Though there are hundreds of wonderful companies, I am recommending mostly local-to-me providers whom I know personally and trust implicitly. If they are listed here, it is because I use their products and love them!

Caryn Simon: A local source of homemade herbal products. I use Caryn’s lip balms all year round. They’re the best I’ve ever found.

Indigo Forest: A local shop that offers herbs and homeopathic remedies, books, and assorted products for the childbearing year.

Jennifer Elliott – Life’s Journey: Audio CDs for pregnant women and new mothers. Toronto-based business.

Little Seedling: A one-stop shop for all sorts of cloth diapering systems plus everything else you could possibly need to be an environmentally-friendly parent.

Palumba: A local source for wooden toys and natural baby products. Their wooden teething ring is a must-have for new babies. Doulas of North America is a great resource for interested doulas and clients. With annual conference dates, a database of certified doulas across the globe, and plenty of information on certification and why a doula is right for you, this is a wonderful resource to begin your search. Birth Arts International is a great source for finding a holistically-trained doula. The American College of Nurse Midwives provides extensive information on finding a nurse-midwife and certification for becoming a nurse-midwife. The Lamaze International’s mission statement is to “promote a natural, healthy, and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.” Their website provides the locations of local Lamaze centers, childbirth educator resources, weekly pregnancy newsletters, and a Q&A forum. Midwives Association of North America provides resources for midwives and women interested in hiring a midwife about the practice of midwifery in Northern America.


Bachner, Elizabeth. 2010. Pregnancy Questions: How to Use Blue and Black Cohosh to Induce Labor.3.5 min. Available at

Birth in the Squatting Position. DVD, 10 min. Available from or

Carroll, Lauren Axen. 2009. Acupressure Points to Induce Labor/Labor Induction: Leg and Foot Points.3.5 min. Available at

Harper, Barbara. 1999. Birth into Being: The Russian Waterbirth Experience. Wilsonville, OR: Global Maternal Child Health Association. VHS, 28 min.

Lake, Ricki (producer), and Abby Epstein (director). The Business of Being Born. 2008. 84 min. Available for instant rental at

Maraesa, Aminata. Woman to Woman. 2003. 26 min. Available for instant rental at

Newman, Jack, with Edith Kernerman. Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding. DVD. Available at


Birth Meditations

Elliott, Jennifer. 2004. Birth with Calm and Confidence. Toronto: Life’s Journey. Audio

Garth, Maureen. 1991. Starbright: New Meditations for Children. New York: HarperOne.

———. 1997. Earthlight: New Meditations for Children. New York: HarperCollins.

Naparstek, Belleruth. 1999. A Guided Meditation for Healing Trauma (PTSD). Health Journeys. Akron, OH: Health Journeys. Audio CD.


American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth. Information on the Bradley Method of childbirth and links to Bradley Method childbirth educators.

Birth Network National An organization to empower women’s birth choices that focuses on mother-friendly, evidence-based maternity care.

Doulas of North America (DONA) International. DONA is a professional organization for birth and postpartum doulas. Visit the website to learn more about doulas and to find one in your area.

HypnoBirthing Institute,, and Hypnobabies, Information on hypnosis for childbirth and links to classes.

International Cesarean Awareness Network. This website provides information about preventing unnecessary cesareans, advice on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and access to local chapters and professional members in your community.

International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). The ICEA is a professional organization for childbirth educators and doulas who believe in family-centered maternity care. Use the website to find an ICEA-certified educator or doula in your area.

La Leche League International. The website of La Leche League provides breastfeeding information, personal online breastfeeding help, mother-to-mother forums, and access to local leaders and support groups. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine provides recent publications and studies on alternative medicine, as well as an encyclopedia of health topics. Here, you can find information on herbal supplements, pain relievers, and other natural remedies for a variety of uses during and after your pregnancy.

Noveli, Christa. 2003. “Treating Group B Strep: Are Antibiotics Necessary?” Mothering, November–December.

Balaskas, Janet. 1992. Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally, revised edition.Boston: Harvard Common Press.

England, Pam. 1998. Birthing From Within. Albuquerque, NM: Partera Press.

Gaskin, Ina May. 2011. Birth Matters. New York: Seven Stories Press.

Gaskin, Ina May. 2003. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. New York: Bantam.

Goer, Henci. 1999. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. New York: Berkley Publishing Group.

Gurevich, Rachel. 2003. The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant. Roseville, CA: Prima Lifestyles.

Lake, Rick and Epstein, Abby. 2010. Your Best Birth. New York: Wellness Central.

Lieberman, Adrienne B. 1992. Easing Labor Pain: The Complete Guide to a More Comfortable and Rewarding Birth, Boston: Harvard Common Press. Naparstek, Belleruth. 2004. Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal. New York: Bantam Books.

Simkin, Penny. 2008. The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions. 3rd ed. Boston: Harvard Common Press.

Sperlich, M., and J. S. Seng. 2008. Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse. Eugene, OR: Motherbaby Press.

Walters, Johanne C., and Karis Crawford. 1996. Natural Birth after Cesarean: A Practical Guide.Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Science.

Pregnancy and Baby Products:
Indigo Forest: A local shop that offers herbs and homeopathic remedies, books, and assorted products for the childbearing year.

Palumba: beautiful, handmade products. Lots of wooden toys.

Little Seedling: Baby clothes, carriers, cloth diapers. All the organic and eco-friendly products you could imagine.

Caryn Simon: wonderful, home-grown, home-made herbal products.


Childbirth Education:
Kate Stroud: Massage Therapy and Childbirth education: independent childbirth educator.

Center for Childbearing Year: childbirth education classes and other classes.

Lamaze Family Center of Ann Arbor: an independent Lamaze center that focuses on natural hospital birth preparation classes.

Lisa Saaf, Hypnobirthing in Ann Arbor:


Midwives of Michigan:
New Moon Midwifery:

Trillium Birth Services:

U-M Midwives:

ABC Birth Center at Providence:

Birth Center at Okemos:

Friends of Michigan Midwives (FOMM):


Doulas of Southeast Michigan (alphabetically) (I know all these women personally and recommend them):

Beth Barbeau: 734-994-8010

Krista Dragun: 734-945-5790

Cynthia Jackson:

Caryn Simon: 734-646-1351

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I also was able to craft a one-page birth plan by using Gabriel’s anecdotes, examples, and suggestions about birth plans. I feel confident that even if I didn’t switch providers, I could have the birth I want in any typical hospital.

Even for mothers who decide against completely natural childbirths, this book is still very valuable in psychologically preparing you for a life-changing experience. Had I read it in the past and followed Dr. Gabriel’s recommendations, I may well have prevented my own C-section.

After reading, underlining, and re-reading Cynthia’s book, I felt so empowered that I could make informed decisions throughout the childbirth process given all of the knowledge I had now gained. 


Natural Hospital Birth

Published By Harvard Common Press

Natural Hospital Birth

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