Required Reading

Reading is a requirement in order to complete your training and obtain certification. The number of books you must read is dependent on which program you are enrolled in, so be sure to check the appropriate training page to find out how many you must read. Books marked with an asterisk (*) are required, while unmarked books are suggested. CAPPA suggests you read books on the subjects you are least familiar with. Many of the books listed below can be purchased in our shop.

Labor Doula


You are required to read a minimum of nine (9) books in addition to the CAPPA Labor Doula Manual, The Understanding Birth, and The Understanding Breastfeeding booklets.

You must read at least one (1) book from the first 5 categories. Optimally, you should read at least one (1) book from each section. Always check to make certain you are reading the most current edition of each book.

General Reading
(Every student must read the following)

Labor Support Skills
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • The Birth Partner (Penny Simkin)
  • The Labor Progress Handbook 4th Edition (Simkin and Ancheta)
  • Mindful Birthing (Nancy Bardacke)
  • Shared Decision Making: Bringing Birth Back into The Hands of Mothers (Dr. B Bootsaylor)
  • The Mama Bamba Way (Robyn Sheldon)
  • Queer Birth: A Queer Doula's Guide to Supporting LGBTQIA+ Folks Through Pregnancy and Birth (Caroline Huntley Coxe)
  • Having Your Baby (Hutcherson with Williams)

Pregnancy & Birth
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • The Greatest Pregnancy Ever (Wilson and Peters)
  • The Attachment Pregnancy (Wilson and Peters)
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth & The Newborn (Simkin, Whalley and Kepler)
  • Optimal Care in Childbirth (Goer and Romano)
  • The Mother of All Pregnancy Books (Ann Douglas)
  • Healthy Beginnings: Giving Your Baby The Best Start From Preconception To Birth (Lalonde, Schuurmans, Senikas)
  • The Mocha Manual to A Fabulous Pregnancy (Kimberley Seals-Allers)
  • Black, Pregnant and Loving It (Yvette Allen Campbell)
  • Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy (Latham Thomas)
  • Pride and Joy: A Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Parents (Sarah & Rachel Hagger-Holt)
  • The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-Conception Through Birth (Rachel Pepper)
  • Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum (January Harshe)
  • Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth (England and Horowitz)
  • Video Option (If you decide to view a video for the Pregnancy & Birth category, only one of the choices below will be accepted for completion. Feel free to watch both for your own learning purposes!):
    • Business of Being Born (Ricky Lake)
    • More Business of Being Born (Ricky Lake)

Health Equity
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • It’s the little things (Lena Williams)
  • How to Be an Antiracist (Ibrim X. Kendi)
  • Me and White Supremacy: A Guided Journal (Layla Saad)
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor (Layla Saad)
  • Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  • The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing (Anneliese A. Singh)
  • From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation (Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor)
  • The Wellbeing Handbook for Overcoming Everyday Racism: How to be Resilient in the Face of Discrimination and Microaggressions (Susan Cousins)
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (Beverly Daniel Tatum)
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Audre Lorde)
  • Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis (Hudson, Arega, Jones)

Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • The Big Letdown (Kimberly Allers)
  • Baby-Led Breastfeeding: Follow Your Baby’s Instincts for Relaxed and Easy Nursing (Rapley and Murkett)
  • The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (Katherine Barber)
  • Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby (Stephanie Casemore)
  • Breastfeeding Made Simple (Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett)
  • Video Option: The Milky Way Documentary (Molnar and Davidson)

Doula Studies & The History of Birth
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • The Doula Book (Klaus, Klaus, Kennell)
  • Birth (Tina Cassidy)
  • Round the Circle (Julie Brill)

You are free to select a minimum of four (4) titles from any of the categories below.

