The best books about home birth

3 authors have picked their favorite books about home birth and why they recommend each book.

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Birth and the Dialogue of Love

By Marilyn A. Moran,

Book cover of Birth and the Dialogue of Love

This classic and groundbreaking book is an exploration of the “interpersonal aspect of childbirth for husband and wife and its effect on their growth and development in two-in-oneness," says author Marilyn A. Moran, the first advocate for husband and wife unassisted homebirth. “Childbirth is a dialogue, not a monologue…It is imperative that couples abandon the doctors’ quasi-pathological approach to birth…When an obstetrician steps in between the lovers at the moment of birth to catch the baby, the cyclic giving and receiving of significant genital gifts is shattered.”

Women are the main connoisseurs of childbirth books, but when my husband opened this book, he devoured it within three days and was completely convinced of planning a husband and wife homebirth. The book made so much sense to us. After four hospital births, we went on to have two unassisted homebirths, and Birth and the Dialogue of Love was pivotal.


Who am I?

After giving birth in the hospital four times in what I experienced as “assembly-line obstetrics,” I decided that my fifth child would be intentionally born at home with just me and my husband present. It forever changed our lives and I’ve been an advocate since 1998, with the publication of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love. I’m considered a pioneer in the unassisted birth community. Women are disappointed and disillusioned with their birth experiences and I help put to rest the idea of a painful, discouraging birth experience, replacing it with the manifestation of your inner desires. A satisfying and successful birth is within reach.


I wrote...

Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

By Lynn M. Griesemer,

Book cover of Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

What is my book about?

“Is this procedure absolutely medically necessary?” and “What do I want for my childbirth experience?” are two questions to ask while preparing for birth. Take Back Your Birth ignites the heart, the mind, and the emotions. 

Will you make decisions and take actions based on your inner yearnings? Do you have a vision for your birth experience? Do you want complete freedom for your birth or do you prefer a system that helps shape it? If you’re educated on the birth process and make decisions that you are comfortable with, then your birth can be the beautiful experience it was meant to be. Take Back Your Birth emphasizes inner preparation and goal setting for your birth, something which is sorely lacking in our culture.

Home Birth On Your Own Terms

By Heather Baker,

Book cover of Home Birth On Your Own Terms

This book is comprehensive: it describes self prenatal care, what to do if you encounter complications during labor and birth, and discusses postpartum care. Photos and birth stories can put a couple at ease as they plan for their upcoming birth. My daughter birthed her first baby unassisted and this was her favorite book during pregnancy.


Who am I?

After giving birth in the hospital four times in what I experienced as “assembly-line obstetrics,” I decided that my fifth child would be intentionally born at home with just me and my husband present. It forever changed our lives and I’ve been an advocate since 1998, with the publication of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love. I’m considered a pioneer in the unassisted birth community. Women are disappointed and disillusioned with their birth experiences and I help put to rest the idea of a painful, discouraging birth experience, replacing it with the manifestation of your inner desires. A satisfying and successful birth is within reach.


I wrote...

Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

By Lynn M. Griesemer,

Book cover of Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

What is my book about?

“Is this procedure absolutely medically necessary?” and “What do I want for my childbirth experience?” are two questions to ask while preparing for birth. Take Back Your Birth ignites the heart, the mind, and the emotions. 

Will you make decisions and take actions based on your inner yearnings? Do you have a vision for your birth experience? Do you want complete freedom for your birth or do you prefer a system that helps shape it? If you’re educated on the birth process and make decisions that you are comfortable with, then your birth can be the beautiful experience it was meant to be. Take Back Your Birth emphasizes inner preparation and goal setting for your birth, something which is sorely lacking in our culture.

Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons

By Becky Aud-Jennison, Felicia Olin (illustrator),

Book cover of Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons: Field Notes from The Death Dialogues Project

I first learned of the Death Dialogue Projects through Instagram. The author has a standing open call for Tiny Death Stories of 100 words or less, and a few of mine were showcased along with many lovely true tales of personal loss and grief. What a welcome resource as well as her emotionally raw nature of her podcast translates well into her pages. The book is an obvious project of passion embracing death literacy. I love how healing and understanding are weaved through the shared stories.


Who am I?

Saving the planet one death at a time is truly what the world needs now: to reduce our carbon footprint and go out in eco-friendly style. As the one-woman funeral service in the rural town of Boring, Oregon, I support the philosophy of old-school burial practices that are kinder to both humans, the earth, and our wallets. I have humbly been baptized the Green Reaper for my passionate advocacy of green burial, and as an undertaker and the owner and undertaker of Cornerstone Funeral, the first green funeral home in the Portland area. I love to devour all literature possible on green burial and environmentally friendly death care.


I wrote...

The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial

By Elizabeth Fournier,

Book cover of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial

What is my book about?

Funeral expenses in the United States average more than $10,000. And every year conventional funerals bury millions of tons of wood, concrete, and metals, as well as millions of gallons of carcinogenic embalming fluid. There is a better way, and Elizabeth Fournier, affectionately dubbed the “Green Reaper,” walks you through it, step-by-step. She provides comprehensive and compassionate guidance, covering everything from green burial planning and home funeral basics to legal guidelines and outside-the-box options, such as burials at sea. Fournier points the way to green burial practices that consider both the environmental well-being of the planet and the economic well-being of loved ones.

Call the Midwife

By Jennifer Worth,

Book cover of Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

London's East End dockland in the 1950s had no midwife services other than those organised by a small order of nuns. A trained nurse, Worth was one of its staff confronted by the needs of the slum tenements of the area, which at the time still laid claim to being the largest port in the world. Her story is of mainly closed, self-contained communities, elements of which exist today next to the British capital's new financial centre of Canary Wharf. Both sad and uplifting, the book is an incitement to come, walk and imagine the ghosts of the old London docks.


