I thought I'd post a few of the web sites and books I've been reading to prepare for having this baby.
Our favorite site has been ehd.org. It has short videos (actual videos inside the womb) of baby's development. It was so amazing to watch those early ones and see what had formed that week. Now that baby is bigger, we check it every once in awhile to see when baby is supposed to be able to see light (which he can now!) and when his lungs are getting more mature. They have a lot of 4D ultrasounds of babies. It's amazing how much they move around in there!
My personal favorite site has been mothering.com. I did subscribe recently because I was able to get a free book out of it. I love the articles because they actually encourage parents to follow their instincts rather than just listen to a doctor. I lurk on the boards there as well- so much wonderful, personal experience on those!
I also like naturalbirthandbabycare.com. Though I checked it out again recently and it's changed a lot. I don't visit it much any more, but there is lots of good information on it.
Another great one is theecofriendlyfamily.blogspot.com. Tons of information about cloth diapers and how to care for them!
On to the books I've been reading. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is a wonderful book that I am SO glad I bought. It's so empowering to be reminded that women's bodies are supposed to be able to do this! There are some great birth stories in there (also some that are a little weird.) Gaskin has been a midwife for years at The Farm. She is a nationally recognized midwife (was interviewed for The Business of Being Born) and is very experienced with natural, out of hospital births.
I am also reading Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. She encourages exercise and yoga during pregnancy to prepare for birth. I haven't been too great at doing the exercise and yoga though... I really need to step that up!
I received Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding when I subscribed to Mothering Magazine. I've been reading that slowly. It seems a little early to be reading about how to breastfeed but I figure it will help to read it now and then I'll remember what it said when I need it! Or at least remember that it was in there and be able to find it again! It is also a great book that explains the common issues women have while breastfeeding and how to combat them early.
I wrote a little in a past post about Pushed by Jennifer Block. It's not a guide to birth but it is an eye opener about maternity care in the United States. I would get SO angry, frustrated, upset and annoyed while reading stories of women who wanted natural births and were forced into inductions, episiotomies, forceps and/ or c-sections. Stories of doctors and nurses who used scare tactics to get women to submit to continuous fetal monitoring (which has been shown in several studies to increase the risk of c-section but not increase the likelihood of a healthy baby). There were women who would say they were refusing a c-section and doctors that ignored them and gave them one anyway. Women who said they did not want an episiotomy (if you don't know what this is, I wouldn't recommend searching through Google images for the answer) and were given one anyway, without their consent.
Dave finally told me I wasn't allowed to read the book before bed because I would get so angry that I'd be up for another hour just venting about it. Also, at one midwife appointment, we were talking about what I'd been reading. I started telling her about the book and how horrible all those stories were. When she took my blood pressure it was WAY higher than normal. She took it again later and it was normal. So, that book definitely raised my blood pressure!
I highly recommend that every woman read that book. It made me simultaneously want to scream at every obstetrician I ever met, picket hospitals and cry for all those women who were violated. It made me think of the women's rights movement and how maternity care has made women no better than cattle in a slaughter house line. Maternity care these days is a GIANT step backwards in women's rights. It made me SO glad that I will be having a home birth with a midwife.
I did get a few other books from the library about natural birth but none of them stick out to me as being wonderful.
Oh, another great resource is The Business of Being Born video. It is available to watch instantly through Netflix if you have that. I believe there are also places online where you can watch it for free. I actually watched it about a year and a half ago because I was home from work and bored. It really opened my eyes to other options about birth. I had Dave watch it when he got home and that was a big reason that he's so open to and looking forward to our natural birth.
So, those are a few things I've been reading/ watching. There is SO much information out there about birth and choices that a couple needs to make about their baby. The saddest thing for me is knowing that so many women never look into the options they have. They simply listen to their doctors and never make an informed decision about tests or procedures done to them or their baby.
Hmm, and now that I look back through this post, I probably should have written a whole separate one for the review on Pushed! That got long.
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