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Our Favorite Books For Childbirth Educators

Our Favorite Books For Childbirth Educators

We gathered a group of birth experts together to help us choose the required reading for our childbirth educators. Their selections are amazing and we highly recommend them. Reading all of these books is a big commitment, but it will give the reader a well rounded basis from which to teach about childbirth from pregnancy to the newborn period.  

As a childbirth educator, these books are also great to be familiar with so you can make recommendations to students who want to know more. Some students will really resonate with Dr Sears, while others will devour Henci Goer.

Below is our required reading list for childbirth educators and some discussion about why we chose each particular book.

If you have had an amazing natural birth and are interested in sharing that passion with the world as a childbirth educator, we invite you to apply and join us! With the addition of our five new instructor trainers, it is now easier than ever to find a birth teacher training near you. We strive to build a supportive community of women who refer to one another and help each other grow as childbirth educators and we would LOVE to have you join us!


We begin with a book focusing on pregnancy because we believe this is where you can lay the foundations for a healthy birth.

The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts, 2013 by Dr. Sears

We think laying the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy is so important we have a class that totally focuses on this and a thread that follows through all classes after. The focus on nutrition and overall pregnancy healthy found in Dr Sears’ book is fabulous, modern, researched, and it lays great groundwork for healthy pregnancy and birth.


Approachable and easy to read yet full of great content, The Healthy Pregnancy Book is a great one for the budding childbirth educator- and her students.


Naturally, we have a lot of focus in our reading on the actual birth process.

Heart and Hands, Fifth Edition: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, by Elizabeth Davis

Heart and Hands is often used as a midwifery textbook, it is that in-depth and detailed. This wonderful book, written by long time Northern California midwife, Elizabeth Davis, covers everything from pelvis shape to what you can expect from a typical home visit with a midwife. This book gives the budding childbirth educator a strong background in the birth process itself and even the seasoned birth worker one can learn much. Also, it lends itself well as a reference should questions come up in class.

Our Favorite Books For Childbirth Educators

Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach, by Henci Goer

All of Henci Goer’s books are in-depth, technical, and heavy on research. Optimal Care is the most recent and possibly most exhaustive of her writings and gives excellent background in evidence based care for the modern woman.

This book does take time to read, but it is very important not only for good background knowledge but as a reference when wondering what the current research supports in the realm of birth. Optimal Care in Childbirth is one to keep on your shelf and look through often.

The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library), Dr. Sears

You will find several Dr Sears books on our reading list for instructors as he was highly influential in our founder, Donna Ryan, getting interested and then becoming a passionate supporter of natural birth.

The Birth Book is easy to read, has great illustrations, and is non-judgmental in its execution. It gives a nice history and background to childbirth for those just learning but even the experienced childbirth worker can benefit from this book and will find that it is one to recommend or loan out on a regular basis.

Those students who are still “on the fence” about attempting a natural birth can find comfort in the birth stories and wisdom from this Harvard educated doctor and RN wife. The Birth Book is a must-have in your lending library.

Our Favorite Books For Childbirth Educators


Of course, birth classes, while they focus on birth, are all in preparation for that sweet baby. A few of our books focus on basic, gentle parenting.

The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Sears Parenting Library), Dr Sears

While our educators don’t focus on infant care in all their classes, a good basis in attachment parenting theory and practice can be very helpful. Often those seeking out a comprehensive, natural birth focused class are also interested in forming a strong attachment with their baby through baby-wearing and breastfeeding.

The Baby Book has helpful information paired with real life stories, but more than anything, it can help parents learn to tune in to their own intuition and raise their particular child in the best way. Because our childbirth classes help couples learn to trust their own bodies and tune in to the natural process, this book is an extension of that. Once again, it’s a great lending book for your library.

Breastfeeding Made Simple, Mohrbacher, Kendall-Tackett, and Newman

Breastfeeding Made Simple does just that- it helps make the task of breastfeeding, of which there are countless books written, approachable and gives real moms real steps for achieving the nursing relationship they want with their own infant.

Breastfeeding Made Simple recognizes that some of the problems we have with breastfeeding stem from modern life, modern birth, and a modern lack of understanding of the basic needs of boththe mother and baby in the breastfeeding relationship.

This book helps the birth teacher with an understanding of the biologically normal act of breastfeeding and may even help her correct any incorrect information she may have acquired along the way, since bad breastfeeding information is easy to find.


Two of our books focus on special circumstances, or things that can impact birth but may not always be talked about.

Our Favorite Books For Childbirth Educators

When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women, Simkin and Klaus

When Survivors Give Birth is, in many ways, a tragic book. Both because it needs to be written and because the birth environment is such that we must teach birth workers how to be kind and thoughtful in regards to birthing women.

Not only does When Survivors Give Birth help the childbirth educator better understand that birthing women come from a variety of places as they approach birth, it helps us see that our history can deeply impact how we view and experience this process.

*Note- this book can be triggering for survivors.*

Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America, Morris

Cut it Out is a brilliant book, written by a sociologist and professor, which examines the rise in cesarean section from this intellectual point of view- as a structural issue. With accurate data throughout, Dr. Morris walks us through the real reasons we are facing a 30%+ cesarean section rate in America.

But this book is so much more than a discussion of why we have so many cesareans. Dr. Morris also gives real life solutions that can help curb these numbers. Sensitive to both the women experiencing these sometimes unwanted surgeries and to the crushing demands put on modern obstetricians, this book is a must read that will open your eyes and help you see better- and see solutions.


We hope this beginning list of books for the aspiring childbirth educator will help inspire and educate you. You can click here to read all the requirements for becoming a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator.

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