapters that are perfect for when you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. Neufeld skillfully dismantles the myths and internal beliefs that contribute to the suffering of new mothers, and tells her own story with honesty and humor. The yoga practices are designed to fit into your life as it is now — no flexibility, mat, special clothes, or 90-minute yoga class required.

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Bed Rest Mom: Surviving Pregnancy-Related Bed Rest with Your Sanity and Dignity Intact. Cynthia Lockrey, $18.95

Bed Rest Mom is a support book to help pregnant women navigate the emotions, isolation and uncertainty that comes with home or hospital based bed rest, written by a mom who survived both types of bed rest with two pregnancies.

Better Food for Pregnancy: Nutrition Guide Plus Over 125 Recipes for Healthy Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Daina Kalnins & Joanne Saab, $27.95

Pregnancy is not a time for guesswork about nutrition. Expecting women have specific nutritional needs and will find it useful to have a sensible guide to this vital information.

BETTER FOOD FOR PREGNANCY is that guide. Written by experts on staff at the renowned Hospital for Sick Children, this book is comprehensive and authoritative. The first half of the book addresses:

  • nutritional needs before conception and during each trimester
  • how a mother's diet affects growth of the fetus
  • healthy weight gains through each trimester
  • nutritional supplements including vitamins, minerals, and herbs
  • effects of particular foods, such as coffee, un-pasteurized cheeses & alcohol
  • increased nutrient requirements needed during lactation

The second half of the book features 125 recipes ideally suited to expectant mothers. Each recipe has a complete nutrient analysis plus there are handy meal plans and Snacks on the Go that help prevent nausea and vomiting. Every page of the nutrition section is packed with tips, sidebars, recommendations, and common-sense guidelines presented in easy-to-use tables and charts.

Birth In Focus: Stories and Photos to Inform, Educate and Inspire. Becky Reedhiller, $33.00

Birth In Focus offers the reader a chance to see birth made real. Water birth, breech birth, twin birth, Caesarean birth — all are shown in ‘photo stories’, with accompanying text written both by the woman and her midwife, and sometimes also the partner or a child who was present. Clear images of the birth process provide an excellent educational tool for students, as well as offering inspiration to those who may not have had the opportunity to see birth in this way. A chapter on reflection points for practitioners will help professionals and birth supporters explore further the issues highlighted in the individual stories.

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Birth Matters: a Midwife’s Manifesta.  Ina May Gaskin, $18.95

In BIRTH MATTERS, America’s best-known midwife, Ina May Gaskin, reminds us that the ways in which women experience birth have implications for us all. Renewing confidence in a woman’s natural ability to birth provides transformative possibilities for individual families, and for society at large.

BIRTH MATTERS is a spirited manifesta showing us how to trust women, value birth, nurture families and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species.

The Birth Partner: a Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions, 5th Edition. Penny Simkin, with Katie Rohs, $25.99

Now fully revised in its fifth edition, The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide to helping a woman through labor and birth, and the essential manual to have at hand during the event. For the partner who wishes to be truly helpful in the birthing room, this book is indispensable. The Birth Partner includes thorough information on:

  • Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun
  • Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way
  • Epidurals and other medications for labor
  • Pitocin and other means, including natural ones, to induce or speed up labor
  • Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain
  • Cesarean birth and complications that may require it
  • Breastfeeding and newborn care
  • and much more

Birth & Sex: the Power and the Passion. Sheila Kitzinger, $229.95

Birth and sex are often talked about as if they were contrasting experiences. In fact, they each involve the same rush of hormones in an action drama in which mind and body work in harmony.  In this compelling and controversial new book Sheila Kitzinger explores the complexity and depth of female sexuality during pregnancy, birth, and after the baby comes. She shows what can be done to create an environment in which a woman is able to trust her instincts and be confident in her body. By rediscovering the power and passion in our bodies, we can reclaim the spontaneity and sexual ecstasy of childbirth.

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Birthing In Good Hands: Holistic Massage for Pregnancy, Labor, and Babies. Christine Sutherland, $39.95

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of promise, but most women could do without symptoms such as back pain, headaches, nausea, and swollen feet — luckily, many of these conditions can be treated with massage. Touch has the power to heal, calm, and nurture relationships.

