Empowered Birth Library
To achieve the birth you want takes the Right Education. Here’s a compilation of the best articles, links, podcasts, videos, websites, and books on pregnancy through to postpartum.
If you are looking for something specific and you can’t find it here, or there’s a particular resource you think should be added to this library you can contact Carly@EmpoweringMomsBirth.ca
We’ve included a list of the best websites and resources to help get you started, but if you’re looking for something more specific and don’t have the time or energy to go down a Google Search or Blog Post rabbit hole looking for that one perfect resource, why not enroll in the Take Charge of Birth Program and get access to the full library of over 900 resources, including weekly virtual group classes, and live messenger support whenever you need any extra help locating something?
Articles and Blog Posts To Get You Started…
Start off by reading some of the best articles and blog posts on birth and learn why having the Right Education for birth is crucial to getting the kind of birth experience you really want, especially if you want to avoid an unwanted cesarean, induction, or any other medical procedures in your birth.
Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have to Suck— an open letter to everyone who is going to birth or who might birth one day. Written by Cristen Pascucci, founder of Birth Monopoly and former Vice President of Improving Birth. Share this article with every mother who needs to hear these words.
Nosy, Yoga-Ball Bouncing Doctor Haters: Why I Changed My Tune— a mother who was dismissive of the “natural birth” movement realizes why this all matters. Improving Birth blog (2014)
The Dangers of “Winging It” in Labor and Why Every Woman Needs a Birth Plan— Just going to “wing it”? Here’s why you might want to read up on birth and learn your options before you go into labor with your first child. Fit Pregnancy article, now on Birthwell Birthright (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 3, 2014)
How Using Our Power as Consumers Could Change Maternity Care Forever— we have a lot more power than we realize in changing maternity care. Mothering (January 15, 2016)
10 Ways to Give Birth Like an Anarchist— the best advice for birth I’ve ever read. Jennifer Hazi (April 6, 2018)
Birth Can Be Empowering, Enjoyable, Even Orgasmic—We Just Need to Approach it Differently– Milli Hill (The Positive Birth Movement) talks about how the deeply held cultural belief that birth has to be traumatic needs to be challenged. iNews (November 28th, 2018)
Our YouTube Videos
Want some good tips on how to have a natural birth, avoid a cesarean, and more? You can watch these quick videos to get you started and follow our YouTube Channel for more updated content each week!
Blogs and Websites
Not sure which websites to check for resources and positive birth stories? Here’s some of the best ones out there. You can search through the blog posts on your own, or if you’re pressed for time you can email me at Carly@EmpoweringMomsBirth.ca and I’ll give you up to 2 different links for any given topic. Need more than that? Consider enrolling in the Take Charge of Birth Program to have full access to the entire database.
Improving Birth— a grass-roots movement and organization that helps people learn and exercise their rights in childbirth. Improving Birth was a key advocate in the cases of Kimberley Turbin and Caroline Malatesta, created the #BreakTheSilence Campaign, and has a Birth Trauma Toolkit and additional resources.
Wise Woman Way of Birth— Gloria Lemay’s amazing blog posts will shift your mindset and show you the power in birth that often gets buried in mainstream messages and practices.
Birth Monopoly A birth rights blog started by Cristen Pascucci, former Vice President of Improving Birth.
Midwife Thinking–An excellent, evidence based blog on pregnancy, labor and birth practices, focused on the physiological process of birth and whether/when benefits of intervention outweighs the risks.
Giving Birth Naturally— This blog is no longer available on a regular web domain, but much like the Northern Houses or Westeros, the Internet Remembers. If you’re looking for information specific to natural birth then you will love this blog.
Sara Wickham: Midwife, Speaker, Author, Researcher–Sara Wickham is a well-respected member of the birth work community and practices in the U.K. She is the author of several books including “Inducing Labor: Making Informed Decisions”.
Evidence Based Birth–If you’re looking for a complete breakdown of multiple studies on any given topic, including induction, due dates, big babies, waterbirth, and more, then Rebecca Dekker probably has it! She is the author of “Babies Are Not Pizzas” and a well-respected member of the birth work community for anyone who believes in a birthing person’s rights to autonomy and informed choice in their care.
Stand and Deliver–Dr. Rixa Freeze maintains a blog with a special interest in breech birth, and teaching breech vaginal birth to a new generation of care providers.
Better Birth Blog— Lauren McClain writes about all things birth related with a special focus on breech vaginal birth.
Slow Birth-– Jacquie Munro, a doula in BC’s Lower Mainland, writes about physiological birth.
Whole Woman— a whole category devoted to birth, another to feminism and other women’s health issues.
