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Books/Reading List

Page Last Updated: 05-Mar-2017

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Books Recommended by Mums who have contacted the BTA

Kim Thomas Birth TraumaBirth Trauma by Kim Thomas 

Recommended by Maureen

 The essential read on birth trauma written by Guardian journalist Kim Thomas. Tabitha's review on Amazon says it all:  'This   is a really important book for anyone who has had a difficult birth, the kind that haunts you months or even years  later  (which is probably a lot of mothers). I'm not aware of any other books which cover how to cope with a difficult birth or  longer-term problems relating to it. It is very readable, I sat down and read it in a few hours, and found it very cathartic  (having had a `difficult birth' myself). One of the best things about this book is that it contains lots of case-studies, telling  the stories of women who have had traumatic birth experiencesand had treatment either for post-traumatic stress disorder  or other problems. Their voices are really poignant and touching. 

 Buy this book

 

How to heal a bad birth coverHow to Heal a Bad Birth: making sense, making peace and moving on

Recommended by Emily Roffe-Silvester

For anyone that has experienced birth trauma, is supporting someone through birth trauma or is a professional dealing with birth or postpartum issues – this book is A MUST READ! The content is broken down methodically and is extremely easy to read.

It’s an incredibly versatile book and covers a wide range of emotional issues that are commonly experienced by survivors of birth trauma. Every person that reads this book will take away something beneficial that will help towards thier healing. The book takes you on a journey that allows you to unpack and unravel whatever feelings you are experiencing in your own time and pace.

Reading this book has been such an eye opener into my own experience, these revelations have been influential on my healing and recovery. I have found myself letting go of my self-blame and guilt much quicker after reading the book. I’ve been so impressed with the simple yet insightful revelations that this book has to offer, that during Birth Trauma Awareness week I helped to raise fund to support the purchasing of the book for 12 libraries!

This is now my go to gift for friends and family that experience birth trauma.

 Buy this book

Choosing Cesarean: A Natural Birth Plan

Choosing Cesarean: A Natural Birth Plan

 

Recommended by Maureen

Choosing Caesarean by Pauline Hull and Dr Magnus Murphy

This book is an absolute must read for all those who want to be fully informed about the risks and benefits of caesarean section. It is also extremely well researched and challenges the prevailing orthodoxy that a caesarean birth is something to be feared or always avoided. The risks of vaginal birth are different to caesarean birth but not necessarily higher or lower. The right choice is therefore going to be a personal one depending on individual risk factors and how women appraise those risks. The chapter on the 'Politics of Birth' is both fascinating and shocking. It rightly challenges the ideology that has been allowed to creep into maternity services. The demonisation of caesareans as the option for women 'too posh too push' is discussed and examples of research bias are revealed. This is a ground breaking work which every pregnant woman should read.

Buy This Book


Coping with Post-trauma Stress (Overcoming Common Problems)Recommended by Danielle

Coping with Post-trauma Stress (Overcoming Common Problems) by Frank Parkinson

"It's a very good book, written in plain english and easy to understand and whilst it does have a list of examples of traumatic events the author does state that it is not exhaustive and what is deemed a traumatic event can greatly vary from one person to another. As a sufferer of Post Natal PTSD, I found this very comforting as other PTSD books I have read only list the obvious things and it makes you feel a bit 'excluded' if that makes sense."

Buy This Book


Caesarean Birth: A Positive Approach to Preparation and RecoveryRecommended by Maureen Treadwell of the BTA

Caesarean Birth: A Positive Approach to Preparation and Recovery By Leigh East

This is one of the most balanced books on caesarean section that I have ever read. It is practical, evidence based and unique in that it looks at the caesarean issue from all the perspectives; those who want a caesarean; those who want to avoid one and those who have had one or will need one. It examines the physical and emotional dimensions and provides invaluable and detailed information on the risks of caesarean versus vaginal birth and how to recover quickly.

An absolute must read because as Leigh East, the author, points out in Chapter 2 'a caesarean is the possible outcome of every birth'.

Buy This Book


The Child, the Family, and the Outside WorldRecommended by Rebecca

The Child, the Family and the outside World by DW Winnicott

"I found this book helpful because it reinforces many of the beliefs I had subconsciously but had not been able to express - things like the mother really does know best and the family should assist in her efforts to bond with the baby etc."

Buy This Book


Birth Crisis

Birth Crisis by Sheila Kitzinger

Reviewed by Helen

"I read this book in one sitting the afternoon it arrived, waiting desperately for my toddler to fall asleep so I could read it in peace. Just reading the Contents page gave reassurance that the book spoke about the issues that were troubling me, and would provide some much-needed help with sorting through the confused thoughts that I have. On reading further I was not disappointed, but comforted, cheered, consoled, and strengthened by turns. I felt that I was not the odd one out, and was allowed and perfectly justified in feeling the way I did. There were a few sticky moments of panic reading some of the stories, but all in all, I found this book a huge relief to read. Well recommended."

Reviewed by Sarah

"I did not find this book helpful at all. In my view the book approaches birth trauma from the viewpoint that natural birth is best and that doctors are to be avoided. It makes medics sound hell bent on interfering with 'nature' and taking control of the birth from the woman. Given my own birth experience, which I really struggled to get over, this was very unhelpful and in my case also wrong. If I had done this I would be dead and my baby also. I think this book just proves the need for every woman to be treated individually and to make her own choices about how she gives birth. There can never be a one-size-fits-all when it comes to giving birth, although you wouldn't know it after reading this book."