Christine Sutherland, co-founder of the Sutherland-Chan School and Teaching Clinic, teaches the basics of prenatal massage for healthy pregnancies. From the first trimester to postpartum recovery, Christine’s healing methods will help moms-to-be through every stage of pregnancy, including childbirth and breastfeeding. There’s even a chapter on the basics of baby massage, which new parents, grandparents, and siblings can use to relieve common infant conditions and bond with the new child.

Hundreds of photos and illustrations clearly illustrate techniques that even beginners can master. Christine also includes real-life stories that showcase how the power of massage helped women through their own pregnancy journeys.

If your partner or loved one is expecting, this book is for you.

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, 2nd Edition. Nancy Mohrbacher & Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, $27.95

This second edition of BREASTFEEDING MADE SIMPLE is a comprehensive resource that offers effective and common-sense techniques and wonderful insights into the baby's needs. Understanding how breastfeeding works will help you to overcome challenges such as low milk production, breast refusal, pain and weaning problems and other obstacles that can keep you from enjoying breastfeeding your baby. Highly recommended by mothers, lactation consultants and other breastfeeding experts.

Breastfeeding Solutions: Quick Tips for the Most Common Nursing Challenges. Nancy Mohrbacher, $22.50

As a busy mom, you probably don’t have time to read long-winded books and manuals. You want quick, practical solutions. BREASTFEEDING SOLUTIONS is the ultimate easy-to-read guide for mothers who are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding. The line drawings, bulleted lists, tables, charts, and other visual aids included in this book make it easy for you to quickly find the breastfeeding solutions you need without wading through hundreds of pages of text. In the book, you will learn how to overcome challenges such as pain, lack of milk expression, pumping, and weaning, so that you can give your baby the best start in life possible. After all, breastfeeding is the most inexpensive gift you can give to help ensure your baby grows into a healthy, happy adult.

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Breastfeeding Uncovered: Who Really Decides How We Feed Our Babies? Amy Brown, $22.95

Across the world mothers are urged to breastfeed, but in Western society many find this a difficult task. Those who stop can feel demoralised and unsure as to why such a desired, encouraged and biologically normal behaviour can appear so challenging in reality. Breastfeeding Uncovered examines why this continues to happen, revealing how complex social and cultural messages work against new mothers, damaging the normal physiology of breastfeeding and making it seem unmanageable.

Dr Brown removes the focus from the mother and instead urges society to rethink its attitude towards breastfeeding and mothering and instead to support, encourage and protect mothers to feed their babies. This book is for anyone who has ever struggled with breastfeeding, supported new mothers or just wondered what all the fuss is about. Most of all it is a must read for anyone who has ever thought a breastfeeding mother should cover up, or feed her baby elsewhere.

A Bun In the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization. Barbara Katz Rothman, $38.95

There are people dedicated to improving the way we eat, and people dedicated to improving the way we give birth.  A Bun in the Oven is the first comparison of these two social movements.  The food movement has seemingly exploded,  but little has changed in the diet of most Americans.  And while there’s talk of improving the childbirth experience, most births happen in large hospitals, about a third result in C-sections, and the US does not fare well in infant or maternal outcomes.

In A Bun in the Oven Barbara Katz Rothman traces the food and the birth movements through three major phases over the course of the 20th century in the United States: from the early 20th century era of scientific management; through to the consumerism of Post World War II with its ‘turn to the French’ in making things gracious; to the late 20th century counter-culture midwives and counter-cuisine cooks.  The book explores the tension throughout all of these eras between the industrial demands of mass-management and profit-making, and the social movements — composed largely of women coming together from very different feminist sensibilities — which are working to expose the harmful consequences of industrialization, and make birth and food both meaningful and healthy.

Katz Rothman, an internationally recognized sociologist named ‘midwife to the movement’ by the Midwives Alliance of North America, turns her attention to the lessons to be learned from the food movement, and the parallel forces shaping both of these consumer-based social movements.  In both movements, issues of the natural, the authentic, and the importance of ‘meaningful’ and ‘personal’ experiences get balanced against discussions of what is sensible, convenient and safe.  And both movements operate in a context of commercial and corporate interests, which places profit and efficiency above individual experiences and outcomes. A Bun in the Oven brings new insight into the relationship between our most intimate, personal experiences, the industries that control them, and the social movements that resist the industrialization of life and seek to change birth. 

