The day you see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test is the day your world changes! A lot will go through your mind, and you will need answers and reassurance. There are a lot of fabulous books out there that do just that can put your mind at ease. We’re going to take a look at the best pregnancy books on the market today to help you pick the right one to guide you through your journey.
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The Vast World of Pregnancy Books
There are hundreds of pregnancy books available today. Choosing the one that’s right for you can be pretty daunting, especially if you aren’t even sure exactly what need. There are books for moms, books for dads, books for moms and dads, medical-based books, humor-based books, practical books, recipe books, journals, and so on. How in the world do you choose? First, you must have a purpose in mind. Do you want more technical information or are you looking for humor? Do you want to learn about an all-natural pregnancy? Take some time to figure out what type of book will be most helpful to you and don’t limit yourself to just one!
Pregnancy Book Features
There are some helpful characteristics to look for when you’re deciding on a resource book to use throughout your pregnancy. Let’s take a look at some of those qualities, keeping in mind that every book doesn’t have to have all of these components!
Reputable source: If your goal is to become a master chef, you’re probably not going to buy a cooking instruction manual that’s written by a brain surgeon, right? Make sure that the book you’re choosing comes from an authoritative source. A pregnancy book written by an obstetrician is going to be a better resource than one written by a random M.D.
Week-by-week or month-by-month guides: Following baby’s growth and development can be really satisfying. As an expectant parent, knowing what changes to expect in the mother’s body is very reassuring. Books that include some sort of a timeline of what’s happening with mother and baby are infinitely helpful. They can calm your fears by letting you know a certain issue you’re having is normal or they can alert you to things you may need to discuss with your doctor.
Symptoms guide: The changes going on in your body can be a little frightening, especially if you’re a first-time parent. You’re always wondering if something you’re experiencing is “right” or a signal that something could be wrong. Books that include a guide to symptoms can be an excellent resource for pinpointing what an issue might be and what it could mean. Sometimes a book will even provide an easy remedy, which is a helpful bonus!
Nutritional advice: Most pregnancy books worth anything will at least touch on some food dos and don’ts. They’ll provide an outline of what foods are best to avoid and which ones to add more of in order for you to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Some books will even go so far as to include a recipe section. Remember that any massive dietary changes should always be run by your doctor first.
Exercise advice: Like nutritional information, most pregnancy guides will at least touch on exercise. Some get into it more heavily and provide specific exercises or regimes, while others may just casually mention that exercising is healthy. That’s a choice that you can take into consideration as you’re finding the resource that suits you. Again, remember to run your exercise regimen by your obstetrician.
The nitty-gritty. Whether it’s discussed in very medical terms or approached with some humor, getting answers to embarrassing, awkward, or difficult questions is an important feature for a pregnancy book. Everyone has those questions that they blush just thinking about bringing up to their doctor. A good pregnancy book can answer many of those questions without you having to speak them out loud in front of another human. Of course, the book will also let you know if the issue is something you should take up with your doctor.
Types of Pregnancy Books
The market for pregnancy books is saturated with great resources written from all different angles. These are some of the different types of books you have to choose from:
Medical or scientific based: These types of books will give you unbiased, straight-forward information. They generally won’t have much emotional overtone or humor but will give you facts. They are usually very comprehensive and cover the gamut of information from conception all the way through birth and sometimes beyond.
Humorous: If you tend to enjoy your cold-hard medical facts with a good laugh, you may want to check out a more comedic pregnancy book. These books have the advantage of reassuring you that your seemingly ridiculous fears and worries are normal. They take a personal approach and let you know you’re not alone. Sometimes a fellow mom relaying an embarrassing situation that she endured can help you to relax and not take yourself so seriously. We all need a laugh, especially during pregnancy!
Just for dads: While they aren’t as prolific, there are books out there that are targeted at expectant dads. These can be really helpful for a guy who wants to understand what his partner is going through physically, mentally, and emotionally. Reading a book like this can give him insight into why his wife is crying, laughing, and throwing up, all at the same time. It happens. The great thing about books for dads is that most of them address the issues that a dad worries about but may not even realize it or verbalize it. Dads matter, too!
Just for moms: Books aimed at moms-to-be can get a little more into those nitty-gritty topics in a more straight-forward manner than an overall medical book might. They will focus on the up-and-down emotions that will inevitably be a part of the pregnancy, as well as the physical changes. Within the genre, there are still the variances in more humorous books and those that are more medically focused.
