Best pregnancy books for when you’re expecting
Pregnant or hoping to be pregnant? Whether you are currently expecting or still checking that test strip and hoping for the best, you’re going to have many questions.
There’s no class they teach at school about bringing a new person into the world and ensuring that it is as smooth and successful a ride as possible for both you and Baby. But thankfully, there are a lot of top-notch pregnancy books out there that address topics like diet, labor, parenting, self-care, and much, much more.
Let’s check out some of the top pregnancy books now. Any or all of these can help teach you, motivate you, or make you smile or laugh when you need it.
1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: 2nd Edition: Fully Revised and Updated by Dr. Myra J. Wick M.D. Ph.D.
If you’re looking for a good starting point in stocking up your pregnancy bookshelf, why not turn to the experts over at the Mayo Clinic?
This book by Dr. Myra J. Wick M.D. Ph.D. can help you answer questions you may have about fertility, pregnancy, prenatal care, labor, and more.
You can get detailed, scientifically-backed information about dietary and exercise choices, medication use, and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy.
2. Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My Adventures into Motherhood’ by Giovanna Fletcher
Giovanna Fletcher is a number one bestselling author in The Sunday Times. You might even be familiar with her podcast, also called “Happy Mum, Happy Baby.”
In the spirit of the podcast, the book includes personal stories from the author, providing perspectives that are accessible and relatable as you embark on your journey of pregnancy.
3. The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout
Trying to figure out how you can support your baby without returning fulltime to the workforce?
In The Freelance Mum, Annie Ridout provides you with ideas and suggestions for how you can get started in freelancing.
4. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
This may be one of the best-known pregnancy guides you can read. In it, you’ll learn about how your baby develops through each week of pregnancy, genetic testing, prenatal screening, IVF pregnancy, carrying multiples, diet and exercise, lifestyle, and more.
This book lacks the scientific backing of the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and comes from a subjective viewpoint, but it is very detailed.
If you read it and feel it is one of the best pregnancy books, you can also purchase the follow-up books in the series, What to Expect: The First Year, and What to Expect: The Second Year. There is also a recipe book in this series titled What to Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting.
5. How to Grow a Baby (and Push it Out) by Clemmie Hooper
The author of this book, Clemmie Hooper, is a midwife and mother of four. You may know Clemmie as an influencer on Instagram, or you might be familiar with her blog, Gas and Air.
Readers enjoy how well-organized and detailed this book is. It is warm, humorous, and fun to read, and it even includes illustrations.
6. Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life: For People Who Happen to be Parents (or Might Be Soon) by Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka
Also, in the humorous vein is this book by Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson. It is another excellent option if you want to read a book about parenting from authors who take on a personal, relatable, non-judgmental tone.
There are plenty of informative anecdotes, practical recommendations, and moments that will make you laugh—and that can be something you need when you’re coping with the stresses of maternity.
Plus, both a man and woman wrote this book, so those looking for something that incorporates a male point of view will appreciate it.
7. Sidekick: A Pregnancy Field Guide for Dudes by Brig Berthold
Speaking of male perspectives, here is a pregnancy guide that is written specifically for men. But anyone who has a pregnant partner, friend, or family member to support can make use of its recommendations and advice.
It is a fun and humorous read, includes illustrations, and is packed with advice that can help you help the pregnant person you are supporting at critical moments, big and small.
8. Your Baby, Your Birth: Hypnobirthing Skills for Every Birth by Hollie de Cruz
Want your labor experience to be as smooth, calm, and painless as possible? Following a current trend, you can utilize a combination of visualizations, breathing techniques, and self-hypnosis methods collectively known as “hypnobirthing” to make it happen.
Research into hypnobirthing to date has produced mixed results. Nevertheless, it may be a good fit for you. If you would like to learn about hypnobirthing, you can read this guide by Hollie de Cruz.
Along with teaching techniques, Your Baby, Your Birth includes anecdotes about real mothers who used these techniques successfully during delivery. That can provide you with some inspiration and reassurance you need to approach your delivery with confidence and optimism.
9. The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums, by Beccy Hands and Alexis Stickland
While most of the books on this list focus on your baby, it is essential to remember that you are going through a lot of ups and downs both during and after pregnancy. Your body and mind go through changes that are quite extraordinary, and after you give birth, you have a new little person to take care of.
The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums is a reminder that self-care is vital during this time. In this book, you’ll find practical advice, illustrations, and humor, all of which can give you the boost you need when you need it. Baby needs you to be at your best, and being at your best means taking care of your physical and emotional well-being. This book can help.
10. Pearhead My Pregnancy Journal, Pregnancy Book, Capture Every Precious Moment of Your Pregnancy
This book is a little different from the others on this list in that it is one that you contribute to!