Special Situations

  • When Hello Means Goodbye (Kirk and Schweibert)
  • Ghostbelly (Elizabeth Heineman)
  • Impossible Parenting: Creating A New Culture of Mental Health for Parents (Olivia Scobie)
  • Perinatal Loss: A Handbook for Working With Women and Their Families (Broderick and Cochrane)
  • Celebrating Pregnancy Again (Franchesca Cox)
  • The Prenatal Bombshell (Ilse and Azri)

Social Justice and Birthwork

  • Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth (Bonaparte and Oparah)
  • Battling Over Birth (Oparah, Arega, Hudson, Jones, Oseguera)
  • Birth (Tina Cassidy)
  • Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers (Valerie Lee)
  • Medical Apartheid (Harriet A. Washington)
  • From Midwives to Medicine (Deborah Kuhn McGregor)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and The Meaning of Liberty (Dorothy Roberts)
  • Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (Deirdre Benia Cooper Owens)
  • Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (Angela Garbes)
  • Women of Color and The Reproductive Rights Movement (Jennifer Nelson)
  • Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization (Khiara M. Bridges)
  • Birth Work as Care Work: Stories from Activist Birth Communities (Apfel, Federici, Law)
  • Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundation, Theory, Practice, Critique (Anthology)
  • Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (Gumbs, Williams, Martens)
  • Listen to Me Good: The Story of an Alabama Midwife (Holmes and Smith)
  • Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (Dána-Ain Davis)

Trauma Informed Care

  • With Harp and Sword: A Doula’s Guide to Providing Trauma-Informed Birth Support (Kenya M. Fairley)
  • The Body Keeps the Score (Bessel Van Der Kolk)
  • Why Birth Trauma Matters (Emma Svanberg)
  • How to Heal a Bad Birth: Making Sense, Making Peace and Moving On (Gould and Bruijn)
  • When Survivors Give Birth (Klaus and Simkin)
  • The Trauma Toolbox (Free Online Training)

LGBTQIA+ Parenting

  • The Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All (Harlyn Aizley)
  • Subversive Motherhood: Orgasmic Birth, Genderqueer Parenting, Papas, Trans Parenting, Gynepunk, Etc. (Maria Llopis)
  • Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples (Eric Rosswood)
  • A Clinician's Guide to Gender-Affirming Care: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients (Chang, dickey, Singh)

Books Available in the CAPPA Store

Postpartum Doula

If you have limited experience with postpartum and newborns it is recommended you read:

  • Maternity Leave: A New Mother’s Guide to the First Six Weeks Postpartum by Cheryl R. Zauderer
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn from Birth to Reality by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu

You are required to read a minimum of seven (7) books in addition to the CAPPA Postpartum Doula Manual, The Understanding Mother & Baby Care booklet, and The Understanding Breastfeeding booklet.

Always check to make certain you are reading the most current edition of each book.

General Reading
(Every student must read the following)

Doula Work and the New Family
(Select at least 2 books from this category)

  • Nurturing the Family: The Guide for Postpartum Doulas (Jacqueline Kelleher)
  • The Gentle Art of Newborn Family Care (Salle Webber)
  • The Mommy Plan (Valerie Lynn)
  • Nurturing Beginnings Guide to Postpartum Care for Doulas and Community Outreach Workers (Pascali-Bonaro, Arnold with Ringel)
  • The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula (Brennan)
  • Ancient Map for Modern Birth: Preparation, Passage, and Personal Growth for the Childbearing Year (Pam England) (only the postpartum section needs to be read for CPD certification)
  • The Fourth Trimester Companion: How to Take Care of Your Body, Mind, and Family as You Welcome Your New Baby (Cynthia Gabriel)
  • Nobody Told Me About That: The First 6 Weeks (Ginger Breedlove, et al)
  • Maternity Leave: A New Mother’s Guide to the First Six Weeks Postpartum (Cheryl R. Zauderer)
  • Becoming Us: The Couple's Guide to Surviving Parenthood and Growing a Family that Thrives (Elly Taylor)

Newborn Care
(Select at least 2 books from this category)