Journals: Journals are a bit different as they aren’t a source of information but they can still be a very valuable part of the journey to becoming a parent. They will usually have divided sections, be it by trimester, month, or week and will have space for writing updates, thoughts and feelings, recording cravings, your pregnancy statistics, and pictures, too. Journals can be a very healthy emotional outlet for an expectant mom or dad.
How to Use Pregnancy Books
Obviously, the point of any book is to read it. But with pregnancy books, there are a couple of ways you can use them, depending on the book and how much information you actually feel you need. One way is to use it as a reference book, the same way you’d use an encyclopedia. If you are having a certain symptom, look it up when you need to. Books that offer weekly or monthly info can be read as needed as well. For instance, read what will happen in the second month or the twelfth week. Then you can put it aside until the next milestone.
You can also read the whole book as you would a novel if you feel it’s necessary for your peace of mind. This will give you all the information you may need right from the start. Then there will be no surprises during your pregnancy.
Other Things to Consider When it Comes to Pregnancy Books
One thing to remember when reading any pregnancy book is that you need to take every word with a grain of salt. Some people have different ideas about what you should do or not do when pregnant. And many of the books out there offer differing opinions on this matter. Be sure to use your own common sense when reading, keeping these books as helpful guides rather than anything set in stone. If you are concerned about something you read, speak with your doctor to be sure you are on the right track.
Also, it is best not to read only pregnancy books when pregnant. Doing so can overwhelm you, making you feel like you’re nothing but an incubator for your unborn child. Remember, you are still your own person, and need to keep yourself happy as well as keeping your baby healthy. Mix some of your favorite novels in there in between passages from your chosen pregnancy books. This will help to take some of the pressure off, reducing the stress every new mother is already dealing with, and distracting you once in a while to help you relax.
The Best Pregnancy Books on the Market
Best Overall Pregnancy Book:
This book is a comprehensive guide that addresses all the pregnancy questions you can think of and much more! Coming from the Mayo Clinic, you know that it’s information you can trust. It includes week-by-week updates on how baby is growing as well as a month-by-month update on what’s going on with mom’s body. The symptoms guide can help to alleviate your fears or let you know when it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor. Speaking of that, this book also addresses the embarrassing questions that you may feel awkward about bringing up with your doctor.
The book is straight-forward while remaining positive which is a good thing for those who want plain answers. The book includes a decision-making guide that lays out the pros and cons of various issues, helping parents to make informed decisions. This book is jam-packed with information, including a nutrition guide. This book would be a good choice for new parents or for “seasoned” parents who like to have a lot of information at their fingertips.
- Uses diagrams and illustrations
- Written by pregnancy experts
- Not a comprehensive medical guide
- The size of the book is very large
- Length: 512 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2011)
- Available formats: Paperback, Kindle ebook
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The Best Natural Pregnancy Book:
Author and doctor Aviva Jill Romm shares her 20+ years of experience in alternative and allopathic medicine, as well as natural childbirth. Her holistic approach emphasizes natural remedies when they are a safe option. The book offers advice on exercise, diet, fatigue, anxiety, stretch marks, and morning sickness as well as how to ease their effects. This book is a great guide for those who are interested in a natural, organic, and eco-friendly pregnancy experience.
The book gives informative answers for those parents committed to as natural a pregnancy as possible. The book includes descriptions of how mom’s body and baby’s body are both changing and growing. It includes a very helpful and comprehensive herbal guide.
- Non-medicinal remedies
- Text is simple and easy to understand
- Available in a spiral-bound edition
- Information can seem redundant if you are already familiar with a natural, organic, holistic lifestyle
- Length: 304 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Ten Speed Press; 3rd edition (August 5, 2014)
- Available formats: paperback, Kindle ebook, spiral-bound
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Best Humorous Pregnancy Book:
Jenny McCarthy isn’t known for holding back and this book is no exception. She really puts it all out there, from the tame to the not-so-tame. With her usual candor, Jenny shares her experiences with all the embarrassing things you want to know: Think constipation, hemorrhoids, painfully engorged breasts, and much more. It’s all done with her signature self-deprecating humor. This book is very funny and would be enjoyable for any expectant mom who looks at the trials of pregnancy with humor.