It is a 74-page journal. In each guided section, you can record your memories of your time being pregnant and store documents and photos.
Not only can looking back at those memories be joyous in future years, but you can eventually go through the book with your child and sharing those memories.
11. Give Birth Like a Feminist: Your Body, Your Baby by Milli Hill
Milli Hill, who founded the Positive Birth Movement, wrote this book to highlight issues involving women’s rights regarding birth choices. Reading this book can help you dispel fears regarding giving birth by empowering you to advocate for yourself and your child, armed with plans and contingency plans for every situation.
12. Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition by Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE
Get specific and detailed dietary advice from prenatal nutrition specialist Lily Nichols. What is superb about this book is that it goes beyond just telling you what to eat. It also explains why you should make the nutritional choices that it recommends. To make its case, it includes in-depth research with over 900 citations.
You can feel confident following this book’s advice because you can check those citations yourself and read the studies in detail. If you have type 1 diabetes, you should find this guide especially helpful because it does not give a hard push for high carbohydrate consumption, and guides you to alternatives if you need them.
13. Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood by Hollie McNish
Sometimes when you are pregnant, you just need to connect with someone who can relate to what you are going through and do so openly, honestly, and without judgment.
If that is the kind of emotional support you are looking for, you can find it in this book of poems by Hollie McNish, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2016.
The poems in this book are deeply candid, and the emotions they evoke range from joy to sadness and everything in between. It is a moving, powerful testimony from a relatable woman, and as you read, you may find yourself nodding your head and thinking, “Yes! Someone who gets it! I’m not alone.”
14. Hurrah For Gin: a Book for Perfectly Imperfect Parents by Kate Kirby
If you are looking for some laughs as well as some anecdotes about staying sane while juggling the hassles of becoming a parent, Kate Kirby’s book Hurrah for Gin is well worth a read. Kirby is a talented cartoonist, and uses both pictures and words to share amusing insights into the reality of being a parent.
15. A Secure Base by John Bowlby, CBE, FRCP, FRCPsych
A lot of the advice that new mothers receive focuses on diet, sleep, and other physical aspects of an infant’s care. But how much do you know about child psychology?
According to attachment theory, the relationship you form with your young child will have a lifelong impact on how that child relates to others, including later in life as an adult.
If you offer a “secure base” for your child, your child is more likely to grow up with a secure attachment style and enjoy safe, healthy, fulfilling relationships with others.
John Bowlby, the author of this book, is a famous psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who came up with attachment theory. It helps you learn how you can function as a secure base to help your child develop a healthy attachment style for long-term well-being.
16. The Unmumsy Mum A-Z: An Inexpert Guide to Parenting by The Unmumsy Mum
Have you read the blog “Unmumsy Mum” by Sarah Turner? If you enjoy her entries, you will love her book, The Unmumsy Mum A-Z. This book contains the A-Z of parenting anecdotes on a wide range of topics, many of which are flat-out hilarious. Yet another down-to-earth account of real-life parenting, this book can help you feel less alone in facing the daunting challenges of picky eaters and more.
17. Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Skimkin, Janet Whalley RN, Keppler RN, Janelle Durham, and April Bolding
Another of the best pregnancy books is this full-color guide. Two physical therapists, a pair of registered nurses, and a social worker all collaborated to produce a detailed guide that tells you what you can expect during every week of pregnancy, as well as some advice for what comes next.
18. We're Pregnant! The First Time Dad's Pregnancy Handbook by Adrian Kulp
Another book to consider reading if you are looking for advice as the partner of a mom-to-be. Included are a dad-to-be datebook for tracking milestones, a section on setting goals for your family, and another that focuses on how you can be a great parent to a newborn.
19. Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster
Emily Oster, a professor of Economics, wrote this book after suspecting that conventional thinking about pregnancy do’s and don’ts might not be supported by hard data. Emily set out to try and verify beliefs regarding odds of conception past the age of 35, how likely miscarriages are in any given week, how problematic it is to eat or drink various foods or beverages while pregnant, and so forth.
You can use the data that Emily presents to make your own decisions about managing various aspects of your pregnancy.
20. 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide by Jill Krause
This book is here to help you plan for Baby’s arrival once you get pregnant. You’ll receive advice on setting a budget, stocking up on essentials, scheduling maternity leave, and handling the logistics of going into labor.
These Pregnancy Books Can Help You Get Baby Off to a Great Start
You now have a full selection of popular and well-received pregnancy books to consider. Whether you are expecting or supporting someone who is, these best pregnancy books can provide you with the information, emotional support, and laughs you need to make the most of one of life’s most precious journeys.