Birth in the Know

Advocacy Organizations

Formerly the Maternity Care Association, Childbirth Connection has great free downloadable documents to read.  They also have a slide show on your body during pregnancy. This organization has the latest research and best available data about the childbearing year; including a booklet on avoiding cesarean section and the Listening to Mothers Survey.   This is a great place to start your search for information.

Recently three organizations came together: Improving Birth, Birth Network National and the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.  This organization is focused on advocating for women to take a stand, to share their birth stories.  They highlight the trauma and abuse in the maternity care system, and provide ways for you to find your power.  Improving Birth has an Advocacy Tool Kit, a blog, an annual rally on Labor Day, and chapters around the country working locally to improve birth.

1 in 3 women in the United States (higher in some states and hospitals), give birth by cesarean-section; major abdominal surgery. The International Cesarean Awareness Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by reducing preventable cesareans through education, supporting cesarean recovery, and advocating for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).  ICAN has chapters in every state. You can find one near you by going to the website. If there isn’t a chapter near you then you can start one!!

This is your go to for information, support and resources about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). There are support groups all over the United States, and you can start one if there isn’t one in your area. They also have a phone line to chat with an expert.  PSI offers conferences as well as Climb Out of Darkness event each year to raise awareness about mood disorders and its effects on women and families.  This is the number one complication of childbirth; 1 in 7 women.

This is a world-wide breastfeeding advocacy organization, and a support group. There are local chapters that provide periodic meetings you can attend before and while you are pregnant to learn more about breastfeeding. You have an opportunity to see breastfeeding Moms and babies, and ask questions.

Great Evidence-Based Information

Here you will find some great blog articles, and links to some of the many resources you find in this guide.  You will also find Down the Canal – the Game of Birth, created to engage learners in wanting to know more about birth options in the United States.

There is a variety of information on this website about birth, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and optimal care. You will find many free downloads and some free lectures. Other lectures can be purchased for a nominal fee. There is an option for an annual subscription, which is well worth its value.  The website’s owner, Henci Goer, is a well-known author, and speaker, and is known for her ability to break down the research in an easy to understand way.

This is an online resource for information and inspiration. Many free handouts, and articles to read.  There are also courses you can take. Evidence Based Birth trains instructors so you may find one in your area.  This is a great place to go for articles that provide clarification on a particular procedure or intervention.  For example; ultrasound. If you are asking if it is appropriate, safe, and medically necessary, this could be a great place to get your answer.

If you are a plus size woman this is the place for you.  All you need to know about being pregnant and plus size. Here you will find a great free guide book, lots of blog articles, and a course for you to delve further.  Jen McLellan was where you are today, and she offers all her wisdom and guidance.  

This is a world-wide breastfeeding advocacy organization, and a support group. There are local chapters that provide periodic meetings you can attend before and while you are pregnant to learn more about breastfeeding. You have an opportunity to see breastfeeding Moms and babies, and ask questions.

The VBAC Education Project was created by Nicette Jukelevics, to give women access to free information about vaginal birth after cesarean. There are fourteen learning modules, and lots of resources for parents and for birth professionals. The material is easy to read.  This project is endorsed by the International Cesarean Awareness Network and the International Childbirth Education Association

Childbirth Preparation Methods and Classes (most well known)

The Lamaze method has changed over the years. They used to be known for particular breathing patterns. Today’s focus is on the Six Healthy Birth Practices. It is all about confidence, support and feeling powerful.

Bradley method is most known for the husband coached approach.  The goal of the course is for you to have a natural birth. It is usually a 12 week course that prepares you for this goal. There is an extensive workbook with lots of illustrations.

This has become a very popular birth preparation method.  You will learn and practice breathing, visualization, and meditation.  Focus on nutrition is also emphasized.  All of these things will help you to relax between contractions and to cope with labor. You are learning self-hypnosis to rid yourself of the stories of pain and fear you may have heard from other women.

Hypnobabies provides tapes with scripts for Moms to practice while pregnant, to retrain their sub-conscious minds. The goal is for the brain to create a new perception about pain. There is curriculum to go along with the hypnosis training.  Lots of information for you if you are curious to know more about hypnosis, and how it works.

Books and Other Resources (some of my favorites)

This book is by the creator of Birthing From Within, Pam England. It is a very thorough guide for preparing for anything and everything.  It ties together the old with the new. The book weaves together your inner spiritual path with your outer path to birth.

Yes, birth can be orgasmic. It can be filled with pleasure, and be the most amazing experience of a woman’s life.  The goal is not orgasm, but rather an experience to enjoy, and one where you claim your power. This book shines a light on that possibility.

This free downloadable tool was developed by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, which is now part of the Improving Birth Coalition. These are questions to ask your doctor or midwife

This is a shortened version of the Consumer Reports publication, and is an unbiased look at maternity care in the United States.

This book is for the breastfeeding Mom. It’s loaded with strategies to get the rest you need while you are breastfeeding.

This book will help you to understand your baby’s sleep patterns, and how different they are from adults. Once you learn to to distinguish sleep time from over stimulation time you will gain much confidence as a new parent. You will also get more sleep.

This is a great, easy to read, free resource for breastfeeding information. It is published by the Office of Women’s Health.