She also covers all the usual topics that are the standard more traditional pregnancy books. While she shares the bad and the ugly, she doesn’t leave out the good and recognizes the joy that comes with pregnancy. This book would be a great pregnancy read for anyone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and loves a good laugh.
- National Bestseller
- Uses comedy to discuss real concerns and experiences
- Can be considered crude
- Not to be used as a stand-alone guide
- Length: 192 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Da Capo Lifelong Books; 10th Anniversary edition (January 7, 2014)
- Available formats: hardback, paperback, Kindle ebook
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Best Pregnancy Books for Moms:
This book gives it to moms straight – No candy-coating the experience here. Vicki Iovine lays out the trials and tribulations of the behind-the-scenes pregnancy stuff that most people are too proper to talk about. The best part is that she does it in a reassuring way so that it doesn’t come across as a scare tactic. This book provides honest, plainly-worded answers for awkward and difficult questions, which would be great for anyone who wants answers without a whole medical synopsis. She tackles tricky topics like maternity clothes, swollen breasts, pregnancy sex, exercise, delivery, and those pesky stretch marks. No topic is off-limits!
Vicki Iovine gets that humor can take the edge off of serious subjects. She can be considered a bona fide expert in the field, having had four children in six years. This book would be good for an expectant mom who likes a fair amount of humor mixed in with her facts. Good advice, sound explanations, and a healthy dose of laughter make this book worth a read.
- Expert author
- Lacks scientific back-up
- Not to be used as a stand-alone resource
- Length: 262 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Pocket; Unstated edition (October 1, 1995)
- Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio cassette, multimedia CD
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Best Pregnancy Books for Dad:
The latest edition of this guidebook for dads is jam-packed with helpful information. It includes a month-by-month guide full of the expertise of obstetricians, psychologists, sociologists as well as the experiences of the author himself, a father of three. He also interviewed thousands of dads who were willing to share their own insights. Dads are sometimes the forgotten factor when a woman is pregnant. The fact is he can have as many questions as his partner, if not more. Concerns about finances, the health of his wife and baby, and if he’ll ever get to see his friends again are all addressed with wisdom and wit.
This latest edition also includes topics like how technology is changing fatherhood and how men’s brains change by being involved in the pregnancy. It gives advice on how to be the best support during labor and delivery and also addresses the changes that his relationship with his partner will go through. This book would be a great resource for a first-time dad but is also worth a read for any expectant father who sees the importance of being an active participant in the pregnancy.
- Uniquely written for dads
- Written with humor
- Relatively inexpensive
- Very dad-centric and not meant for mothers
- Length: 336 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Abbeville Press; 4th edition (May 26, 2015)
- Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, Kindle ebook
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The Best Pregnancy Journal:
This unique book is in Potter Style, meaning that it is part of a high-end gift-book and stationery line. There are a lot of books that focus on the physical development of the baby and the changes that the expectant mother goes through but the market is much slimmer when it comes to journals. This one provides a space for week-by-week belly pics and ultrasound images. It allows plenty of room to record thoughts on morning sickness, what foods mom is craving, which foods make her feel positively ill, maternity clothes she loves, maternity clothes she wants to burn, and much more.
The book is organized by trimester and will provide a lasting record of all that was going through mom’s mind as she travels the road to motherhood. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all a part of the process. This journal would make a lovely addition to anyone’s mental baby prep! It can be very therapeutic to write out all the anxieties, fears, and joyous moments that are all a part of expecting a new baby.
- Neatly divided into sections with writing prompts
- Spiral-bound format
- Room to record the important moments
- Reasonable priced
- Would make a great gift
- Starts at week one
- Doesn’t include any kind of pocket for saving memorable papers
- Doesn’t include too much about dad
- Length: 96 pages
- Publisher, edition, and date: Potter Style; SPI edition (March 7, 2006)
- Available formats: Hardcover spiral-bound
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The Best Pregnancy Book Final Thoughts
We have taken a look at some of the best pregnancy books on the market to prepare expectant moms and dads for the pregnancy experience. While they’re all valuable in their own way, The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! stands out above the rest due to its comprehensive nature. It covers all the bases in terms of what to look for in a pregnancy book. From nutrition to symptom guides, illustrated developmental guides, and everything in-between, this book has it all. What it lacks in humor or a personal touch, it makes up for in useful information. It does a great job of both answering important questions and preparing new parents for the road ahead.
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