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Conceiving Healthy Babies: an Herbal Guide to Support Preconception, Pregnancy, and Lactation. Dawn Combs, $24.95

Healthy babies don't just happen. The lifestyle of the prospective parents is a crucial factor in promoting fertility and ensuring a successful pregnancy. But the average North American diet is saturated with processed foods, and environmental toxins are rampant — we must take responsibility for what we put into and onto our bodies to create optimum conditions for the childbearing year. Drawing on the author's own personal triumph over infertility, Conceiving Healthy Babies is a unique herbal guide geared to helping couples achieve balance in preconception, pregnancy, lactation and beyond.

Confident Birth. Susanna Heli, $20.95

Women have an innate ability to give birth, a knowledge that has been acquired through thousands of years of evolution. Yet all too often fear and stress can get in the way and block the natural process of childbirth.

In this inspiring new book, Susanna Heli, an experienced doula and physiotherapist, shows how childbirth can be transformed by understanding how fear can affect birth and how it is possible to overcome it by using four simple, dynamic and effective tools to rediscover the inner power to give birth. The tools are equally effective whichever type of birth you choose, and whether or not you have given birth before. The book also offers practical advice to help the birth partner support the labouring woman. CONFIDENT BIRTH will give you and your birth partner all the tools you need to cope with the challenges of childbirth, and make it an empowering and positive experience.

The Diaper Diary (Diapers of the Breastfed Baby). Kay Hoover & Barbara Wilson-Clay, $22.95/pad (pad has 50 tear-off sheets)

The Diaper Diary (Diapers of the Breastfed Baby) is a hand-out for nursing mothers that shows the changes in the stool of a breastfeeding infant during the first week postpartum. It also contains photos of stools that indicate a need for follow up with a mother’s health care provider. The text is written at a 4th grade reading level. The reverse side provides a log for recording the number of stools and wet diapers on a daily basis for the first week postpartum. Each Diaper Diary pad has 50 tear-off sheets with photos on the front and an easy-to-use log form on the back.

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Dissident Doctor: Catching Babies and Challenging the Medical Status Quo. Michael Klein, Foreword by Penny Simkin, $32.95

How often do you hear a doctor saying doctors need to be more accountable, Medicare needs more support and family medicine deserves more respect? Dissident Doctor bristles with refreshingly frank criticisms from inside the health sector, and its author is not just any doctor but a distinguished scientific researcher, veteran medical administrator, Professor Emeritus, recipient of the Order of Canada and lifelong gadfly.

In Dissident Doctor, Michael Klein intersperses fascinating tales of individual cases with formative elements of his personal life. As the son of American left-wing activists, he grew up singing folk songs about justice and racial equality; as a young doctor his refusal to serve as a military physician during the Vietnam War prompted his immigration to Canada. His early experience working with midwives in Ethiopia — delivering babies using techniques for natural pain relief and without routine episiotomy — were formative, leading him to question many standard but unjustified procedures in Western maternity care. He made many unconventional decisions as a result of his focus on humane medicine, transitioning from a specialization in pediatrics and newborn care to become a family physician, and embracing midwifery before it was approved in Canada. Klein’s determination in the face of great opposition, the strength of his convictions, and his humility and sense of humour drive this powerful story of a life and career dedicated to his patients and his principles.

Dynamic Positions in Birth: a Fresh Look at How Women's Bodies Work in Labour. Margaret Jowitt, $22.95

Most women give birth in hospitals, institutions modelled around the needs of the people who work there. The delivery room is designed around the obstetric bed which was designed for the benefit of the obstetrician rather than the woman giving birth. Despite research showing the benefit of upright positions in labour and birth, many women still give birth in the semi-reclined position, pushing their baby out against the forces of gravity. The author argues that unnatural positions make labour and birth more painful and difficult for modern women than it was for their ancestors. How did we come to put the needs of care givers above those of the labouring woman? Is there anything that can be done?

Starting with a short history of birth furniture, Dynamic Positions in Birth goes on to explore the anatomy and physiology of labour from an evolutionary perspective and explores how rethinking positions for labour and birth could benefit mothers and their babies. Equally important is the need to change attitudes to birth so that women are encouraged to play a more active part in the birth of their babies instead of being subjected to clinical interventions designed to mitigate the adverse effects of labouring in a starkly unnatural environment.

