I received an advance copy of this book at no cost to facilitate my review; however all opinions remain my own. The following article contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission if you purchase something at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy.
I’m a huge natural childbirth geek. I’ve read a ton of books, took the Bradley method, had two natural births (read Ethan’s birth story, and Audrey’s), and have a pinterest board dedicated to it. I’ve seen a lot. But one thing that has been serious lacking is a week by week guide from a natural perspective. There’s quite a few books with a week by week update, but all of them from a more medicalized point of view – which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for.
Luckily, Mama Natural has us covered with the release of her new book, The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Even though I gave birth less than 6 weeks ago, I’ve been reading this book nonstop (never stop learning!) It’s packed full of natural based information, beautiful illustrations, and the same sense of humor and voice that Genevieve “Mama Natural” is known for.
The book is broken up week by week beginning with week 1 of pregnancy, and continuing through weeks 40+, with chapters on birth, newborn interventions, breastfeeding, and child loss. Each chapter is easy to get through, making this an easily digestable book during a time when many families are busy. Throughout the book are segments written by a midwife and doula, providing extra insight into the chapter’s contents.
Each of the chapters follows a familiar routine covering what’s going on with mama, and baby, and then diving into a topic appropriate for the week. There are so many great topics in this book, it would be easy to get lost in if it weren’t divided up.
Vegans and vegetarians will notice that the recipes are scattered throughout the book are less than animal friendly. Many of them can however, be modified to fit in with this lifestyle. My only real complaint with the book is A section written by the nurse/midwife on vegetarian/veganism felt less than supportive, although she does offer alternatives to nutrients key to a growing pregnancy.
One surprising thing about this book is the laissez-faire attitude towards circumcision. Howland presents both pros and cons of the circumcision argument and in the end leaves it up to the reader to do more research and decide for themselves on this procedure. Circumcision is a very controversial topic right now – even in the natural community, and it seems as if she has erred on the side of caution, without recommending one way or the other (indeed it’s a topic I have also avoided writing about in the past). It’s just surprising that a natural minded book doesn’t explicitly condemn the practice of routine infant circumcision.
Update: Mama Natural has stated that the next edition of her book will contain an expanded section on circumcision and more information on the benefits of being intact. See below.
Overall, I love this natural take on a week by week pregnancy countdown. It’s beautifully illustrated and contains a trove of information that is broken down into easily digestable chapters. It is a must have book for natural minded mama to bes, childbirth educators and doulas alike (not sure what a doula is? Find out in this book!)
The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth is available on Amazon.com (affiliate link) and hopefully will be in a physical retailer near you very soon.