Buy This Book


Down Came the Rain: A Mother's Story of Postnatal DepressionRecommended by Helen

Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields (Rating ***)

"Reassurance that it isn't about how pretty, famous, and rich you are- you can still suffer PND. Sadly familiar accounts of the real, shocking feelings that arrive in place of the fairytale ones you expected (contentment, joy, mellow love for your baby etc)."

Buy This Book


Feelings After Birth: The NCT Book of Postnatal DepressionRecommended by Helen

Feelings After Birth by Heather Welford (Rating **)

"This book has good explanations of why you might be feeling the way you do, and this is a relief when you're very confused, but it doesn't really answer the one question we all want to know; "When will I get better?"; this is left to the associations listed at the back, together with your family and friends."

Buy This Book


Coping With Postnatal Depression (Overcoming Common Problems)Suggested by Helen

Coping with Postnatal Depression by Dr Sandra L. Wheatley (Rating *****)

"This book "does what it says on the tin": helps you to cope. It explains PND and what it is, and why you might have it, but more than half of the book is devoted to helping you to help yourself. There are suggestions for tiny little things that make you feel better, that you can do even if it's a "can't brush my hair" day, and explanations of the big things to tackle, like therapy and anti-depressants. I found this book the most helpful in giving me coping tactics, where lots of other books are big on the science of why, but help was thin on the ground."

Buy This Book


Depression After Childbirth: How to Recognise, Treat, and Prevent Postnatal Depression: How to Recognize, Treat, and Prevent Postnatal DepressionSuggested by Helen

Depression After Childbirth" by Dr Katharina Dalton (Rating *)

"If you have a desperate need to know why, then this book has a lot of science, which always helps you to understand what's happening, so long as you have a science degree (luckily I have, but that's beside the point). At the beginning there is a list of 28 figures, the most esoteric of which must be: 10, The formulae for progesterone, norethisterone, and testosterone. Despite being a molecular biologist, knowing the molecular formulae for the hormones involved does not stop you crying because you're lonely, bored and hate your life. I think it might be useful for the professionals to read, but don't expect any hands-on real help."

Buy This Book


The Ghost In The House: Mothers, children and depressionSuggested by Helen

The Ghost in the House: Mothers, Children and Depression by Tracy Thompson (Rating ****)

This book is an absolute must read for all those who want to be fully informed about the risks and benefits of caesarean section. It is also extremely well researched and challenges the prevailing orthodoxy that a caesarean birth is something to be feared or always avoided. The risks of vaginal birth are different to caesarean birth but not necessarily higher or lower. The right choice is therefore going to be a personal one depending on individual risk factors and how women appraise those risks. The chapter on the 'Politics of Birth' is both fascinating and shocking. It rightly challenges the ideology that has been allowed to creep into maternity services. The demonisation of caesareans as the option for women 'too posh too push' is discussed and examples of research bias are revealed. This is a ground breaking work which every pregnant woman should read.

Buy This Book


The Best Friends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of MotherhoodSuggested by Helen

The Best Friend's Guide to Motherhood by Vivki Iovine (Rating ****)

"This book is on our side: at the front is a top ten list of the biggest shocks of childbirth, and number one is: How nobody ever told you how much it REALLY hurts to have a baby. A lighthearted book that nevertheless gets to grips with baby reality, written by a mum, with extra insight from her group of Best Friends. The PND chapter has real comfort and advice, delivered in a humorous, friendly way. It goes on to discuss the happy little stories of beautiful births that have nothing to do with reality, but cause so much grief when afterwards we didn't get our fairytale birth. A chapter on changed relationships helps make sense of the confusion over how a family fits into the space you filled as a couple."

This quote gives a flavour of the whole book:

"There are three types of new mothers.

  1. The type who give birth and resume their lives with confidence, clear thinking and enthusiasm.
  2. The type who give birth and wish that a fairy godmother would make the baby disappear and restore them to their former life;
  3. and The rest of us."

Buy This Book


Birthing from WithinSuggested by Hari

Birthing From Within by Pam England; Rob Horowitz

This is a fantastic book for anyone who is pregnant and has had a previous traumatic delivery. It is one of the few books that does not approach birth from a physiological perspective. It is full of interesting exercises to help you de-brief the trauma and prepare for your next birth. The book empathises and empowers some of the methods are practical such as using art in exploring birth and feelings around birth. But it also explores different experiences and attitudes to birth. This is a very kind book and the most useful tool I found when approaching birth for the second and third time - with some considerable trepidation. I highly recommend it.

Buy This Book


Other Books

Unless mentioned, the books below have not been reviewed by the Birth Trauma Association. If you read them and have a comment to make or would like to send in a review This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

Publisher?

If you are a publisher and you think you may have some interesting material to place on these pages, we would be happy to review any titles you would like to send us. Please send to: Birth Trauma Association, PO Box 671, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 9AT

 

 

 

The BTA Support Group

If you are a UK parent who has suffered birth trauma, please join our closed support group on Facebook

 

 

 

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