Margaret Jowitt argues that it is possible to give women labouring in hospital a better chance of giving birth naturally. The book concludes by calling for a fresh look at the environment for birth. Delivery rooms can be made more user friendly by introducing  furniture designed around women’s need for physical support during labour as well as for the birth, and by hiding away  the more alarming technology unless it is needed. Women need a less forbidding environment and more encouragement to move freely and adopt positions  which will enhance their chance of achieving a normal birth.

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Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong — and What You Really Need to Know. Emily Oster, $23.00

Numbers are not subject to someone else’s interpretation — math doesn’t lie. Economist Emily Oster set out to inform parents-to-be about the truth of pregnancy using the most up-to-date data so that they can make the best decisions for their pregnancies. The results she found were often very surprising.  

Oster debunks the myths of pregnancy using her particular mode of critical thinking: economics, the study of how we get what we want. Oster knows that the value of anything — home, an amniocentesis — is in the eyes of the informed beholder, and like any complicated endeavor, pregnancy is not a one-size-fits-all affair. And yet medicine often treats it as such. EXPECTING BETTER presents the hard facts and real-world advice you’ll need. Any expectant mother knows that the health of her baby is paramount, but she will be less anxious and better able to enjoy a healthy pregnancy if she is informed... and can have the occasional glass of wine.  

The First Forty Days: the Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. Heng Ou, with Amely Greeven & Marisa Belger, $31.95

The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. Based on author Heng Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of “confinement,” in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth.

As modern mothers are pushed to prematurely “bounce back” after delivering their babies, and are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this new stage of their lives, the first forty days provide a lifeline — a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance. The book includes 60 simple recipes for healing soups; replenishing meals and snacks; and calming and lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother. In addition to the recipes, this warm and encouraging guide offers advice on arranging a system of help during the post­partum period, navigating relationship challenges, and honoring the significance of pregnancy and birth.

The First Forty Days, fully illustrated to feel both inspiring and soothing, is a practical guide and inspirational read for all new mothers and mothers-to-be — the perfect ally during the first weeks with a new baby.

A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound In Your Birth Experience. Anne Drapkin Lyerly, $19.00

Drawing on a landmark study involving more than one hundred pregnant women and mothers, a renowned OB/GYN synthesizes the secrets to a good birth — medically and emotionally.

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Great Expectations: Twenty-Five True Stories about Childbirth. Edited by Dede Crane & Lisa Moore, $14.95

In this exceptional collection of original essays, twenty-five celebrated writers share one of their most intimate and life-changing experiences: giving birth. Moving, uniquely honest, and transformative, Great Expectations takes the reader on an emotional and physical journey like no other: Lynn Coady relates the painful memory of her teenage pregnancy and the anguish of having to give up her newborn for adoption; Peter Behrens expresses a father’s feeling of utter helplessness and incomparable joy during the birth of his first child; Christy Ann Conlin describes pregnancy and birth at age forty; Afua Cooper reflects upon the immigrant’s experience of three pregnancies and childbirths in a new land with foreign, and evolving, customs; Anne Fleming contemplates her partner’s artificial insemination and the birth of a beautiful girl; and Jaclyn Moriarty transcribes her grandmother’s and her mother’s birth stories, along with her own, to create a tender oral history, spanning three generations.

Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine. Stacey Marie Kerr, $21.95

HOMEBIRTH IN THE HOSPITAL is a wonderful blend of birth-stories, compassionate and inspiring ideas and woman-centered care. This book demonstrates what is possible when caregivers and clients work together to honour the birthing process.

In the Spirit of Homebirth: Modern Women, an Ancient Choice. Edited by Bronwyn Preece, $18.95

This collection of stories that celebrate the beauty and power of giving birth comes from women of indigenous communities, of diverse socioeconomic classes and religions, in urban and rural settings. Partners describe the awe of watching a loved one bring new life into the world, children write sweetly about getting a baby brother or sister, and midwives and doulas tell us what it is like to aid women on their journeys.

