Birth Books and Research ~ Birth Aims doula and breastfeeding mentor
A hub for all of your pregnancy, birth, parenting and breastfeeding information in one place, linking to high quality evidence, books and research.
Birth, Research, Books, Birth Aims, Doula, Informed, Evidence, Knowledge, Education, Breastfeeding, Parenting, Postnatal, Pregnancy
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Books and Research

With knowledge comes power

Books and Research on pregnancy, birth, parenting and breastfeeding

Books and research from a natural, respectful and gentle parenting perspective. These lists hold content on all things from pregnancy through to parenting, discipline and sleep arrangements. While books and research will not provide lived experience, they enable educated, informed and knowledgeable decision making.  Browse the resources below and should you find anything you feel is lacking, let me know!

A fantastic acronym to remember whenever making healthcare decisions! This acronym is especially useful during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum.


The BRAIN acronym is a wonderful tool and can help you to really delve into what information you have available. This ensures you make the most informed, educated and empowered decisions for you and your baby.


If you are in need of more information, read through the books and research and other resources below. Once you’re finished, if you have any further questions, let me know! I’m always happy to help.

Birth Aims Brain Acronym Informed Decision Making Tool


I have always been fascinated by the way that books and research slowly catch up with what we intuitively/instinctively know/do. Here are some research articles that explore various aspects of pregnancy, tests/interventions, birth and parenting. If you’re interested in the science behind various different aspects of pregnancy, birth and parenting, read below!

Routine Pregnancy Interventions/Tests
Group B Streptococcus
Based on current evidence from a UK based meta-analysis, the benefits of routine screening for GBS in late pregnancy may be outweighed by the potential harms/risks.  The reasoning behind this is that:
a) GBS screening is not an accurate method for predicting early onset GBS disease in newborns,
b) Under risk based prevention, 138,933 pregnant women were colonised with GBS at term, but only 350 neonates developed early onset GBS infection, meaning 99.8% of women would have been given prophylactic antiobiotics unnecessarily,
c) The provision of intrapartum (i.e. pregnancy) antibiotics alters the bacterial colonisation patterns in the early infant gut microbiome, which is critically important for metabolic and immunologic (i.e. immune system) processes throughout life.
Routine Birth Interventions
Lithgow Doula Birth Aims Newborn Baby Beautiful Waterbirth

  • Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing talks about how routine labour interventions disturb hormonal processes, reduce their benefits and create new challenges. In summary, it suggests that avoiding labour interventions where possible would be wise, and has significant flow on effects for behaviour, morbidity, long term health and epigenetics (Dr Sarah Buckley, 2015)

Breastfeeding Research

  • Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Support Lactation Consultancy
Sleep Training, Bed Sharing and Cosleeping
Birth Aims Doula Settling Support Newborn Sleep Sleeping
Human evolution and physiology has geared us towards sleeping with and/or near our infants (Ball et al., 2019). Many parents feel very concerned about sleeping with their infants because of potential increased risk of suffocation and/or SIDS. However, almost all bed-sharing deaths occur when other risk factors are present, including maternal tobacco or substance use, an otherwise impaired parent sharing the bed or incorrect sleeping positions (Blabey and Gessner, 2009). It is also important to acknowledge that there are differences in co-sleeping (sharing a room) and bed-sharing (sharing a sleep surface).

Sleep behaviour is intimately linked with breathing patterns, changes in sleep architecture, body temperature and maternal physiology and behaviour, and bed sharing babies experience fewer obstructive apneas (McKenna, 2014; Richard, Mosko and McKenna, 1998). Furthermore, breastfeeding provides a protective effect against SIDS, and cosleeping improves rates of breastfeeding, so we need to find a way forward towards ‘breastsleeping’ not being demonised and support being provided for families who choose this sleep arrangement (Marinelli et al., 2019; Volpe, Ball and McKenna, 2013). In order to establish and maintain breastfeeding, and increase breastmilk supply, infants do tend to wake frequently in the night (Kent et al., 2006) which has the added benefits of protection against SIDS (McKenna and McDade, 2005; Gettler and McKenna, 2011) and easy resettling due to breastmilk containing substances that assist sleep for mum and baby (Sanchez et al., 2009). Infants and mothers awaken at similar times, creating inter-connected, mutually dependent, synchronous wakings (Mosko, Richard and McKenna, 1997). McKenna and Joyce provide a beautiful summary of why babies do not and should not have to sleep alone (McKenna and Joyce, 2008) whether that involves cosleeping (sharing a bed room) or bed sharing (sharing a sleep surface).

