10 Pregnancy Books that Empower, Inform, and Entertain

Pregnant ladies are constantly hungry. Hungry for food (unless it’s on the list of things that make you want to puke), and hungry for all the info you can find about your growing belly. You’ve exhausted your OB, family members, friends – even Google! – for tips. You want more facts, more details, more statistics, more data! You want fresh points-of-view.

Check out these 10 pregnancy books that empower, inform, and entertain. Read them front to back. God knows this will be the last time you’ll be cracking books open:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel

No list of pregnancy books would be complete without this obvious choice. An iconic book for parents-to-be, the title says it all. And it’s no wonder that this book is read by 90% of pregnant women. Full of clear descriptions of just about anything you can think of while you’re pregnant, the book answers a variety of questions from real women. It’s easy to read – as if your doctor or midwife were explaining it to you in easy-to-understand terms. You’ll be able to follow your baby’s fetal development week by week and even get your lifestyle questions answered. (Aromatherapy? Belly piercings? BOTOX??). There’s even a support section for dads-to-be. Overflowing with facts, this is your go-to reference guide.

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

by the pregnancy experts at the Mayo Clinic

Written by doctors who are parents, the Mayo Clinic Guide reads like a friendly textbook with month-by-month pregnancy information to support you all along the way. Features worth noting are a week-by-week guide for your developing baby, self-care tips for pregnancy side effects (nausea, back pain, etc.), and a ton of sidebars with cool facts (what’s the difference between identical and fraternal twins?). You’ll love the “decision guides” section, which offers pros and cons about the hardest decisions you’ll need to make – think breastfeeding, circumcision, and even going back to work!

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

by Ina May Gaskin

Feel like you have a good handle on the pregnancy bit but it’s the delivery that has you concerned? If you really want the honest-to-goodness truth on giving birth, this is the book for you. The first 127 pages offer real eye-opening birth stories from real people. You’ll see how every woman’s birth story is different, and find comfort in the fact that they all found their way through it. Written by the former president of the Midwives Alliance of North America, the book also offers up lots of practical information for expectant mothers looking for a natural birth – from the importance of the mind-body connection to how to avoid epidurals and episiotomies.

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method

by Marie F. Mongan

Hypnobirthing is a childbirth technique that utilizes deep breathing and relaxation, self-hypnosis, and affirmations. If you’re looking for a more peaceful and painless labor and delivery, you’ll love what this book has to offer. If you’re already well-versed on the cold hard facts of pregnancy, you’ll appreciate how this read focuses more on the emotional and spiritual aspect of your journey. Make sure to purchase the accompanying CD to master those breathing exercises.


The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy

by Vicki Iovine

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy has a conversational tone that’s casual, friendly, and often humorous. You’ll feel like you’re a part of a friendly club for pregnant women, where you actually get your questions answered – a pleasant pause from the more “serious” pregnancy books. The author is a mother of four and talks about the issues you wouldn’t bring up with your doctor… Things that are important to you (like fashion, your changing figure, and mood swings) that just don’t fit in between ultrasounds.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide

by Penny Simkin, April Bolding, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, Janet Whalley

This comprehensive guidebook covers a wide variety of topics from pregnancy through postpartum. You’ll love the visual data that accompanies all the text – from very detailed illustrations, super informative sidebars, to easy-to-read charts. Quotes from mothers sharing their expectations and experiences give you more personal perspectives as well. Comparison charts and reflection prompts will help you make decisions about the benefits, challenges, and risks of choices.

Expecting Better

by Emily Oster

With the cornucopia of pregnancy information out there, it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t. Written by an award-winning economist who is all about the data, this book takes a more evidence-based approach to common pregnancy questions such as drinking coffee, prenatal testing, and doulas. Oster is out to debunk myths and shed light on lesser-known risks (like gardening!) so that you can have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds

by Cynthia Gabriel

If you are hoping for a natural birth in a hospital setting, this book will speak to you. Written for families looking to give birth with only the absolute necessary medical intervention, the book provides a close look at hospital policies and routines, so that you can fulfill your wishes of a natural birth. There are also plenty of real-life stories included for a personal touch. 

Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation 

by Pam England

Most books on birthing focus primarily on the actual labor and birthing process, with little regard to the emotional prep for the big day. This book will help the mother and birth partner with inner readiness. Covering topics like drug-free births, the role of midwives, and baby basics, you’ll learn what you need for the birth and beyond. In addition, there are simple, helpful suggestions like journaling and art projects which will give even more meaningful insights and guidance for the birth experience.

The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America's Baby Experts

by William Sears, Martha Sears, Linda Holt, BJ Snell

Can you really make a difference in your baby’s development by leading a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle while pregnant? Absolutely! This is a revision of The Pregnancy Book, published in 1997. Nutrition, stress management, exercise, birth planning, and more have been updated. The new science of how life in the womb impacts our baby’s lifelong health is approached in practical terms. Rather than feeling anxious, you’ll be empowered knowing there is a common sense approach to taking care of yourself and your developing baby.

What are some of your favorite pregnancy books? Share them with us in the comments below!

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