In the Spirit of Homebirth presents birth as a physical action as well as a sacred act, an expression of deep love and of belief in the power of the human spirit. Homebirth is a choice, and In the Spirit of Homebirth tells us why women from all walks of life and their families make this choice today when they have the right to give birth as they wish. In the Spirit of Homebirth presents homebirth, not as an archaic practice but as a remarkably contemporary expression of a long tradition and a profoundly empowering and joyous event.

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Indigenous Experiences of Pregnancy and Birth. Edited by Hannah Tait Neufeld & Jaime Cidro, $34.95

Traditional midwifery, culture, customs, understandings, and meanings surrounding pregnancy and birth are grounded in distinct epistemologies and worldviews that have sustained Indigenous women and their families since time immemorial. Years of colonization, however, have impacted the degree to which women have choice in the place and ways they carry and deliver their babies. As nations such as Canada became colonized, traditional gender roles were seen as an impediment. The forced rearrangement of these gender roles was highly disruptive to family structures. Indigenous women quickly lost their social and legal status as being dependent on fathers and then husbands. The traditional structures of communities became replaced with colonially informed governance, which reinforced patriarchy and paternalism. The authors in this book carefully consider these historic interactions and their impacts on Indigenous women’s experiences.

As the first section of the book describes, pregnancy is a time when women reflect on their bodies as a space for the development of life. Foods prepared and consumed, ceremony and other activities engaged in are no longer a focus solely for the mother, but also for the child she is carrying. Authors from a variety of places and perspectives thoughtfully express the historical along with contemporary forces positively and negatively impacting prenatal behaviours and traditional practices.

Place and culture in relation to birth are explored in the second half of the book from locations in Canada such as Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Aotearoa. The reclaiming and revitalization of birthing practices along with rejuvenating forms of traditional knowledge form the foundation for exploration into these experiences from a political perspective. It is an important part of decolonization to acknowledge policies such as birth evacuation as being grounded

in systemic racism. The act of returning birth to communities and revitalizing Indigenous prenatal practices are affirmation of sustained resilience and strength, instead of a one-sided process of reconciliation.

Interrogating Pregnancy Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth. Edited by Emily Lind & Angie Deveau, $34.95

Feminist theories of the body, reproduction, and the institution of motherhood typically focus on issues of rights, autonomy, and choice. These themes become increasingly complicated when applied to questions of reproductive loss. Interrogating Reproductive Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth contains essays, short stories, and artwork that imagine a feminist epistemology of loss.

Whereas biomedical and feminist literature treat abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth as differently conceptualized events, this collection explores the connections between these three categories. How have feminist debates and strategies around reproductive choice invigorated the cultural conversation about miscarriage, and stillbirth? How can we imagine more nuanced engagements with the spectrum of experiences that are at stake when a pregnancy ends? And how can we effectively create a space where women are given the opportunities to “identify and ‘own’” (Cosgrove 2004) the ways that loss makes meaning for those who grieve and/or celebrate the end of pregnancy?

It’s My Body, My Baby, My Birth: a Film about Natural Childbirth. Wisewoman Childbirth Traditions, $13.95 (DVD format, 27 minutes)

An educational birth film that tells the story of seven mothers and their emotional journeys to natural childbirth. Beautifully filmed, the DVD presents the views and experiences of mothers, their partners (including one lesbian couple), midwives, an obstetrician and a childbirth educator. Each woman’s story is unique and powerful. Pain, safety and fear are all addressed in this compelling film.

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Living Colours. Anne Curtis, $25.00

This beautiful anatomy colouring book was created by a midwifery student. A perfect gift for anyone amazed by the beauty of human development.

Mama Midwife: a Birth Adventure. Christy Tyner, $18.95

Join Miso the Mouse and her friends on a hip and tender birth adventure with Miso’s mother — a hard working midwife.

Mama, Talk about When Max Was Born. Toni Olson, illustrated by S. Marie Carlson, $24.95

This sweet picture book tells the story of Max’s birth, which takes place at home in water. Max’s older sister likes to hear about when Mama first learned she was pregnant, about visiting the midwives, about preparing for Max’s arrival, and about the birth itself.

Maternity Rolls: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Disability. Heather Kuttai, $18.95

Heather Kuttai, a spinal cord injured mother of two, has written a beautiful, poignant and insightful book that will challenge readers to rethink their preconceived and socially accepted notion of what it means to live with a disability — and what it means to become a mother.

