Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Attachment Parenting International‘s first principle of parenting is to “prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.” API says:
Pregnancy offers expectant parents an opportunity to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for parenthood. Making informed decisions about childbirth, newborn care, and parenting practices is a critical investment in the attachment relationship between parent and child. Education is a key component of preparation for the difficult decisions required of parents and is an ongoing process as each stage of growth and development brings new joys and challenges.
To learn more about preparing for pregnancy, birth, and parenting, take a look at the resources below. If you have specific questions about this category or know of additional resources that should be on our list, please contact us.
- Billings Ovulation Method: Billings Centre of Canada offers information and resources on the Billings method of NFP.
- The Couple to Couple League: One of the most highly regarded Catholic NFP sites but their how-to information could be useful to couples of any faith.
- Creighton Model Fertility Care System: NFP links and resources as well as information on NaPro technology used to diagnose & treat fertility issues.
- Family of the Americas: A wide variety of resources on the Ovulation method of NFP.
- “Fertility Awareness:Natural Family Planning”: The American Pregnancy Association: Some basic how-to information from a secular perspective.
- The Fertile Kitchen Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Optimizing Your Fertility, by Cindy Bailey and Pierre Giauque: An easy to follow, healthy eating cookbook designed to help you improve your reproductive and overall health.
- Fully Fertile: A 12-Week Holistic Plan for Optimal Fertility, by Elisabeth Heller et al: A manual for improving conception using the“Integrative Care for Fertility” model which utilizes mind/body techniques, including nutrition, Oriental medicine, and yoga.
- Honoring Our Cycles: A Natural Family Planning Workbook, by Katie Singer: This book also has a companion website—Garden of Fertility.
- Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, by John & Sheila Kippley
- NFP and More: A Catholic site with great information about how to practice the sympto-thermal method of NFP (Natural Family Planning) and what they call “ecological breastfeeding”, and has awesome free resources like printable cycle charts.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
- “Wishing to Postpone”: Family of the Americas Foundation: This article explores the Ovulation Method as defined by Dr. John Billings as being different from the “rhythm method” and easily implemented even by women who are pre-menopausal and others who may have irregular cycles. Lists the benefits of the Ovulation Method and the drawbacks of artificial methods of contraception.
- Natural Fertility: This section of A Much Better Way’s website offers information about natural fertility and trying to conceive.
- Finding a Midwife (Citizens for Midwifery): Tips to find a midwife in your area, as well as several different internet directories of midwives.
- Pregnancy and Birth: Midwives (Code Name: Mama): Information and resources on the midwife model of care plus a statistical comparison of outcomes (medical interventions, etc.) for births with different healthcare providers.
- Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, by Peggy Vincent (Book, Website): A narrative nonfiction account of one midwife’s inspirational journey.
- The Homebirth Choice, by Jill Cohen (Midwifery Today): Information on the types of midwives (lay v. certified nurse midwives) and what to expect when choosing a homebirth.
- DONA International: Search tool to find a member doula in your area.
- International Birth and Wellness Project: Another search tool to find a local doula.
- What Is a Doula?, DONA International: Descriptions of both birth and post-partum doulas.
- Questions to Ask a Doula (Mothering): A list of potential questions to ask when interviewing doulas.
- How To Hire a Doula, DONA International: The world’s largest association of doulas offers essential questions to ask when interviewing a birth or postpartum doula.
- The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices, Aviva Jill Romm: Romm, a mother and midwife, wrote The Natural Pregnancy Book to help women find joy, creativity, and awe in pregnancy. She shares wisdom not only about the physical changes of pregnancy (and your body’s changing needs), but the emotional changes you may experience during pregnancy and as a new mother. Ina May Gaskin’s forward calls The Natural Pregnancy Book “a comfort.”
- Getting Ready For Baby, Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D: An overview of some things to consider as we prepare for pregnancy and birth, including nutrition recommendations and potential toxicities to avoid.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting…for Natural Parents, by Natural Parents Network: Expecting parents can find a ton of checklists online and in books like “What to Expect,” but so many of them focus on “what to buy” or “finding a hospital.” Those lists aren’t geared toward the more natural-minded family. This one is.
- Birth Psychology: The Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health focuses attention on the life-changing discoveries being made in the first period of human development from preparation for pregnancy through the postpartum period and establishment of breastfeeding.
- Exercise Guidelines During Pregnancy by American Pregnancy Association: Easy-to-read and informative, this site gives information on exercising during pregnancy.
- How to Exercise During Pregnancy byNaturally Savvy: A great site with info on exercising during pregnancy, including what is safe and what the benefits are to keeping fit when expecting.
- Pregnancy: This section of A Much Better Way’s website offers information about having a happy, healthy pregnancy naturally.
Birth Options/Medical Interventions
- The Bradley Method: Details on the Bradley Method of Childbirth, including instructors and course information.
