Our top three recommended reads...

InaMays-GuideToChildbirthIna Mays Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin    
Buy from HBA - Available in HBA Library - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository  
Well known for the seminal work, Spiritual Midwifery, her new book, Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth, is now available. It inspires women to take back the fear of childbirth by regaining confidence in their bodies and assuring them - your body still works!


Engand-BirthingFromWithinBirthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz    
Buy from HBA - Available in HBA Library - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository  
This holistic approach to childbirth examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event, but as an act of self-discovery.  Fantastic section for dads.

Balaskas-ActiveBirthActive Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally  by Janet Balaskas   
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Revised edition of Active Birth is an inspiring book. She is writing to the lay public, to women anticipating a birth. However, this well written, informative and energetic book should be read by health professionals as well.


More general home birth recommended books

InaMaySpiritualMidwiferySpiritual Midwifery  by Ina May Gaskin    
Buy from HBA - Available in HBA Library - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Here is the 4th edition of the classic book on home birth that introduced a whole generation of women to the concept of natural childbirth. Back again are even more amazing birthing tales, including those from women who were babies in earlier editions and stories about Old Order Amish women attended by the Farm midwives.Here is the 4th edition of the classic book on home birth that introduced a whole generation of women to the concept of natural childbirth. Back again are even more amazing birthing tales, including those from women who were babies in earlier editions and stories about Old Order Amish women attended by the Farm midwives.

InaMay-BirthMattersBirth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta by Ina May Gaskin   
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Renowned for her practice's exemplary results and low intervention rates, Ina May Gaskin has gained international notoriety for promoting natural birth. She is a much-beloved leader of a movement that seeks to stop the hyper-medicalization of birth—which has lead to nearly a third of hospital births in America to be cesarean sections — and renew confidence in a woman's natural ability to birth. Upbeat and informative

Kitzinger-BirthYourWayBirth Your Way by Sheila Kitzinger
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Explores options of natural birth

Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger    
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Kitzinger's book helps women learn about taking back their bodies from the male-oriented medical business, respecting the ancient vocation of midwifery, and helping each other during a pregnancy.

Kitzinger-HomebirthHomebirth and other alternatives to hospital by Sheila Kitzinger   
Out of print, but highly recommended for anyone considering homebirth, or simply interested in the beautiful process of childbirth.

Simkon-TheBirthPartnerThe Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin    
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
A guide for those who wish to help a woman have a positive childbirth experience. It provides information about: techniques and medications for easing labor pain; tests and treatments of the fetus and newborn; strategies to help labor progress; medical procedures; and, how to best help the mother during the early postpartum period.

Goer-TheThinkingWomansThe Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer   
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Offers clear, concise information on alternative birthing methods * choosing a birth location * drugs and delivery * elective induction * professional labor support * and much more

Leboyer-BirthWithoutViolenceBirth without Violence: Revised Edition by Frederic Leboyer    
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Birth without Violence is a work of art.

Davis-HeartAndHandsHeart & Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy & Birth by Elizabeth Davis   
Buy on Amazon 
A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, is not just for midwives. It's an excellent and thorough resource for parents-to-be who are thinking about delivering their child with a midwife, or who are concerned about the medical establishment's over-control of birth.

Wesson-HomeBirthHome Birth: a Practical Guide by Nicky Wesson     
Buy from HBA - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Striking a perfect balance of practical information, compelling personal stories and research evidence, leading childbirth educator Nicky Wesson shows how giving birth to your baby in your own home can be the most exciting and fulfilling thing you ever do.

Murphy-Lawless-ReadingBirthAndDeathReading Birth & Death: a History Of Obstetric Thinking by Jo Murphy-Lawless     
Buy from HBA - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
This book is a must-read! I've been involved in maternity care reform (and revolution!) for thirty-one years, and Murphy-Lawless' book makes crystal-clear just how destructive and repressive obstetrics has been for women historically, and why most women today have been seduced by so-called "scientific obstetrics," their birthing experiences taken from them in so many ways. It pinpoints over and over again just how women's strengths, flexibility, emotional and physical abilities to bear their children have been denied them systematically for three hundred years. This book, rich with factual research, gives us a great deal of knowledge and strength, for once we understand the forces that fashioned modern obstetrical practice, we can regain the power and the strength to fashion a world in which we become the subjects, the "agents" of our own experiences, mainly by asserting that having children is a complex, profound event of life and health. Listen to the birthing stories of the women you know. Listen to what they say, and what they are not saying. See where they have felt strong, or felt that something important has been taken away from them. Examine your own strengths, and your own fears in the light of the information in this book. Have a wonderful read!

Kitzinger-NewExperienceOfChildbirthThe New Experience Of Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger     
Buy from HBA - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Childbirth is one of the most important and powerful events in a woman's life - and yet many women look back on it as an ordeal. Sheila Kitzinger, acknowledged around the world as an expert in the psychological, social and physiological aspects of birth, has rewritten her first book for today's women. Herself a mother of five, all born at home, she believes that birth can be a positive and deeply satisfying experience. She co-created the teacher training scheme of the National Childbirth Trust, and was the first person to introduce couple's classes, pregnancy and postnatal counselling, and birth companions to give personal support and help in childbirth. Written with warmth, elegance and understanding, The New Experience Of Childbirth explores emotional as well as the physical elements in childbirth and is essential reading for every mother- (and father-) to be.