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Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, the Body and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond. Nancy Bardacke, $24.99

With MINDFUL BIRTHING, Nancy Bardacke, nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher, lays out her innovative program for pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, mindfulness meditation, and mind/body medicine, Bardacke offers practices that will help you find calm and ease during this life-changing time, providing lifelong skills for healthy living and wise parenting.

Mindful Pregnancy & Birth: Nurturing Love and Awareness. Riga Forbes, $16.99

Focusing on the entire journey; from pregnancy through to early parenthood, this guide to living mindfully for expectant mothers helps prepare you for birth and improve your wellbeing with the ancient practice of mindfulness. When we talk about making something, it usually refers to creating, manipulating, or forming a material. In pregnancy, our bodies are wrapped up in doing all of these things at once, and on a grand scale. But in the act of making space in ourselves through mindfulness, none of these things apply. In Mindful Pregnancy & Birth we engage in an act of "not doing". Of not changing, but of simply "being" in the experience of ourselves. Pregnancy is a phase in which to reconcile what has been, with what will become. It is a process, a time of change, and even more so for a first-time mother. It is a recognition of our dreams for the future being in transit, in gestation, in the making.

Natural Hospital Birth: the Best of Both Worlds, 2nd Edition. Cynthia Gabriel, $25.99

Many mothers-to-be find themselves torn between choosing a natural childbirth with minimal medical intervention, and the peace of mind offered by instant access to life-saving technology that only a hospital can provide. Cynthia Gabriel, a doula who has attended hundreds of births and who advises hospitals on how to facilitate low-intervention childbirths, knows that new moms can have both. In Natural Hospital Birth, Gabriel gives moms, as well as partners and even medical personnel, concise and reassuring guidance on how to have as natural a birth as possible in a hospital setting.

Gabriel shows expectant mothers how to avoid unnecessary medical interventions, how to take the initiative and consciously prepare for the kind of birth they want, and how to prepare a birth plan to share with doctors and nurses at the hospital.

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Nurture: a Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood — and Trusting Yourself and Your Body. Erica Chidi Cohen, $26.95

Author Erica Chidi Cohen is a birth and postpartum doula, assisting families through labour and the transition into parenting. Her book, Nurture, is an all-in-one pregnancy and birthing book for modern mothers-to-be and their partners who want a more integrative approach.

This beautiful and comprehensive pregnancy companion covers everything from the beginning months of pregnancy to the baby's first weeks. Including supportive and encouraging self-care and mindfulness exercises along with more than 40 charming and helpful illustrations, here's everything a modern mama would want to know: fetal development, nutrition support for every month of pregnancy, making birth choices, the basics of breastfeeding, and more.

Nurturing New Families: a Guide to Supporting Parents. Naomi Kemeny, $19.95

Supporting a family in the days and weeks after a baby is born is a precious gift indeed — as the mother recovers her strength and responds to her baby's needs, the care of a postnatal doula, friend or family member can be invaluable.

In this guide to warm, mother- and- baby-centred postnatal care, Naomi Kemeny draws on her wealth of experience as a midwife, children's nurse and postnatal doula to explain in detail how to 'mother the mother' — by listening to what she needs and supporting her as she adapts to her new role. This insightful book is both a useful guide to the work of a postnatal doula, and a must-read for anyone wanting to help a new family cope with those intense yet magical early days with a newborn.

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives. Annie Murphy Paul, $17.00

What makes us the way we are? Some say it's the genes we inherit at conception. Others are sure it's the environment we experience in childhood. But could it be that many of our individual characteristics — our health, our intelligence, our temperaments — are influenced by the conditions we encountered before birth?

That's the claim of an exciting and provocative field known as fetal origins. Over the past twenty years, scientists have been developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us from infancy well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life.

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Oxytocin: the Biological Guide to Motherhood. Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg, $39.95

What role does oxytocin play in the many changes that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding designed to make mothers better mothers? How does birth, breastfeeding, and skin-to-skin contact affect oxytocin release? How do birth interventions — epidurals, Caesarean sections, oxytocin infusions, and medications — impact oxytocin release? And how does oxytocin release (or lack of) impact the mother and baby?

