Books to Read During Pregnancy

There are an abundance of books available for pregnant women, fathers, families, friends, or people planning to become pregnant. However, not many of these books are current, though many are considered the “old standby”.  These books are available for digital download, so finding answers to questions has become easier. Increasingly, many women find their information from sources outside of books, including their doctor or midwife, friends, or on the Internet and sites like this. But books are still a useful source of information, and I always encourage people to invest in books as a good primary source for reliable information. Here are the books I currently recommend and the reasons why.

The Basics

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. This book has been around for over 25 years and has become what I consider an international Rite of Passage. The information in this book is basic but easy to understand. It is not meant to be all-inclusive, but it stimulates one to ask more questions and bring them to your health care provider. I think that this book provides enough basic information to give a woman (or her family and friends) sufficient information.

Natural Birth

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May Gaskin holds rock star status for midwives. She has guided and molded midwives for over 3 decades and her book is a humorous, down-to-earth guide for women who desire a natural birth. This book, further, goes into detail about the mind-body connection and goes into detail about options for women and how a woman can have the birth she desires. While this book may not be ideal for everyone, it is a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to understand the physiology of pregnancy and labor. I find this book to be empowering to women.

Complete Guide

Fearless Pregnancy: Wisdom and Reassurance from a Doctor, a Midwife, and a Mom by Victoria Clayton, Stuart Fischbein and Joyce Weckl.  This book, in my opinion, covers everything. It provides complete information on pregnancy, including diet, fitness, and options throughout pregnancy. I think this is also a useful book for first-time parents.

First-Time Parents

The Baby Bump. 100s of Secrets for Surviving Those 9 Long Months by Carly Roney. This is a perfect book for first-time mothers! It addresses all the fears and misconceptions related to pregnancy written by a mother who has been through it. What I like about this book is that it is written in a tone that makes one feel like they are talking to a trusted friend (which I appreciate!). This book is very easy to read and informative.

Nutrition

What To Eat When You’re Pregnant by Nicole Avena. This book is a perfect example of what I am doing on this site: providing information on nutrition and recipes that are useful and delicious. My colleague Nicole has introduced 50 recipes that are easy, delicious, and nutritious. And Nicole, like myself, uses her scientific background to guide and ground her recipes in current evidence.

Fathers-to-be

The Expectant Father. The Ultimate Guide for Dads to Be by Armin Brott and Jennifer Ash. Too often we forget about the Dads. This book provides useful information for fathers to navigate pregnancy. I think this book not only provides guidance and reassurance to Dads but also highlights the joys of being an expectant father.

When you need a good laugh…

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy. I love Jenny McCarthy and her humor is contagious. Jenny brings out one of the most important aspects of pregnancy: Laughter! This book is hysterical and provides pages of laughs while providing some useful, first-hand information. This is meant to be a happy time and moments of laughter do wonders to decrease stress, induce relaxation, and elevate a mood. I think this book is truly worth the read and laden within the humor is useful information that is relatable to everyone.

What works for you

There is so much information out there– some of it useful, some not always true or factual– and everyone interprets information in their own useful way.  I suggest reading what you feel resonates best with you– then share what you found with others. No book is perfect but the best thing they do is stimulate questions that you can address with your health care practitioner.

In this modern age, we have so many books and electronic resources to provide information. What favorite books or information sources would you recommend?

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Photo by Alice Hampson

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