The Deranged Housewife— a childbirth advocate blogs about birth.
Birth Takes a Village— Jessica Austin, birth doula, informed choice activist, and educator, shares amazing birth stories that take place outside of the mainstream birth culture. She is a powerful advocate for parents and believes that birth education and resources should be accessible to every parent.
The Book List
Looking for something to add to your E-Reader or bookshelf? These are some of the best books for parents on pregnancy through your postpartum and are in the libraries of many doulas and midwives.
The Positive Birth Book— written by Milli Hill, founder of the Positive Birth Movement, this book outlines your rights in birth and gives you the information you need to make your own choices. U.K.-based, but has lots of useful tips that apply universally. You can order in hard copy or e-book on Kindle.
Give Birth Like a Feminist–written by Milli Hill. Following up after the success of The Positive Birth Book, Milli Hill dives deeper into the issues of the Patriarchy and how we’ve all been given a “raw deal” in our births in mainstream birth culture. She encourages women to take back their births, and as a result we empower other women that come after us. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the birth advocacy side of birth work, as well as for new mothers who don’t do well with being told what they are “allowed” to do with their own bodies.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth–written by Henci Goer. This book goes into the risks, benefits, and alternative options for each of the most common interventions in maternity care, starting with the most invasive such as Cesarean, Induction, and Augmented Labour.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth–written by Ina May Gaskin, this is THE book for physiological birth! Learn all about the mind/body connection, the “sphincter law”, and how the medical perspective of childbirth fails to understand how our bodies actually work.
Why Induction Matters–written by Rachel Reed. The author of the amazing blog Midwife Thinking addresses the common reasons why induction is offered and the actual evidence for those recommendations. She encourages critical thinking when it comes to decisions around induction. Even if you don’t plan to induce your labour, you will want this book! Its compact size also makes it a great gift to stuff into a baby shower basket for an expecting mom!
Why Cesarean Matters–written by Claire Gogin. This book is the most comprehensive guide to choosing a cesarean and how to prepare for one. There is an additional chapter for support people to read on caring for a mother after cesarean, as well as helpful tips for postpartum recovery.
Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding— written by Dr. Jack Newman, this book is the go-to book for breastfeeding and a favourite resource for midwives and doulas as well as lactation consultants. He covers the reasons why breastfeeding success is often sabotaged by the medical industry, both intentionally and unintentionally. He addresses several myths, misconceptions, and breaks down exactly what you need to do to avoid a lot of the common mistakes that parents can make when they’re trying to nurse their babies. You will LOVE this book!
Videos and YouTube Channels
Looking to binge on some birth-related videos? We’ve done the hard work for you of finding the best channels that support your right to informed choice.
BirthPedia— Dr. Brad Bootstaylor, Perinatologist has a series of videos on everything from Induction to VBAC.
PS From Penny— Penny Simkin talks about all things birth on her YouTube Channel
Has Improving Infant Mortality Led to the Neglect of Maternal Health?— Dr. Neel Shah shares his thoughts.
Ted Talks for When You’re Expecting— Ted Talks for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding— Curious about breastfeeding and how it all works? This video will help get you off to a good start!
Don’t have time to sit and watch a video? You can listen to these great podcast channels while driving, running errands, or even while at home cleaning the house or relaxing with your headphones in.
Evidence Based Birth on Apple Podcast— Rebecca Dekker talks about the evidence for or against various birth practices.
The Midwives’ Cauldron— Dr. Rachel Reed and Katie James talk about birth physiology, reproductive cycles, the cycles of our bodies as we age, the wisdom of our ancestors in herstory, birth inside the system, and so much more!
Our Birth Wisdom— “A podcast where we share our birth wisdom, what we wish we knew, and what we learned through our experiences, with hopes that you are empowered to make autonomous decisions for yourself and your baby based on your knowledge, intuition and desires.” Kyleigh Banks aka The Autonomy Mommy
Downloads and eBooks
A list of paid and free offers you can take advantage of to complement your learning. Prices may vary. Empowering Moms has no control over the pricing or availability of these offers.
“When Baby Lies Sideways” eBook– Is your baby lying transverse (sideways)? This book was written by Gail Tully, creator of Spinning Babies and Certified Professional Midwife. Spinning Babies
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the authors of these articles are being presented in the interest of giving multiple sources of information on various topics pertaining to birth. The opinions expressed may not reflect the views of Empowering Moms Pregnancy & Birth Coaching. The intended use of these resources is for self-study and to help you open up a dialogue with your care provider and support team. If you need additional help in making a plan on how best to bring up these topics to your care provider consider booking a session or contact us at Carly@EmpoweringMomsBirth.ca