After many years of researching oxytocin, author, physician, and researcher Dr. Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg presents compelling scientific data that demonstrates the important role oxytocin plays in motherhood. Dr. Uvnäs-Moberg describes how oxytocin helps mothers access an inborn female competence that helps them transition to motherhood and give birth more easily, feel better after birth, breastfeed with fewer problems, and establish a good connection with their children. She also explains the impact oxytocin release has on infants — helping them become better at handling stressful situations and impacting their future health.

This book provides scientific data to demonstrate that oxytocin plays an important role far beyond stimulation of uterine contractions during birth and milk ejection during breastfeeding. Anyone working with pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will find this book enlightening and thought-provoking. It will give you evidenced-based information to change practices to protect oxytocin release during birth and in the postpartum period and to better inform new mothers about the role oxytocin plays in pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding; the importance of natural birth, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding; and the impact of birth interventions.

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: the Complete Guide, 5th Edition. Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham & April Bolding, $27.95

This highly accessible and authoritative new edition of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn presents research-based information on all aspects of childbearing — from conception through early infancy. Well organized, it includes engaging photos, illustrations and boxed features that highlight important information and advice to help you make informed decisions about your care. With appendices that include footnotes and research references as well as a glossary and summaries of pain relief methods for labour, this is tremendously complete resource for expectant and new parents.

Regulating Infant Formula. George Kent, $20.50

Most of us assume that our government or some international agency is monitoring the quality of infant formula, but who is actually making sure the product helps to make our children as healthy as possible?

Manufacturers keep coming up with newer and more expensive versions of infant formula, but do we really know how they will affect children's health in the long-term? What consideration is given to the healthcare costs linked to different methods of feeding?

George Kent has been analyzing the policy issues surrounding children's nutrition for decades. Here he presents compelling evidence on issues surrounding infant formula regulation and identifies the systematic failures in the current regulation of infant formula. This book covers:

  • The regulatory framework
  • Formula's impact on health
  • The assumption of safety of infant formula
  • Outdated and counterfeit infant formula
  • Additives and Nutritional adequacy
  • Distribution by governments
  • Strengthening regulations and future research

If you are a parent trying to decide whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby, or if you are a healthcare provider who educates parents on feeding choices, you need to read this book.

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The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Preconception through Birth. Rachel Pepper, $24.50

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PREGNANCY FOR LESBIANS will guide you every step of the way, from your first ovulation kit right up through the first weeks after your baby's birth. This lively, easy-to-read guide is the first place to go for up-to-date information and sage advice on everything you need to know. New topics in this revised edition include:

  • Preconception planning for both singles and couples
  • Latest information on fertility drugs
  • Sex, desire, and self-esteem during pregnancy
  • Protecting your legal rights as a lesbian family
  • Negotiating family roles

Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting: Emotions, Mental Health, and Happiness Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Lucy Puryear, $19.95

Lucy Puryear is a practicing psychiatrist and a pioneering expert in women's reproductive mental health. Through engaging personal stories reflecting her own practice, she illuminates the little-discussed feelings that are virtually universal for pregnant women and explains exactly what is happening to your hormonal system. UNDERSTANDING YOUR MOODS WHEN EXPECTING gives readers the knowledge they need during this emotionally demanding time in their lives.

When the Bough Breaks: a Documentary about Postpartum Depression. $34.95

When The Bough Breaks is a feature length documentary about postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.  Narrated and Executive Produced by Brooke Shields, this shocking film uncovers this very public health issue which affects one in five new mothers after childbirth.

The film follows Lindsay Gerszt, a mother who has been suffering from PPD for six years. Lindsay agrees to let the cameras document her and give us an in depth look at her path to recovery. We meet women who have committed infanticide and families who have lost loved ones to suicide. When The Bough Breaks takes us on a journey to find answers and break the silence. 

When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy. Barbara Luke & Tamara Eberlein, $25.99

This practical, nutrition-based program has been used to lower the common complications of a multiple pregnancy, resulting in healthier babies.