- Checking Dilation Without a Vaginal Exam: A blog post, with links to other posts, midwifery forum and journal abstracts on various methods of determining cervical dilation without manually checking
- ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network): Not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean.
- Lamaze Position Paper: Promoting, Supporting, and Protecting Normal Birth: Lamaze’s six recommended care practices to promote, support, and protect normal birth are: 1) let labor begin on its own; 2) allow freedom of movement during labor; 3) provide continuous labor support; 4) do not promote routine interventions; 5) encourage spontaneous pushing in upright or gravity-neutral positions; 6) do not separate mother and baby, give unlimited opportunities for breastfeeding.
- Lamaze Position Paper: The Risks of Cesarean Section for Mother and Baby: Lamaze details the health risks inherent in cesarean sections, including harm to mother and baby, harm to the breastfeeding relationship, and harm to future pregnancies.
- Bring Birth Home: This is a great website to explore if you are interested in the possibility of giving birth at home and are looking for information on what to expect and how to prepare yourself. The site includes stories written by women who have given birth to their child(ren) at home, some stories written by the dads, and there are lots of homebirth photographs and videos.
- Fathers and Homebirth, Angela Horn: An explanation of the empowering, pivotal role dads play in home birth and how it can benefit the whole family.
- Gentle Birth, part 1 of 3: In this video, Obstetrician Dr. Michel Odent advocates for birth with as few interventions as possible and discusses the many downsides of elective cesarean section.
- Gentle Birth, part 2 of 3: In part two of this video, Dr. Odent discusses the appropriate and most beneficial role of a birth attendant to the laboring woman.
- Gentle Birth, part 3 of 3: In the third and final part of this video, Dr. Odent points out the working natural processes that should be supported, both in labor and afterward.
- Waterbirth.org: This site provides resources, supplies and support for your home waterbirth.
- Choices In Childbirth: An online resource for finding a “mother-friendly” health care provider in your area, Choices in Childbirth helps connect natural-minded women with like-minded professionals.
- The Win Win Birth Plan, Penny Simkin: Author and childbirth educator Penny Simkin outlines how to craft a birth plan that will make parents and care providers feel respected.
- Hypnobabies: Hypnosis can be a peaceful, natural way of preparing for birth, managing labor, and welcoming a little one into a calm and comfortable environment.
- Preparing for a Home Birth (PDF), Womancare Midwifery: A comprehensive list in of the supplies you’ll need for your home birth, including tips on how to prepare your home for the new arrival.
- Brio Birth: Details about the Brio Birth Method, courses, and information supporting their mission of “promoting maternal & child well-being and connected families with the key indicators of success being the drop in the Cesarean Section rate, the drop in Maternal and Infant Mortality rates and the increase of breastfeeding initiations.”
- Options for your Birth Plan by Birthing Naturally: An extensive guide to your options for starting labor, managing pain, monitoring labor, labor environment, pushing, and more.
- Want a Natural Birth in a Hospital Setting? 10 Questions to Ask, by PhD in Parenting: If you’ve chosen a hospital birth but would like to keep interventions to a minimum, asking the right questions can help ensure your experience is one your family can remember happily.
- Spinning Babies: This site offers information on belly mapping, or finding out the position of your unborn child, and how best to deliver your baby in the position it already is in. It’s also the go-to resource for gentle methods to turn your baby if s/he is breech.
- The Normal Newborn and Why Breastmilk is Not Just Food, by Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic: A great article about the importance of allowing newborns to do just as they would naturally – come right up to mom’s chest and nurse.
“Routine” Newborn Procedures
- Circumcision/Keeping Your Baby Intact (See separate resource page)
- Routine Newborn Baby Care Procedures (Giving Birth Naturally): A jumping off point for learning about potential newborn procedures.
- Routine Medical Procedures for the Newborn (Birthing Right Midwifery): A list of articles (with links) with information about many newborn procedures.
- Options for Newborn Care Procedures by Birthing Naturally: A helpful list of routine procedures with great information on why they are done and reasons why you may or may not decide to have them done to your baby.
- Vitamin K – An Alternative Perspective, by Sara Wickham, Midwife: A much-needed update on vitamin K prophylaxis.
- Newborn Eye Ointment, by The Center for Unhindered Living: This link is an annotated bibliography of four articles written on the topic of newborn eye ointment.
(See separate resource page for Parenting Philosophies)
- New Mama Myths, Timara Freeman-Young: Dispelling some myths about new parenthood, Freeman-Young assures mothers that if everything isn’t going as you expected it would, you’re just like the rest of us.
- A Paper Pregnancy – Preparing for Adoption, by A Lovely Problem to Have: Taking a different perspective on Attachment Parenting International’s first principal, this article suggests ways that adoptive parents can prepare to welcome a child home.