Pregnancy is an interesting time… sometimes you almost forget you’re pregnant, and other times no chance you’re painfully aware of the little one growing inside you. But what does this have to do with the best pregnancy books?
On those long nights when sleep just wasn’t happening, I had an insatiable appetite for reading up on all things pregnancy and baby. Are you the same way? I could read about symptoms, superfoods, what my baby was learning to do this very week/day, the 10 things I absolutely MUST pack in my hospital bag, and the pros and cons of a forward-facing newborn stroller.
While you could spend hours on forums and Facebook groups, there’s nothing quite like having a real book in your hands.
I read quite a few of those too! Here are some that I came across in my travels, and my thoughts on them:
13 Best Pregnancy Books for New Moms To Be To Read
Juju Sundin’s Birth Skills
I’ve mentioned this book several times before, because I love it so much. Labor is nothing like what you see on TV (which, let’s face it, is the only place most of us first-time-moms have ever seen anything resembling labor.) TV makes it look like your waters break (in the most embarassing place possible), you rush to hospital, lie on a bed and scream, huff, and puff your baby out.
That leaves you feeling a bit helpless… but you’re not just a passive vessel of birthing. No. You have options. And more than just: do you want the morphine or the epidural?
Birth Skills gives you those options.
It’s beyond awesome and empowering.
Real Food for Pregnancy
I’m reading this book while expecting baby #2 and it is surely eye-opening! If you’ve found yourself fascinated by gut health or reading a lot about carbs and how healthy they really are for you, this book is for you. Dietitian Lily Nichols gets right into the knitty-gritty details of exactly what a pregnant body needs, with loads of references to scientific studies. My biggest takeaway? We have very little idea what the nutrition requirements are for pregnancy and a lot of the recommendations are out of date.
Thoroughly recommend to all expecting moms!
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
A book on childbirth from the nation’s leading midwife? What’s not to like?!
If you’re tired of the horror stories that people tell expectant moms and the sage advice to ‘just get the epidural, like, right away’… you need to read this book.
This book is birth positive and focuses on your body’s natural ability to give birth.
The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy
If you’re tired of dry, boring pregnancy books (looking at you Mayo Clinic and What to Expect), The Girlfriend’s Guide is a refreshing change…
It’s a light-hearted, humorous guide to pregnancy that you’ll either love or hate. The book does include some important points, but it’s also heavily weighted by the author’s personal experience.
Make sure you read the Amazon reviews before jumping in…
Up the Duff / A Bun In The Oven
Bah! I hate it when publisher’s decide they need to rewrite or redub a entertainment for a different audience. Probably because I’m Australian and I’ve been reading books in American and British English my whole life.
Rant aside, Up The Duff (or it’s American version – A Bun in the Oven – though apparently this one is less funny), is a hilarious and realistic guide to pregnancy from an Australian comedian. This is NOT a dry and boring pregnancy book, rather this is full of tell-it-like-it-is info especially the weird, awkward, and embarrassing stuff.
100 Ways to Calm the Crying
I know it might feel like parenting a newborn is a long way off… but it’s going to be upon you faster than you think and you don’t want to be blind-sided. Like I was!
Babies cry. A lot. Sometimes one thing will work. Sometimes something else will work. Sometimes nothing seems to work and you feel totally hopeless and lost.
Best idea? Increase your arsenal of things to try. This book goes through 100-ish ways you can use to soothe your baby and I can guarantee you there will be things in here you’ve not thought of and will be willing to try when your baby won’t stop crying.
The Happiest Baby on the Block
Another great book to help you soothe your baby’s crying. This book introduces the concept of the ‘Fourth Trimester’ – that babies are born very immature and find the transition from womb to world difficult. A lot of the soothing methods are based on mimicking life in the womb.
Sounds kinda weird and out there, I know. But, it’s a great book and really helpful.
Boobin’ All Day, Boobin’ All Night
A great (short) read by Meg Nagle, aka the Milk Meg. Meg is a lactation consultant and attachment parenting advocate and I love following her page on Facebook.
This book normalizes all those weird baby behaviours that make us feel insecure as new moms, like there’s something wrong with us or our babies. Nope. We just don’t have unicorn babies.
Meg’s book is full of practical advice and stories that’ll help you get through even the ‘darkest stages of night-boobin’.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
I gave no thought to breastfeeding while I was pregnant. I knew that I would do it and I thought it would be easy. Turns out it isn’t.
I wish I’d read this book or Meg Nagle’s Boobin’ All Day before having my little one so I knew what to expect.
Some reviewers said that this book is too pro-natural birth and pro-attachment parenting for them. So… if that’s not your cup of tea, you might want to read some reviews before you get the book.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
This one’s an old staple and pretty much the most popular pregnancy book in the world.
It’s not my favorite though and here’s why:
It’s a HUGE tome containing reams and reams of information that you probably won’t need (and can find, for free, on the internet.)
It’s dry and dusty, like a text-book only without the pictures… small font, each page is broken into two columns of text. Hello, wall of text.
And finally, this is NOT a light-hearted guide to pregnancy. No, you’re treated to a full-on dissection of every possible symptom and thing that could go wrong during your pregnancy. Which can be very distressing, especially if you’re already anxious.
While you do need to be aware of signs that something might be wrong, living in fear does NOT help.
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!
Another old staple, this one suffers from a lot of the same problems as the What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
I, for one, was not looking for a massive text book listing every single pregnancy symptom and complication you might possibly experience ever. I tried reading this book, but it bored me to tears every time.
Some reviewers noted that the nutritional information seems wrong or at the very least, out-dated.
The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start
With all the rules and restrictions around food when you’re pregnant… it’s enough to make you tear out your hair and wonder what IS actually safe to eat. Well, this book will help you with that. It’ll help you eat right!
The recipes are pretty basic, but that’s good – when you’re suffering from pregnancy induced fatigue, hangriness, or nausea the last thing you want to do is cook something complicated.
One final thing to note: you’d think from the title that the book contained week-by-week meal plans, but it doesn’t. The recipes are grouped just like a conventional cookbook.
Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth
While this book is not as hyper-detailed as some of the others one this list (think What to Expect and the Mayo Clinic Guide), it is one of the most reassuring. Coming from a viewpoint that pregnancy and birth are as natural as breathing, the advice in this book is down to earth, friendly, and positive. Also lacks the condescending tone so many pregnancy books have…
This book will help you become an informed participant in your pregnancy care (as you should be!)
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