There are a lot of pregnancy books and magazines out there geared toward the expectant mom and it can be confusing to weed out the great from the good or bad. Whether you are expecting for the first time or giving birth to your fourth child, the following are a great list of pregnancy and postpartum reads and hopefully you will find one that is for you.
Top Pregnancy Books For The Expecting Mom
Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn: The Complete Guide
As a doula, childbirth educator and breastfeeding educator and advocate, there are three books I recommend to all moms and this is one of those books. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin is a well-written classic with evidence-based information and lots of diagrams. Though Simkin is a respected midwife and natural birth advocate, this text is written in an unbiased way and is a great primer for the first time parent, no matter what kind of birth they are planning on having. Simkin gives great nutrition and exercise tips for pregnancy, clearly explains the stages of labor and birth and has excellent information on how to care for your newborn baby. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, And The Newborn includes very good information on what happens to your body and your baby from conception to delivery.
The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need To Know From America’s Baby Experts
The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know From America’s Baby Experts is another must read pregnancy book packed with information grounded in fact, with lots of great nutritional tips, exercise suggestions, and explanations of fetal development. There are no fear tactics here, and by the language of the text, it is evident that the authors believe that a woman’s body is meant to give birth and that most women can do so without complication, and naturally, if they choose to do so. This book, however, DO NOT go into much depth regarding labor and birth as this is covered in another companion volume by the same authors: The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth.
Note: While this is a recommended read for expecting mothers, the book was last updated in 1997, so some information may be a little dated.
The Pregnancy Book is an excellent source of intelligent pregnancy information that is straight-forward, with easy-to-read style and discusses just about everything one could think to ask or want to know when they are pregnant.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide To A Better Birth
If you are unsure about the choices you would like to make surrounding your birth options, or just want to know a little more when it comes to hospital birth practices, epidurals, c-sections, then The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler is the book for you! The information in this pregnancy book is based on the latest research (at the time of publication, 1999) in maternity care and outlines it all in clear, concise language with references for all of the studies cited in the book. This book is based on pure fact and aims to dispel both medical and non-medical myths surrounding childbirth. It is an excellent tool to have when making your birth plan or deciding where to birth your baby.
Very eye-opening! The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth is a fascinating and ultimately empowering read for any pregnant woman who wants to know her birth options and rights.
The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition And Other Holistic Choices
As hinted by the title, The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition and Other Holistic Choices by Aviva Jill Romm, M.D. was written by a woman who is a renowned midwife, herbalist, and now an M.D. If you are hoping to have a “green” pregnancy, this book is a great choice! While there is the usual pregnancy information, as far as nutrition and fetal development, there is also a wealth of information on herbal and holistic remedies for common pregnancy complications and complaints such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, morning sickness to stretch marks. It is a great resource for pregnant mothers wanting to take a more natural approach to this time of preparation and nurturing.
Highly recommended The Natural Pregnancy Book for those who want a natural approach to self care and are passionate about getting the proper nutrients during and post pregnancy.
Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is a fun read, but it is not a childbirth primer. The first half of the book is filled with birth stories which are great to read no matter what kind of birth you are planning. The second half is full of practical information on natural birth; how to create a safe and comfortable environment for natural birth that is more pleasurable, less painful, with less medical intervention. This book is written by a much loved and well-respected midwife and her natural birth bias definitely shows. The positive birth stories put forth here are a great counter to the stories of terror many of our friends and family like to share during out last months of pregnancy. Ultimately, this book is a comfortable and supportive read and will help first time expectant moms feel much better about the labor process than be fearful.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth gives a COMPLETELY different outlook on birth than what most mothers-to-be are familiar with hearing about from the medical community and media, and what an eye-opener it was. If you are planning or hoping for a natural childbirth this is the book for you!
Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide And Journal For Expectant Moms
Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms by Anni Daulter is not just a simple pregnancy book, it is a movement that is quite frankly, sweeping the world. The major aim of this book is to bring ceremony and sanctity back to childbearing and birth. This is both a guide and a journal. This is a week by week guide that covers what is happening in the pregnant woman’s body, her spirit and emotions, and with her baby. It also poses questions for reflection and provides a journaling space. There are lots of suggestions for rituals and practices that could benefit any new mother or pregnant woman. It is a lovely new addition to the pregnancy market. One caution here though – this book can veer towards new age ideology at times, but there is a lot here of value, so if something doesn’t fit with your belief system, there will likely be a lot of other material that you will enjoy.
