Best Pregnancy Books

Best Pregnancy Books

October 2, 2018

Best Pregnancy Books

Find out what pregnancy and parenting books Babylist parents loved (and hated!) the most.Best Pregnancy Books

Are you picking up any books to read during your pregnancy? We asked Babylist parents which pregnancy books they would recommend to other families, and here are the seven most recommended books (including a breastfeeding primer)!

Calm and Collected Advice

Written by doula Erica Chidi Cohen, Nurture walks you through the months of your pregnancy and the early postpartum phase in a comforting (but not condescending) way. Cohen includes recipes and exercises (physical and spiritual) for each month to keep you going.

Since she’s a doula, the book also focuses on your labor and birth goals with a helpful “birth letter” exercise. A nice balance of hippie and brass tacks advice, this book is a welcome new addition to pregnancy lit.

The Most Realiable

Many Babylist parents counted on this Mayo Clinic book because it was such a reliable source for guiding you through the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Danielle told us, “I really like how Mayo Clinic explains things; it gives the facts, but it’s not scary to read it.”

This is a great choice if you want a trustworthy reference book that’s not too cumbersome or burdened by details about everything that could go wrong. Authoritative, accurate information about your pregnancy from a reputable source, and it includes a 40-week pregnancy calendar and a symptoms guide.

The Witty Guide

This book gives you the skinny on what really happens during pregnancy, just like you were hearing stories from your bff. It’s written in a hilarious, direct way that balances brutal honesty with reassurance. Diane says, “I liked that they were realistic without being gory or scary or too focused on everything that could go wrong.”

Women who don’t connect with this book often mention that the author is too concerned about looking “fat” while pregnant. However, many seem to find comfort in the author’s frank discussion of her emotional insecurities. It helps them feel less pressure to have the “perfect” pregnancy.

Limited Offer

HBB lifestyle dresser2-200x200

Free Hello Baby Box

Create a Babylist registry today to be eligible for a free box full of goodies for you and baby!

getstarted blue

Babylist Favorite

This book is a Babylist parent favorite! (It’s even featured on our CEO’s sample registry). It reviews pregnancy health studies and evaluates the quality of their methodology, with the goal of giving the reader objective information to make informed decisions about pregnancy risks like what food should you avoid. One mom told us, “I liked Expecting Better, because it was so data driven rather than fear driven.”

The author Emily Oster shares evidence that very light drinking is fine during pregnancy, even if heavy drinking is extremely dangerous. In general, she wants women to look at evidence and make their own decisions rather than follow black-and-white rules. Needless to say, it has therefore been very polarizing.

Activist Choice

Many Babylist mammas love Ina May Gaskin. For the most part, they recommended “everything she’s ever wrote,” rather than recommending specific books. Jill says, “I liked how Ina May’s books regard pregnancy and childbirth as a natural process that our bodies are designed for and know how to do; it gave me confidence in my body and my ability to handle birth.”

As a long-time activist for natural childbirth, Ina May definitely writes her books with a very strong point of view. Her guide to childbirth criticizes the medical establishment to a point that many consider unfair. Although, Ina May’s real positions may be more nuanced than many readers assume. In this podcast interview, Ina May says she doesn’t mean to make mothers feel guilty if they end up needing a medical rather than natural birth.

Even if you disagree with some of her criticisms of hospitals and doctors, it can be interesting to read the birth stories of individual women. She describes the wide range of physical sensations women feel when giving birth. And because she focuses on positive birth stories, she can help you feel less scared and more optimistic about labor.

Breastfeeding Tips

Laura says, “I loved that it covers most everything, prepares you for any issues, and empowers you to know that most all issues can be worked through. I didn’t like that it makes you feel guilty for leaving baby for work. Aside from this, it is super helpful and still a go-to.”

This book could definitely do a better job of speaking inclusively about the range of choices that women make around breastfeeding, work and parenting, since not every mom can (or wants to) choose to exclusively breastfeed. However, it does provide tons and tons of helpful information about getting around various practical breastfeeding difficulties.

The Most Overrated Book

Although What to Expect When You’re Expecting was read more often than all the other pregnancy books combined, 12% of our Babylist parents mentioned that they would not recommend it. Since Babylist parents were purely positive about most of the other books, the negativity around What to Expect was quite a surprise. Here are just a few of the critiques parents had about What to Expect:

  • “I found it dumbed down a lot, which is annoying to wade through the cutesie crap to get to the information.” -Katherine
  • “What I found with most apps, email newsletters, and books like What to Expect is that content tends to be anxiety/fear driven. Woah! The wrong thing to dose up on during pregnancy!” -Kate
  • “I HATED What to Expect. Instead of being a useful resource, it was just an anxiety provoking exercise in how you needed to just turn over control of your body to the establishment.” -Megan

The 88% who liked and recommended What to Expect When You’re Expecting praised it in fairly faint terms like “very informative,” or “had a lot of info.”

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content.