  • The Baby Book (Drs. William and Martha Sears)
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn from Birth to Reality (Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu)
  • The Mother of All Baby Books (Ann Douglas) (Content for Canadian Doulas)
  • Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (Penelope Leach)
  • Your Baby is Speaking to You (Kevin Nugent)
  • Brain Rules for Baby (John Medina)
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion (Kathleen Huggins)
  • Breastfeeding Solutions: Quick Tips for the Most Common Nursing Challenges (Nancy Mohrbacher)
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns (Elizabeth Pantley)
  • Sweet Sleep (Wiessinger, West, Smith, Pittman)
  • Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions (James McKenna)
  • Holistic Sleep Coaching: Gentle Alternatives to Sleep Training for Health and Childcare Professionals (Lyndsey Hookway)
  • HUG Your Baby: Helping Parents Understand their Newborn - Online Professional Training
  • HUG Strategies - Online Professional Training
  • The Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success - Online Professional Training

Additional Topics
(Select at least 2 books from this category)

  • Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression (Shoshana S. Bennett)
  • Depression in New Mothers (Kathleen Kendall-Tackett)
  • I’m Listening (Jane Honikman)
  • Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice from Pregnancy through the First Year and Beyond (Cheryl Lange)
  • How to Survive Twins: Your Definitive Guide to The First 6 Months (Carol and Steve Malone)
  • Preemies: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies (Wechsler Linden, Trenti Paroli, Wechsler Doron)
  • Strategies for the C-Section Mom: A Complete Fitness, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Guide (Mary Beth Knight)
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (Bessel van der Kolk M.D.)
  • Video Option: When the Bow Breaks: A Documentary About Postpartum Depression
  • Video Option: Dark Side of the Full Moon: When Motherhood Meets Mental Health (Available on Amazon Prime)

Health Equity
(Select at least 1 book from this category)

  • Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis (Oparah, Arega, Hudson, Jones, Oseguera)
  • Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth (Oparah, Bonaparte)
  • “The Naked Truth” Death by Delivery (2017) TV Episode/documentary (Available on YouTube)

Childbirth Educator

Students must read seven (7) books from the categories below in addition to the CAPPA Childbirth Educator Manual, The Understanding Birth Booklet, The Understanding Breastfeeding Booklet, and The Understanding Mother & Baby Care Booklet.

General Reading:

  • CAPPA Childbirth Educator Manual (provided at training for Traditional students; mailed to Online/Distance students)
  • Childbirth Educator Bundle (Birth, Breastfeeding, and Mother & Baby Care)

One (1) selection from this list on Public Speaking:

  • Present Like a Pro (Maxey & O’Conner)
  • The Exceptional Presenter (Koegel)
  • Presenting to Win (Weissman)
  • Speak Up!: A Woman’s Guide to Presenting Like a Pro (Maxey & O’Conner)

One (1) selection from this list on Adult Learning Principles:

  • How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, Norman and Mayer)
  • Planning Programs for Adult Learners (Caffarella & Draffon)
  • Learning in Adulthood (Merriam, Caffarella, Baumgartner)
  • Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning (Cranton)
  • Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn (Wlodkowski)

One (1) selection from this list on Breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers (Nancy Mohrbacher & Kathleen Kendall-Tackett)
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion (Kathleen Huggins)
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International)

One (1) selection from this list on Pregnancy, Labor & Birth:

  • The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth (Sheila Kitzinger)
  • Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth (The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective)
  • The Greatest Pregnancy Ever (Tracy Peters and Laurel Wilson)
  • The Attachment Pregnancy (Tracy Peters and Laurel Wilson)
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (Penny Simkin, R.N. Janet Whalley, R.N. Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham)

Three (3) selections from this list of Other Recommended Titles:

  • How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint (David Phillips)
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (Ina May Gaskin)
  • Birth as an American Rite of Passage (Robbie Davis-Floyd)
  • Birth (Tina Cassidy)
  • Gentle Birth Choices (Barbara Harper)
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering (Dr. Sarah Buckly)
  • The Birth Book (Sears & Sears)
  • The Nurturing Touch at Birth (Paulina Perez)
  • When Hello Means Goodbye (Kirk & Schwiebert)
  • A Good Birth, A Safe Birth (Diana Korte & Roberta Scaer)
  • The VBAC Companion (Diana Korte)
  • Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy (Elizabeth Somer)
  • Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family That Thrives (Elly Taylor)
  • Round the Circle: Doulas Share Their Experiences (Julie Brill)

Books Available in the CAPPA Store

Lactation Educator

Students are required to read the CAPPA Lactation Educator Manual and The Understanding Breastfeeding Booklet, as well as one (1) of the following **Texts and four (4) *Self Select Books OR two (2) **Texts and none (0) of the *Self Select Books.

General Reading (everyone must read):

**Texts List (choose 1 below and 4 Self Select Books OR 2 below and 0 Self Select Books):

  • **Breastfeeding and Human Lactation by Jan Riordan
  • **Counseling the Nursing Mother by Lauwers and Swisher
  • **Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple by Mohrbacher

*Self Select List (choose 4 below if only 1 Text selected):

  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Mohrbacher and KendallTackett
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
  • Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery by Diana West
  • Birth & Breastfeeding by Michel Odent
  • Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby and Relactation by La Leche League International
  • Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins and More by Karen Kerkoff Gromada
  • Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner
  • The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning by Kathleen Huggins and Linda Ziedrich
  • Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants by Genna Watson
  • Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding by Linda J. Smith and Mary Kroeger
  • Sweet Sleep by Diane Weissinger, Diana West, Linda J. Smith
  • Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals by Amy Peterson and Mindy Harmer
  • Clinics in Human Lactation: Breastfeeding the Late Preterm Infant by Marsha Walker
  • Clinics in Human Lactation: Pumps & Pumping Protocols by Marsha Walker
  • Clinics in Human Lactation: Emotional and Physical Trauma by Dianne Cassidy
  • Clinics in Human Lactation: Clinics in Human Lactation: Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Depression in New Mothers by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Recommended Books for Further Education:

  • Coach's Notebook: Games & Strategies for Lactation Education by Linda J. Smith
  • The Breastfeeding Atlas by Barbara Wilson-Clay and Kay Hoover
  • Medications & Mother's Milk by Thomas Wright Hale, R.Ph. Ph.D.

Books Available in the CAPPA Store

New Parent Educator

Please choose books from each of the following categories. You will need to read nine (9) books from the categories below, in addition to the CAPPA New Parent Educator Manual, The Understanding Your Newborn, The Understanding Breastfeeding, and the Understanding Mother and Baby Care booklets. Always read the most current edition available.

**Please note: This program is brand-new and some of the links are under construction!**

General Reading (everyone must read):

  • CAPPA New Parent Educator Manual (provided at training for Traditional students)
  • New Parent Educator Bundle (Newborn, Breastfeeding, Postpartum Health & Baby Care)

Category 1 - Adult Learning and Public Speaking (choose 2 from this category):

  • The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room (Koegel)
  • Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds (Gallo)
  • From Telling to Teaching: A Dialogue Approach to Adult Learning (Norris)
  • Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults (Vella)
  • Taking Learning to Task: Creative Strategies for Teaching Adults (Vella)
  • Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults (Wlodkowski)
  • Present Like a Pro: The Field Guide to Mastering the Art of Business, Professional, and Public Speaking (Maxey & O'Connor)
  • How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, Norman and Mayer)
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (Anderson)

Category 2 - The New Mother (choose 1 from this category):

  • Mothering the New Mother, 2nd Edition (Placksin)
  • The Mommy Plan (Lynn)
  • Maternity Leave: A New Mother’s Guide to the First Six Weeks Postpartum (Zauderer)

Category 3 - The Newborn (choose 2 from this category):

