Pregnancy is an amazing time in your life. It is a time to take really good care of your body and your growing baby. Eating nutritious whole foods, exercising regularly and visiting your healthcare provider are all ways to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Yet, in the era of COVID19 it may not be so easy to follow through in all you may have planned.
So I have been thinking about you, mama.
I put together a little list of some of my favourite books, series, podcasts, apps and films for you to consider … My aim is simply to support you with educational resources focused on natural pregnancy and birthing while I am unable to support you with hands-on care. Read more about my work with pregnant mamas and supporting a natural pregnancy here.
Hopefully engaging with these resources will leave you feeling more supported, empowered and confident.
So lets get in stuck in!
There are a TON of different pregnancy health books, of all varying shapes and sizes.
Some are information led.
Some are step-by-step.
Some give programmes to follow.
So firstly you need to have a think about what you are looking for. Are you the kind of person wanting to know every detail of the physiology of pregnancy, labour and birth? Or do you want a guide to follow week by week? Otherwise you will go cuckoo trying to read everything.
“Gentle Birth Method” brings you on a month-by-month programme, so if you are looking to follow a particular guide something like this could suit you. It is written by a obstetrician so the medical background is there. However, she doesn’t just offer clinical Western medical approaches. Ayurvedic remedies and philosophies feature strongly. I really appreciated the marriage of the two worlds. Also, I like how there is a lot for your partner to engage with too. There are lots of hands-on techniques for them to support mama.
“Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” is a meaty one. This is for the expectant mother wanting to get in to the details. If you are wondering what exactly happens during labour; the cascades of hormones, inductions and epidurals, then this could suit you. Also, as the name suggests, it is divided into two. The first section on birthing and the second on parenting in those first few months.
Certain chapters of this book on details of hormones etc need a fully engaged mind. So it is perhaps not one for light bedtime reading. Alongside all this are beautiful birth stories and a real passion for embracing natural birthing from a medical doctor.
“Mind The Bump”: This is a mindfulness app exclusively focused on maternal mental health, both prenatal and postnatal. It is probably my favorite app of the the ones I have tried. Simply because of its so easy to use and practical.
“Ovia Pregnancy”: Here you get a daily email with tips and facts that are easy to digest, plus you can engage with the app in whatever way you wish. They have even host live Q&As on Instagram. It also gives plenty of activity tips, which from a body worker stand point, I think are very important.
“Insight Timer”: This is a general meditation and mindfulness platform. However, if you search for pregnancy in the app, lots of guides/music/talks come up especially for expectant moms. So dig in and see what is a fit for your needs!
FYI. All of these apps are free.
Netflix and Films …
If you are feeling like some lighter information, Babies is a six part series that looks at different milestones in the first year of life. In general I liked it. However, one small critique, I felt they could have given more significance to the importance of crawling. Crawling is an important milestone in a child’s development and should be acknowledged if you child skips it. If you want more info on the significance of crawling in your child’s neuro-development pop over here.
The Beginning of Life is another six part Netflix series that I enjoyed. Again looking at pregnancy and the infants first year mainly. The frankness of the parents interviewed and the passion of the professionals interviewed really touched my heart in this one.
My favourite for films/series/documentaries choice is Microbirth. After watching I honestly felt that if you are a human being you should watch this one hour documentary! Buuut … I can be pretty enthusiastic about all things related to natural health!! Either way, this goes into depth on the microbiome (the wonderful universe of good bacteria in your body) and all that happens at birth to seed this universe in your baby’s body and gut. It is very informative 60 minute watch. And considering it was made in 2014 … plenty of thoughts shared from the science professionals that are very interesting considering our current circumstance with COVID19.
“Down To Birth”: Two lovely ladies, a HypnoBirthing expert and Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife chatting about a wide variety of topics on this podcast. I like that it doesn’t focus on one type of birth. They cover a wide variety of topics; waterbirthing, postpartum anxiety, placenta previa and many more topics. More recently they have a couple on COVID19; addressing fears, worries and concerns of parents. It is an American podcast, so regarding medico-legal issues and hospital rules you need to double check with your pregnancy health care provider.
If you fancy something a little interactive online, I came across a a short online course from Trinity College Dublin: Women’s Health After Motherhood. I signed up for it myself to investigate and I have to say I was impressed. For such a short course it was really informative. It gives excellent insight into common (but not normal … I loved that they hammered this home) issues in the postpartum period. So while it is not exactly pregnancy related, it sets you up with knowledge to know what may be ahead of you in this period.
During pregnancy most women usually begin to feel their baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. The type of movement may change as your pregnancy progresses but the intensity or frequency should never reduce. So to keep track of your baby’s movements check out this handy little gadget Kicks Count from a British charity (they post to Rep of Ireland). Fantastic idea to help those mamas that are stressing and second guessing about number of movements day to day!
Support During Pregnancy
While I love these different resources, don’t forget what can be useful is just simply talking to family and friends who have been through this before.
Having a good support system is so important during pregnancy.
If you are hoping to have a natural pregnancy, labour and birth, surrounding yourself with positive stories and folks can be really encouraging. If you have people in your life that are regaling you with horror stories, who stress you etc. change the subject or make your excuses and exit that conversation.
If you do not have family close by or friends that have been through pregnancy, elbow your way into a mothers group or breastfeeding group while you are still pregnant! You can then chat with new mums and soak up some of their nuggets of wisdom.
Finally … full disclosure here … I have not read EVERY pregnancy and birth book or listened to every podcast out there. There are not enough hours in the day. These are simply some of the ones that I have engaged with and felt they were of high enough quality to share with you guys and give you a starting point. If you have something to add, I would love to hear what resources you found most helpful!
Every woman’s pregnancy experience is an individual journey.
Creating a positive pregnancy and birth experience doesn’t necessarily mean all plans are carried out as anticipated. What’s important is that you felt informed and supported along the way even if unexpected twists and turns (like COVID19!) occur on your journey.
Finally, the information provided here is not intended to replace individual medical advice. It is intended to work alongside your current birth-plan and specific medical advice. Take what you want/need from it!!