There are so many books available for parents to read. But which books are actually worth reading?! I’m sharing my top 10 recommended pregnancy books and birth books to read when pregnant. They will educate and empower you to have the best pregnancy and birth possible. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
1. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide
This great book covers all aspects of childbearing, from conception through early infancy, and tells you what to expect. It offers detailed information, suggestions on decisions to make, and advice on steps to take to have a safe and satisfying experience.
2. What to Eat When You’re Pregnant
As we all know, the foods you eat during pregnancy affect you and can have lasting effects on your baby’s brain development and behavior. This book spells out everything that your body really needs, why they are necessary, and how certain foods contribute to the development of a healthy and happy baby. I also like how it also provides 50 great recipes!
3. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
This book is for women looking for authoritative, accurate information from a reputable source. The world-class Mayo Clinic put together this book which includes week-by-week updates on baby’s growth and month-by-month changes for mom. It also contains a 40-week pregnancy calendar, a symptoms guide, a review of important pregnancy decisions, advice on how to get pregnant, meal planning, exercise, medication use, and parenthood.
4. Belly Laughs
Author, comedian, and actress Jenny McCarthy tells you in her hilarious book what you can really expect when you’re expecting! She covers things from morning sickness and hormonal rage to hemorrhoids, granny panties, pregnant sex, and her delivery.
1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
This book is a must-read! It’s filled with inspiring birth stories and advice and is an excellent resource for all pregnant women. I love how it takes the fear out of childbirth and discusses how wonderful birth can be. It shares information about the following:
- Reducing the pain of labor without drugs—and the miraculous roles touch and massage play
- What really happens during labor
- Orgasmic birth—making birth pleasurable
- Episiotomy—is it necessary?
- Common methods of inducing labor—and which to avoid at all costs
- Tips for maximizing your chances of unmedicated labor and birth
- How to avoid postpartum bleeding—and postpartum depression
- The risks of anesthesia and cesareans—what your doctor doesn’t necessarily tell you
- The best ways to work with doctors and/or birth care providers
- How to create a safe, comfortable environment for birth in any setting, including a hospital
- And much more
2. Birthing From Within
An empowering and rewarding read. This book makes you address and face your fears about pregnancy and birth through exercises and activities such as journal writing, meditation, and painting. It talks about birth not as a medical event but as a holistic and beautiful event in life. You will find proven techniques for coping with labor pain without drugs, a discussion of the doctor or midwife’s role, and a look at the partner’s responsibilities.
3. Mindful Birthing
I loved this book. Author Nancy Bardacke, nurse-midwife and mindfulness teacher, draws on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, mindfulness meditation, and mind/body medicine to help you find calmness and ease during this life-changing time. No matter your birth plan—natural, pain meds, C-section—this is a book for every woman. It helps remove the fear-mongering that is so often attached to birth in this country and allows you to feel more calm and confident as you near your birth experience.
4. Natural Hospital Birth
More and more women want the best of both worlds; a natural childbirth with minimal medical intervention and the peace of mind of being in a hospital. In Natural Hospital Birth, doula Cynthia Gabriel asserts that there is no good reason that women in North America can’t have both. She explains to expectant mothers what they can do to avoid unnecessary medical interventions and how to take the initiative and consciously prepare for the kind of birth they want. Also included are inspiring stories from other women who know firsthand that natural birth in the hospital is possible.
5. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
This book will provide clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth helps you compare and contrast your options and shows you how to avoid unnecessary procedures, drugs, restrictions, and tests.
6. Orgasmic Birth
I know this title might throw you off guard, but you will be pleasantly surprised by how it shows women how to maximize childbirth’s emotional and physical rewards. Based on the hit documentary that inspired a vibrant online community, Orgasmic Birth provides all the necessary tools and guidance to design the birth plan that’s best for them, whether women choose to give birth at home, in a hospital, or at a birthing center.
What were some books you read during your pregnancy that you found helpful? What would you add to this list?