Even though nothing can prepare you like experience, sometimes books are the best back-up teachers you can have. During your pregnancy you are likely to have questions, concerns, and just wonder if you’re the only woman who has experienced such symptoms. There are some amazing books that are there to reassure you, show you the humor in it all, teach you about your pregnancy, and prepare you for beyond the birth. If you’re pregnant there are 5 books (at least!) that you should find the time to read. While What to Expect When Your Expecting is a comprehensive guide on many moms’ shelves, there are a few other options worth noting.
Comprehensive Books to Read about Pregnancy and Birth
The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, by experts from the Mayo Clinic
This is a comprehensive, medically sound and respected guide to pregnancy. Some of the highlights are week-by-week and month-by-month growth and development changes for mom and baby. You’ll also find the basics such as a 40-week pregnancy calendar, healthy food choices to make during pregnancy, and ideas for safe and necessary exercise during these 9 months. You can also find reassurance in the answers to embarrassing questions you might not want to ask your OBGYN and a symptom guide that can help alert you to potential problems or health issues.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin
If you’re looking for more information on the joys and challenges of natural childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is the book for you. Gaskin takes her 30+ years of practical experience as one of the country’s most prominent midwives and puts forth information that will inspire and inform expectant mothers. She writes heavily about the mind-body connection and how women can use this to have the birthing experiences that they desire. If you are at all worried that you just won’t be able to do this thing called labor and delivery, Gaskin’s book teaches you how to reduce labor pain naturally, develop a birthing plan that works best for you, and about the pros and cons of episiotomies. You don’t have to be using a midwife to learn from Gaskin’s book – she also teaches you how to work with your doctor and hospital to have the labor and delivery experience you need.
Humorous and Real-World Books about Pregnancy and Birth
From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes
This is a collection of pregnancy, labor, and delivery stories and recommendations from women who have been there and done that, as well as doctors, midwives, and baby experts. While this book covers many of the same topics as the traditional baby books do, it does so in many voices, underscoring the ideas that each pregnancy is unique, mothers have many choices, and there are more right answers than just one.
The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine
Your girlfriends tell you how it is, and that is the approach that author Iovine takes with this book. If you like to hear the truth, edged with some humor and a lighthearted look at pregnancy, then this is the refreshing book for you. You’ll still find the basics of pregnancy like developmental and hormonal changes, morning sickness, and more, but you’ll also find hints on things like dressing and feeling like a woman during pregnancy.
Books about Breastfeeding
A Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman
Even if you haven’t chosen the feeding method you’re going to use with your newborn, this book is worth the time to read. Breastfeeding is recommended as the number one way to feed your baby and this comprehensive guide explains how to start, problems to look for, and helpful ways to deal with things like tender breasts and sore nipples.
There are so many more books that are helpful for expectant mothers, so if none of these are your favorites, there is bound to be something else that will become your go-to guide. Don’t forget to read about what happens after delivery, such as with Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality (editors Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu). Pack a book in your bag to read while waiting for doctor appointments or while soaking your swelling feet after a long day. Pretty soon your reading selection will consist of reading the same fairy tale 7 times each night.