Water Birth 

Balaskas-WaterBirthWater Birth: The Concise Guide to Using Water During Pregnancy Birth, and Infancy by Janet Balaskas and Yehudi Gordon
Written for expectant parents and their birth attendants, this book provides practical information on the use of water through pregnancy, birth and during infancy. The benefits of using water are now being widely recognized and birth pools are to be found in increasing numbers of hospitals. This book provides encouragement and all the necessary advice for parents contemplating a water birth and the midwives who will attend in labour.  Currently out of print.

Johnson-WeAreAllWaterBabiesWe Are All Water Babies by Jessica Johnson and Michel Odent    
Jessica Johnson and Michael Odent have created a fascinating exploration of our links with water from birth to death. Johnson has captured remarkable images of underwater births, pregnant women swimming with dolphins, and infants and babies swimming underwater--eyes open, breath held, delighted...   Currently out of print.

Beech-WaterBirthUnpluggedWater Birth Unplugged: Proceedings of the First International Water Birth Conference by Beverley A. Lawrence Beech
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
It comprises a collection of chapters covering all aspects of waterbirth as well as a look at how waterbirth practices differ around the world. The topics include: Why a waterbirth? - Marsden Wagner, Janet Balaskas and Michel Odent; the physiology of waterbirth - Gerd Eldering and Konrad Selke and Paul Johnson; Waterbirth and the family - Jayn Ingrey and Roger Lichy; Technology and childbirth - Beverley Lawrence Beech and Rosemary Jenkins; Waterbirth and the mid-wife - Caroline Flint, Cass Nightingale and Dianne Garland; Waterbirth and the obstetician - Jole Muscat, Michael Adam, Patrick Snora, Michael J Rosenthal and Faith Haddad; Waterbirth internationally - Athena Vassie, Piera Maghella and Anne Uller; and, Waterbirth - the way forward - Judy Bothamley, Joanne Chadwick, Yehudi Gordon, and Lesley Page.

The Waterbirth Handbook: The Gentle Art of Waterbirthing by Dr. Roger Lichy and Eileen Herzberg
Currently out of print

Irish specific books

Donegan-TheBetterBirthBookThe Better birth Book by Tracy Donegan    
Tracy explores the birth options available to women in Ireland.

OConnor-EmergencyIrishHospitalsInChaosEmergency: Irish Hospitals in Chaos by Marie O'Connor    
Chapter 6, Heart of Darkness and chapter 8 on the centralisiation of birth, The Industrial Revolution, which opens with a searing interview with a casualty of active management.

OConnor-BodilyHarmBodily Harm: symphysiotomy and pubiotomy in Ireland 1944-92 by Marie O Connor    
A pelvic operation carried out during childbirth which left women with lifelong problems breached their constitutional rights and was unlawful, according to a this book published 2011.

Women and Birth Study by Marie O Connor    
Available in HBA Library

Children's books

Runa'sBirthRuna's birth by Uwe Spillmann
Buy from HBA - Buy on Amazon
A home birth story for children


Allen-MiscarriageMiscarriage : Women Sharing from the Heart by Marie Allen    
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
This candid and poignant book helps you understand and work through your deepest feelings and concerns and, most importantly, reassures you that you are not alone.

Lerner-MiscarriageMiscarriage: Why it Happens and How Best to Reduce Your Risks by Henry Lerner and Alice Domar   
Buy on Book Depository

Berezin-AfterALossAfter a Loss in Pregnancy by Nancy Berezin    
Out of print


Other useful books to read

LLL-TheWomanlyArtOfBreastfeedingThe Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International     
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository - Also available at any La Leche League meeting
This is the 7th edition of the big book on breastfeeding, written by the experts at La Leche League International

Jackson-ThreeInABedThree in a Bed by Deborah Jackson     
Buy from HBA - Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
This book offers an alternative: taking your baby to bed with you. Drawing on up-to-date and startling new evidence, the author shows how babies who sleep with their parents benefit by getting virtually a full night's sleep. Three in a Bed also includes a fully revised chapter based on new research on the SIDS debate and includes practical information on safety in the bed and how to deal with the moment when the baby leaves his parents' bed. The approach advocated in this book can change the life of any parent struggling with getting their baby to sleep through the night.

Odent-TheScientificationOfLoveThe Scientification of Love by Michel Odent    
Buy on Amazon - Buy on Book Depository
Why do all cultures ritually disrupt the first contact between mother and new-born baby? Why has there hitherto been an evolutionary advantage in developing human potential for aggression rather than the capacity to love? Until recently love was the realm of poets, artists and philosophers.


The Heart in the Womb by Amalia Lokugamage

Buy on Amazon Buy on Book Depository

The Heart in the Womb is a book by Dr Amali Lokugamage, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at a London hospital and keynote speaker at the Homebirth Association of Ireland's Conference 2014. It looks at birth as a social phenomenon rather than a isolated and medical complication.

"As a consultant obstetrician who gave birth at home, Amali Lokugamage is unique. No wonder that her book is also unique and should be read by a large public." Dr Michel Odent