Don't let fear make your decisions for you. Read up!
I have most of these books available to lend to my students.
Here are some recommendations for books, websites and videos:
* a favorite of mine
Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May Gaskin*
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin
Born in the USA, by Marsden Wagner *
Pushed, by Jennifer Block *
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, by Susan McCutcheon
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Sarah Buckley*
Childbirth Without Fear, Grantly Dick-Read and Michael Odent
Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta, by Ina May Gaskin and Ani DiFranco
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth, by Henci Goer *
The Natural Pregnancy Book, by Jill Romm and Ina May Gaskin
Active Birth, by Janet Balaskas
Your Best Birth, by Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, and Jacques Moritz
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, by Susan Weed
Husband-Coached Childbirth, by Dr. Robert A. Bradley
Do you want solid research, with plenty of references and footnotes, even though it might rock your assumptions about obstetrics? If so, read: "Pushed", "Born in the USA", or "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth."
Do you want reassuring examples of wonderful births - some easy, some not? Read "Spiritual Midwifery."
Two I DON'T recommend are
What to Expect When You're Expecting (best title ever, though) and the "Girlfriend's Guides". Both presume that drugs are harmless and normal, and that doctors always know best. Besides, the tone's just too condescending.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th ed., by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West & T. Pitman, published by La Leche League*
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Answer Book, by Dr. Jack Newman
Medications and Mother's Milk, by Dr. Thomas Hale (This is one every pediatrician, obstetrician & GP ought to have; it's only $30 and is the definitive guide to prescriptions for pregnant or nursing women; many pharmacies have it on-line, and it's updated every other year.)
Defining your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery, Diana West
Baby and Child Care, by Dr. Spock
Orgasmic Birth *