Who am I?

Fact is often more fascinating than fiction, and on occasions, a lot weirder too. As someone, London-based though lucky to have travelled extensively in Europe since childhood (my mother was keen to visit places where my father had been stationed in the Second World War) and more recently as a journalist (for The Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, and others) in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, I have always been attracted to stories that strongly convey senses of time, place and the people you just happen to meet.


I wrote...

Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World

By Peter Chapman,

Book cover of Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World

What is my book about?

Bananas shows how a single company can dominate the affairs of whole countries, large or small. The United Fruit Company took bananas from the jungles of Costa Rica to the halls of power in Washington D.C. It employed supremely clever marketing, covert CIA operations, bloody coups, and brutalised workforces. Along the way, it turned the banana into a blueprint for a new model of unfettered capitalism: one that serves corporate power at any cost.

Unassisted Childbirth

By Laura Kaplan Shanley,

Book cover of Unassisted Childbirth

Unassisted Childbirth shows how birth can be straightforward and relatively painless if we remove technological and psychological interference. Laura is considered the pioneer of “UC,” Unassisted Childbirth, also known as Freebirth. She states that fear is a main culprit and the body’s reaction is commonly fight or flight, sending women into long, difficult labors and deliveries. 

My husband and I appreciate Laura’s work in the unassisted birth area because it is inspiring and logical. She has encouraged thousands of couples for over 35 years in the pursuit of an unhindered, natural birth.


Who am I?

After giving birth in the hospital four times in what I experienced as “assembly-line obstetrics,” I decided that my fifth child would be intentionally born at home with just me and my husband present. It forever changed our lives and I’ve been an advocate since 1998, with the publication of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love. I’m considered a pioneer in the unassisted birth community. Women are disappointed and disillusioned with their birth experiences and I help put to rest the idea of a painful, discouraging birth experience, replacing it with the manifestation of your inner desires. A satisfying and successful birth is within reach.


I wrote...

Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

By Lynn M. Griesemer,

Book cover of Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

What is my book about?

“Is this procedure absolutely medically necessary?” and “What do I want for my childbirth experience?” are two questions to ask while preparing for birth. Take Back Your Birth ignites the heart, the mind, and the emotions. 

Will you make decisions and take actions based on your inner yearnings? Do you have a vision for your birth experience? Do you want complete freedom for your birth or do you prefer a system that helps shape it? If you’re educated on the birth process and make decisions that you are comfortable with, then your birth can be the beautiful experience it was meant to be. Take Back Your Birth emphasizes inner preparation and goal setting for your birth, something which is sorely lacking in our culture.

Emergency Childbirth

By Gregory J. White,

Book cover of Emergency Childbirth: A Manual

When my husband and I were preparing for our unassisted homebirth, we had two books by our nightstand: Birth and the Dialogue of Love, and Emergency Childbirth. Emergency Childbirth was originally published by the Police Training Foundation and was used by emergency medical technicians for unexpected childbirth situations. One part of the book explained what to do if a baby is coming quickly and stated that any normal eight-year-old could handle it. 


Who am I?

After giving birth in the hospital four times in what I experienced as “assembly-line obstetrics,” I decided that my fifth child would be intentionally born at home with just me and my husband present. It forever changed our lives and I’ve been an advocate since 1998, with the publication of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love. I’m considered a pioneer in the unassisted birth community. Women are disappointed and disillusioned with their birth experiences and I help put to rest the idea of a painful, discouraging birth experience, replacing it with the manifestation of your inner desires. A satisfying and successful birth is within reach.


I wrote...

Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

By Lynn M. Griesemer,

Book cover of Take Back Your Birth: Inspiration for Expectant Moms

What is my book about?

“Is this procedure absolutely medically necessary?” and “What do I want for my childbirth experience?” are two questions to ask while preparing for birth. Take Back Your Birth ignites the heart, the mind, and the emotions. 

Will you make decisions and take actions based on your inner yearnings? Do you have a vision for your birth experience? Do you want complete freedom for your birth or do you prefer a system that helps shape it? If you’re educated on the birth process and make decisions that you are comfortable with, then your birth can be the beautiful experience it was meant to be. Take Back Your Birth emphasizes inner preparation and goal setting for your birth, something which is sorely lacking in our culture.

Baby Catcher

By Peggy Vincent,

Book cover of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

I could not put this book down. Vincent is a licensed home birth midwife in California, and Baby Catcher represents her accounts of many of her clients’ births. Her stories capture the diversity of experiences, the fears and joys of each mother who has opted for an out-of-hospital birth, and the beauty of bringing new life into the world. I have assigned this book in college courses and students love it; they come out angry at how broken our system is when it comes to maternity care.


Who am I?

I am a history professor at Purdue University and the author of several articles and three books that focus on controversies surrounding women’s reproductive health. I have also appeared on national television and radio, most recently on the PBS documentary, American Experience (the Eugenics Crusade), as well as the Vox/Netflix documentary “sex, explained.”


I wrote...

Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

By Wendy Kline,

Book cover of Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

What is my book about?

By the mid-twentieth century, two things appeared destined for extinction in the United States: the practice of home birth and the profession of midwifery. Who were these self-proclaimed midwives and how did they learn their trade? Because the United States had virtually eliminated midwifery in most areas by the mid-twentieth century, most of them had little knowledge of or exposure to the historic practice, drawing primarily on obstetrical texts, trial, and error, and sometimes instruction from aging home birth physicians to learn their craft. While their constituents were primarily drawn from the educated white middle class, their model of care (which ultimately drew on the wisdom and practice of a more diverse, global pool of midwives) had the potential to transform birth practices for all women, both in and out of the hospital.

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