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The Whole 9 Months: a Week-by-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start. Jennifer Lang, $22.50

The Whole 9 Months is your all-in-one pregnancy book to answer the questions you’ll have at every trimester. Through simple nutritional guidelines, up-to-date pregnancy research, and real mom-to-mom advice, you’ll discover how easy it can be to make good food choices for your body while growing a healthy, happy baby. This invaluable pregnancy nutritional guide contains:

  • Information on essential baby-building nutrients, daily consumption needs, and where to find them in foods
  • More than 100 quick and easy recipes for a variety of diets ― including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free ― with nutritional information for each recipe
  • Suggestions and swaps (and other helpful tricks) to combat nausea and cravings
  • Eating guides that outline what to eat (or not) while pregnant, best food choices if you have gestational diabetes, foods that stimulate breast milk production, and much more!

Why Human Rights In Childbirth Matter. Rebecca Schiller, $16.95

The human rights in childbirth movement is gathering pace and followers across the globe. From Venezuela to the UK, via America and Uganda, activists, midwives, mothers, doctors and lawyers are coming together to offer rights-based solutions to the problems in maternity care. Just what are human rights though? How do they apply to pregnancy and birth? What happens when dignity is absent? And how are innovators and educators using human rights principles to revolutionise care for the next generation of women?

Why Human Rights in Childbirth Matter will bust myths around human rights, explain what your rights in pregnancy and birth are, how caregivers can champion them and provide practical inspiration for mothers, caregivers and campaigners working to improve birth for all women across the world.

Why Perinatal Depression Matters. Mia Scotland, $16.95

You have probably heard of postnatal depression, but did you know that most cases of postnatal depression actually began in pregnancy? And did you know that postnatal depression is not caused by women’s hormones gone awry — that men are suffering postnatal and perinatal depression in larger and larger numbers too? This is why “postnatal depression” has now been renamed “perinatal depression”(‘peri’ means around, as in the word “perimeter”).

Why is the seemingly joyful event of new parenthood causing so much suffering? Depression seems to be related to the stresses that a modern couple undertakes when they have a baby. The lack of support, lack of celebration, overload of expectations, overwhelming responsibility, isolation, judgment, blaming by the media, tiredness, mixed messages, confusion, high expectations and lack of tender loving care serve to eventually break parents and their relationships. And when we break parents, we break a baby. Babies are our future, and if we break a baby, in the long run, we break society. Postnatal depression takes a high toll on society. Dealing effectively with perinatal depression is about valuing love, connection, calm and stillness, over and above productivity, achievement and acquisition.

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Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (Second Edition). Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English, $13.50

WITCHES, MIDWIVES & NURSES, first published by the Feminist Press in 1973, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic roots in witch-hunts. In this new edition, Ehrenreich and English add an entirely new section delving into the current fascination with and controversies about witches, exposing our fears and fantasies. They build on their classic exposé of the demonization of women healers, and the political and economic monopolization of medicine.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Revised 2010. La Leche League International, $29.00

Dedicated to supporting nursing and expectant mothers, the internationally respected La Leche League has set the standard for educating and empowering mothers for generations. Now their classic bestselling guide has been retooled, refocused, and updated for today’s mothers and lifestyles. Working mothers, stay-at-home moms, single moms, and mothers of multiples will all benefit from the book’s range of nursing advice, stories, and information—from preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy to feeding cues, from nursing positions to expressing and storing breast milk. With all-new photos and illustrations, this ultimate support bible offers professional and real-life wisdom and guidance on breastfeeding.

Your Best Pregnancy: the Ultimate Guide to Easing the Aches, Pains, and Uncomfortable Side Effects During Each Stage of Your Pregnancy. Jill Hoefs & Denise Jagroo, $23.95

Written by two physical therapists with over twenty years of combined experience helping women ease sore feet, aching backs, incessant peeing, and many other uncomfortable conditions, Your Best Pregnancy provides simple solutions and easy exercises to help women feel their best from head to toe. Through detailed photographs, illustrations, and down-to-earth advice that is both medically substantiated as well as easy to understand, you will learn how to:

  • Treat the most uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy, such as back and shoulder pain, bladder issues, night cramps, sciatica, swelling, and varicose veins.
  • Maintain a healthy pregnancy, even while on bed rest.
  • Correctly strengthen the pelvic floor and core to prevent diastasis recti.
  • Nurse, lift, and care for a baby (or babies) using proper body mechanics to avoid strain and injury.

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