Many parents feel that in order to obtain more sleep, they must ‘sleep train’ their babies. Sleep training does not improve outcomes for mothers or babies in the first 6 months of life (Douglas and Hill, 2013). Sleep training results in elevated levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol, even long term after sleep training has occurred (Middlemiss et al., 2012). Alignment between children’s circadian physiology and parent-initiated bed times improve settling and reduce nighttime sleep difficulties in early childhood (LeBourgeois et al., 2013). For gentle techniques for settling babies during the day and night, I highly recommend the “No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. Dr. James McKenna is also a wonderful resource and provides some great links too.

The Science of Discipline
The Science of Discipline

Suggested Books

Babies aren’t born with an instruction manual (unfortunately). Indeed, it’d be bigger than the baby if they were! However, the right books and research can help you on your journey. By reading you can explore various different parenting methods and learn about different pregnancy and birth interventions. This will give you a head-start in knowing what to look for, and what you might want, from your journey. Being informed provides you the best opportunity for positive pregnancy, birth and parenting experiences.

Pregnancy & Birth


  • Birthing from Within, by Pam England – A book providing a holistic approach to childbirth, providing activities to encourage the act of self-discovery.
  • Birth Skills, by Juju Sundin – A book providing information, tools and techniques for use during childbirth, giving insight into the labour process.
  • Birth With Confidence, by Rhea Dempsey – Reorients ideas around pain, delves into the Australian maternity system and gives tips for natural birth.
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Dr Sarah Buckley – Provides evidence based discussion around pregnancy, birth and parenting, and routine interventions.
  • Give Birth Like A Feminist, by Milli Hill – An informative look into the history of birth and an exploration of the outdated conventions that have resulted in maternity systems around the world today.
  • HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method, by Marie Mongan – Guides you through normal, gentle birthing, promoting guided imagery and breathing techniques.
  • Ina May‘s Guide to Childbirth – Explore the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies.
  • Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May Gaskin – The classic book on home birth that introduced a whole generation of women to the concept of natural childbirth.
  • Ten Moons, by Jane Hardwicke Collings – Inner journey of pregnancy and preparation for natural birth.
  • The Birth Map, by Catherine Bell – A book enabling construction of a birth map, outlining your informed choices for birth, through Birth Cartography.
  • The Positive Birth Book, by Milli Hill – A book detailing how you can obtain your most ideal birth, exploring your rights in birth and current information.
  • The Down to Earth Birth Book, by Jenny Blythe – A a practical guide to natural birth in any setting, promoting self-nurturing, responsibility and awareness.

Postpartum, Parenting and Breastfeeding


  • Baby Led Weaning, by Gill Rapley – An informative and supportive book that steps you through transitioning your baby to solid foods.
  • Beyond The Sling, by Mayim Bialik – A beautiful book about connected, attachment parenting techniques.
  • Breastfeeding…naturally, by the Australian Breastfeeding Association – Provides education and support around breastfeeding your baby.
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Dr Sarah Buckley – Provides evidence based discussion around pregnancy, birth and parenting, and routine interventions.
  • Ina May‘s Guide to Breastfeeding – Everything you need to know to make breastfeeding a joyful, natural, and richly fulfilling experience.
  • No Bad Kids, by Janet Landsbury – A great guide to reframing your childs behabiour, and better understanding and connecting with your children.
  • Parenting By Heart, by Pinky McKay – A gorgeous guide to parenting your children, without force.
  • The Down to Earth Birth Book, by Jenny Blythe – A a practical guide to natural birth in any setting, promoting self-nurturing, responsibility and awareness.
  • The No Cry Sleep Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley – A great series of books (for sleep, naps, toddlers, discipline, eating etc) to help you gently transition your baby to sleeping longer.
  • The Whole Brain Child, by Daniel Siegel – An in depth look into the development of a child’s brain, encouraging kindness as our children navigate childhood.