Best Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

Best Pregnancy Books for First Time Moms

January 29, 2020

Some of you are going to think I am CRAZY at the amount of books I’ve read in the first 7 months of my pregnancy! Let me start with this disclaimer: I love information. Love it. I eat it for breakfast. Literally… I browse news articles and journals while eating my breakfast. I know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay! But if you’re anything like me and you love to feel prepared and knowledgeable heading into a season of unknown, you may find this list of best pregnancy books for first time moms to be immensely helpful, reassuring, encouraging, and above all… EMPOWERING.

I fully believe knowledge is power, and these books embody that belief.

I want to be a mom who knows what she is getting herself (and her children!) into when it comes to childbirth, drugs, vaccines, and parenting in general. I don’t want to wing it. There’s beauty in that method, and I know some people THRIVE in that environment, but for me, if I wasn’t reading these books… I’d be extremely overwhelmed by just how much I don’t know. What’s funny is the amount of people who have told me to STOP reading because too much information is a bad thing! What?! I just don’t get that! Reading these books has taken a lot of the unknown out of pregnancy and childbirth, eliminated fears, and eased my worries. If you’re concerned that reading too much may stress you out… then limit what you read! If you find the more books the merrier, well then, we are kindred spirits!

If you were to read just a couple of these books, I’d highly recommend Expecting Better by Emily Oster and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Those two books alone blew my mind and are JAM packed with information regarding pregnancy and labor that your doctor would likely never be able to take the time to share with you. Emily has also written a book called Cribsheet that isn’t pictured here because I (reluctantly) purchased it on my Kindle with some credits, but it’s written in a similar format to Expecting Better, which means it’s very research driven and full of stats (presented in a fun and entertaining way, I promise)!

What was YOUR favorite book when you were expecting?! I’m always open to some new suggestions… and I have three months of this pregnancy left to go! Plenty of time left to read… ;) So send your faves my way!!

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In order of what I loved best…

  1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: This book will take away so much of the fear that society has put into your head surrounding giving birth. Labor does NOT have to be terrifying. It can actually be really beautiful, spiritual, bonding, intimate, and in some cases… painless! Read the book for insight into the thousands of unmedicated, natural births Ina May has witnessed in her decades as a midwife.
  2. Expecting Better: Get ready to have your world rocked when it comes to pregnancy beliefs – what should actually be off limits when it comes to what we can and can’t eat and drink while we are expecting? Do epidurals really come with risks for mom or baby? What about exercise? Bed rest? Drinking coffee?! My actual risk of miscarrying? Emily digs into all of this with actual data. What a concept. It’s amazing! Such a great book.
  3. What To Expect When You’re Expecting: It’s a classic for a reason! It’s written in a very simple, reassuring voice, almost like your aunt or mom is talking to you. Heidi has a way of doing that! ;) I found it really informative for my first trimester especially, and it’s just fun to follow baby’s growth updates, and know what is and isn’t normal for pregnancy symptoms.
  4. Bump For Joy Pregnancy Journal: A sweet keepsake and fun to keep up with as the weeks go on, from pre-conception to bringing baby home! Make sure you buy this on Amazon because it’s double the price in those cute little baby boutiques!
  5. The Vaccine Book: It’s UNBIASED, I promise! Written by a doctor who presents information about each disease we vaccinate for and the benefits and risks of each vaccine, all based on hundreds of studies from over the years. I found it really informative and empowering for our future decisions about vaccinations and creating a vaccine schedule that we are most comfortable with for our little babes, if we find that anything concerns us regarding the recommended schedule. He is pro-vaccine, but he is also pro-informed consent, which is what this book makes sure you are… informed!
  6. Supernatural Childbirth: My friend Becca sent me this book and I devoured it in a single evening! It’s written by a woman who fully believes labor isn’t supposed to be painful and can absolutely be painless for many women. It was just fascinating. Probably the most “out there” book, but interesting nonetheless!
  7. How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor: Whew this one sends you on a roller coaster! It’s a little dated, but still really good. Written by a doctor who sees a few things that may not be 100% necessary when it comes to our general medical practices for kids. I loved this one so much!
  8. Mama Natural: I was late to the game for this one so I haven’t spent as much time reading it as the other books, but it’s a great alternative to What to Expect, or just good to read alongside. Also a little “out there” – she says not to have your phone near your body, for one… – but I love her heart behind the book and it’s FULL of REALLY YUMMY healthy recipes. Like, I get hungry reading this book. I will probably follow along week by week in this one when and if we get pregnant a second time!
  9. Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: This one is like the illustrated, colorful version of What to Expect. I’ve had this since the beginning of this pregnancy and I have loved reading the two books together. It has a lot of resources on breastfeeding and labor & delivery as well. A good alternative to What to Expect if you don’t like Heidi’s tone!
  10. Birth Without Fear: I skimmed this one after Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth because that book burrowed itself so deep in my psyche when it comes to labor. Birth Without Fear is a little less opinionated and basically more, “You can have whatever labor you choose and it will be AWESOME cause you’re awesome.” If you like that concept in a book, this one’s for you!
  11. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations: I have to be honest, I’m only a few chapters into this one, and that’s why it’s at the bottom! It is very opinionated and more vaccine hesitant than any other book I’ve read. I find it interesting, but taking it all with a grain of salt, of course!
  12. The Whole Brain Child: Haven’t gotten too far in this one but I’m sure it will be VERY high on my Favorite Parenting Books list! Talks about how emotional kids are and how we can’t expect them to act like rational adults… we have to teach them how to balance the emotional side of their brain with the logical, rational side! Makes sense!
  13. What to Expect: The First Year… again, this will be high on the Favorite Parenting Books list! I’m just getting a head start in this pregnancy for what I can expect after it ends! ;)
  14. The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People: This only comes in “last place” because it’s not really a book to read, it’s a coloring book! My husband got it for me as part of my first trimester survival kit (so sweet) and it is not only hilarious, but it really is entertaining and keeps me distracted, or helps me wind down at the end of a long day. I like to picture myself holed up with this book in the final weeks of my pregnancy… maybe even in the earliest stages of labor?! We shall see!
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