Written by Genevieve Howland, of Mama Natural, this book was released in 2017 as the first, naturally-leaning weekly pregnancy guide on the market. It effectively covers all three trimesters and the early postpartum period. Additionally, it provides extensive lists of questions when selecting a care provider, birth location, and doula and bonus content sprinkled throughout.
For moms seeking a more-natural journey into motherhood, this is a great resource. The Mama Natural Guide offers a comprehensive look at pregnancy and childbirth. Each chapter includes notes of specific questions surrounding a certain topic along with colorful illustrations. You’ll also find recipes and thoughts from prenatal experts scattered throughout.
Some of the topics addressed include:
- Weekly body and baby changes
- Early pregnancy concerns
- Prenatal nutrition
- Prenatal exercise
- Morning sickness
- Screening care providers
- Pregnancy emotions
- Sleep and sleep challenges
- Routine tests
- Maternity fashion
- Baby registry items
- Childbirth education options
- High-risk pregnancies
- Birth plans
- Coping with labor pains
- Newborn tests and screenings
- And more!
What do I like about it?
The Mama Natural Guide takes a holistic look at pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. It effectively provides moms with a plethora of resources to make evidence-based decisions. Additionally, it incorporates thoughts throughout from a midwife, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant.
Why is this book different from other weekly guides?
Unlike most prenatal guides, this book presents the pros and cons of various decisions that moms need to make throughout pregnancy and postpartum. This empowers each mom to identify the best option for her unique situation without feeling pressured one way or another.
While The Mama Natural Guide heavily assumes a natural perspective, it is done so in a moderate fashion. None of the concepts presented represent an extremely “crunchy” or “hippy” perspective, which makes it very applicable to the natural-leaning mom.
What don’t I like about this book?
While this is truly the most natural, weekly pregnancy guide that I have come across, I would consider it a more mainstream resource. The material isn’t especially relevant to moms who are extremely “crunchy” or seeking an out-of-hospital birth. Likewise, this book doesn’t provide extensive value for mothers who have previously experienced a naturally-minded pregnancy and labor in any setting.
With the extensive number of topics covered, it is no surprise that this resource is limited in the depth of information presented. While the materials presented are well thought through, it does lack any substantial science or research. For some moms, this may translate to the information lacking credibility or only presenting part of the story.
Who would I recommend this book to?
- First-time moms who aren’t especially crunchy or familiar with labor.
- Moms seeking a naturally-minded pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience under the care of an OBGYN or CNM in a hospital-based practice.
- Moms who are new to the natural birth world and want to explore alternative options without straying from standard care.
What are the best resources for moms who are extremely crunchy or planning a homebirth?
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
- Childbirth Without Fear by Grantley Dick-Reed
- A Thinking Woman’s Guide to A Better Birth
- The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm
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