Sacred Pregnancy is a pregnancy book that is bursting with love, wisdom, nurturing thoughts and the photos are incredibly inspiring; a true gift for any mother to be!
Beautiful Babies: Nutrition For Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-Feeding And Baby’s First Foods
While Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-Feeding and Baby’s First Foods by Kristen Michaelis isn’t strictly a pregnancy book, nutrition is key to having a healthy pregnancy and this is one of my favorite books in that vein. This book can show you how to boost your fertility through nutrition when trying to conceive, how to use nutrition to combat morning sickness and pregnancy fatigue, what to eat before and during pregnancy to prevent ear infections, asthma, allergies, and autism in your baby, how to prevent a C-section, and have an easier, natural birth, how to eat to boost your breast-milk supply and how and when to introduce baby’s first foods in the best way possible. There is a lot of new and hard to find information in here that can really benefit you and your child during pregnancy and beyond.
Beautiful Babies is an excellent read discussing real food and real changes to improve you and your baby’s pre-pregnancy, prenatal, and post-natal health.
Top Postpartum Read For The New Mom
The Mommy Plan: Restoring Your Post Baby Body Naturally, Using Women’s Traditional Wisdom
It is truly surprising how few books there are about postpartum healing and recovery out there. It is as if, we are all expected to bounce back even though our bodies, our minds and emotions have been through a huge, life and body altering experience. Even so, The Mommy Plan, Restoring Your Post Baby Body Naturally, Using Women’s Traditional Wisdom by Valerie Lynn is a clear standout in the category on post-pregnancy care. This book has information on how your diet, activities and lifestyle can aid your postpartum recovery. There is also a nice section on ways dads or partners can best support and help with mom’s recovery on a physical and emotional level. This book promises faster healing and a smoother return to daily activities. I love it! Your perspective on the postpartum period will never be the same!
The Mommy Plan is for all mamas-to-be who believe their postpartum CAN BE the most magical time of their life!
The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International is THE book to own if you are even considering breastfeeding. The internationally respected La Leche League has been around for more than fifty years and the wisdom imparted in this book will last for at least another fifty more. Updated for today’s mothers and lifestyles, this is a great nursing resource for first-time moms or experienced moms alike. There is a wealth of information on breastfeeding newborns, breastfeeding in special situations, breastfeeding children with special needs or conditions as well as information on setting up a support network, breast health, milk supply issues and how to transition back to work and still breastfeed. All of it is practical and straightforward and makes for an excellent resource and reference.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is the breast feeding and baby know how Bible for all working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, and moms of multiples.
The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need To Know About Your Baby From Birth To Age Two
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William and Martha Sears is another great shower gift and a must-have for any new parent. It offers practical advice based in current research about how to care for your baby, as the title says, from birth to age two. Information covers those first days at home, first baths, circumcision, diapers, clipping nails and fingernails, as well as developmental milestones, normal timelines for speech, movement, sitting, walking etc. It also details potential problems and when to call your doctor when it comes to fevers, colds and other potential hazards of the first two years. It is a tome of wisdom you will look to again and again when you feel that something is just not right.
The Baby Book is an essential encyclopedia on babies. It contains everything you need to know about infant care for a first time parent.
Recommended Magazine For Moms
While not strictly a pregnancy magazine, I highly recommend the Parents magazine for all new or experienced moms.
When you are a new mom, you will want to save every issue and refer back to it later. Not only does it have great information pertaining to pregnancy and newborns, but to toddlers, preschoolers and early school age children as well, plus tips on traveling with kids, dealing with in-laws and a mountain of other subjects related to life as a parent. This is one magazine you will read cover to cover every month and is worth the money on many levels.
Parents is by far the best parenting magazine out there. It has a wealth of information with lots of useful tips and advice about raising kids young and old.
While by no means comprehensive, the recommended list of books are full of beneficial information for the new mom. It is a list of my favorite and most recommended books in this category. Each of these books is in my professional library and is lent out to clients often. I hope that you will find at least one or two of these suggestions useful in your journey as a new mom and parent.