  • The Baby Book (Sears)
  • Heading Home with Your Newborn from Birth to Reality (Jana & Shu)
  • Your Baby is Speaking to You (Nugent)
  • Your Amazing Newborn (Klaus)
  • Gentle Baby Care: No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry--Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby (Pantley)
  • The Mother of All Baby Books (Douglas)
  • Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (Leach)
  • Touchpoints: Birth to Three (Brazelton)
  • Brain Rules for Baby (Medina)

Category 4 - Parental Relationships (choose 1 from this category):

  • Becoming Us: 8 Steps to Grow a Family That Thrives (Taylor)
  • And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives (Gottman &‎ Gottman)

Category 5 - Additional Topics (choose 3 from this category):

  • Breastfeeding Made Simple (Kendall-Tackett & Mohrbacher)
  • Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression (Bennett)
  • The Earliest Relationship (Brazelton & Cramer)
  • Bonding (Klaus, Kennell & Klaus)
  • The Attachment Pregnancy (Peters & Wilson)
  • Depression in New Mothers, 3rd Edition: Causes, Consequences and Treatment Alternatives (Kendall-Tackett)
  • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins (Weissbluth)
  • How to Survive Twins: Your Definitive Guide to The First 6 Months (Malone & Malone)
  • The Premature Baby Book (2004) by Dr William Sears
  • Preemies - Second Edition: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies (2010) by Dana Wechsler Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli, Mia Wechsler Doron
  • The Essential C-Section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back, and Everything Else You Need to Know About a Cesarean Birth (Connolly & Sullivan)
  • The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby's Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward (Plooij & van de Rijt)
  • Calm the Crying: The Secret Baby Language That Reveals the Hidden Meaning Behind an Infant's Cry (Dunstan) *DVD may be substituted for the book
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns (Pantley)
  • Sweet Sleep (Wiessinger, West, Smith &Pittman)
  • Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Co-Sleeping (McKenna)
  • Baby Calm: A Guide for Parents on Sleep Techniques, Feeding Schedules, and Bonding with Your New Baby (Ockwell-Smith)
  • Holistic Sleep Coaching: Gentle Alternatives to Sleep Training for Health and Childcare Professionals (Hookway)

Books Available in the CAPPA Store

Pregnancy Fitness Educator

Students must read four (4) books from the categories below in addition to the CAPPA Pregnancy Fitness Educator Manual and The Female Pelvis (Calais-Germain).  Please use the most recent version of each book listed.

General Reading (everyone must read):

  • CAPPA Pregnancy Fitness Educator Manual (provided by CAPPA at the time of enrollment)
  • The Female Pelvis: Anatomy & Exercises (Blandine Calais-Germain)

Fitness & Exercise - Choose one (1) from the following list:

  • Active Birth, Revised Edition (Janet Balaskas)
  • Expecting Fitness (Birgitta Gallo)
  • Easy Exercises for Pregnancy (Janet Balaskas)
  • Exercising through your pregnancy (James F.Clapp)
  • Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan (Bonnie Berk)

Nutrition - Choose one (1) from the following list:

  • Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy (Elizabeth Somer)
  • Nutrition in Pregnancy & Lactation (Worthington-Roberts, Vermeesch, & Williams)

Pregnancy, Labor & Birth - Choose any two (2) from the following list:

  • The Birth Book (Sears & Sears)
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth, & the Newborn 4th Edition 2010 (Penny Simkin)
  • The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth (Sheila Kitzinger)
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (Henci Goer)
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (Ina May Gaskin)
  • The VBAC Companion (Diana Korte)
  • Preventing Preterm Birth (Michael Katz)
  • Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth (Barbara Luke)
  • The Pregnancy Bed Rest Book (Amy E. Tracy)
  • Mind Over Labor (Carl Jones)
  • Easing Labor Pain (Adrienne Lieberman)
  • The Labor Progress Handbook (Penny Simkin)
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