Books about Pregnancy

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Must-read books about pregnancy?

May 2011

Hi. We're thinking about getting pregnant soon for the first time and I'd like to read up before we take the plunge so we know what to expect! (I'm a bit type A :P) What are your must-read books about pregnancy? In terms of philosophy, we are probably somewhere in between traditional hospital birth and at home in a bathtub birth, so maybe a birthing center. Getting Prepared

If you're gonna read one, read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth!!! DoulaMamma

THE book you want is called 'Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn' by Penny Simkin. Simkin is sort of the mother of all doulas and the book is basically a truly excellent childbirth preparation class in paperback form. It is not at all preachy, on any side, but is all about what decisions you will need to make and how to make them, no matter what type of birth experience you would prefer to have. I found it much more helpful than everything else I ever read and the birth class I took all put together. Holly

Ina May Gaskin, a world-renowned midwife, wrote Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I read it early in my pregnancy (my son is 4 1/2 months young) and was so grateful. I learned a lot about what happens to a woman's body during this incredible phase. There are also the 'What to Expect...' books which can be helpful. The What to Expect During Pregnancy book outlines the various physical/emotional symptoms one might experience during every month of pregnancy. It also includes a lot of information about nutrition, exercise, and everything else. Good luck! happy new mama

Books for expecting second child?

Oct 2006

I am expecting my second child in early 2007; my daughter will be two years old. Does anyone have recommendations for adult book (s) that will help all of us prepare for the next child? Only one old recommendation in the archives, must be better/more books out there now? growing in so many ways!

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''we're having a baby'' can be personalized and was a great tool to help us make the transition. juli

Books about pregnancy, labor, and the months after

May 2005

My sister in law is pregnant for the first time, and i'm looking for a helpful, but honest book about what she can expect during her pregnancy but more specifically labor and the months after. any suggestions? alex

If you buy one book for when the baby has arrived, I would recommend to look for one that discusses infancy from a developmental point of view (e.g. Touchpoints). It will help understand what is going on with the baby and why, rather than the best way of performing any given baby care task. I'd also look for a good book on breastfeeding (e.g. The Nursing Mother's Companion) and include the local La Leche League phone number. Re: Labor I found 'The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth' helpful, but it deals more with options and decisions that may come up during labor than with any specific pain management technique. For the latter, your most valuable contribution may be to forget about books and chip in for a great doula hast77

The two books that helped me the most, both in terms of information and ways to help myself and my baby during the birth process were: Active Birth by Janet Balaskas and Naturebirth by Danae Brook

The book by Danae Brook has some breathing charts that helped me to birth my first child at home with no drugs, painkillers or intervention. Also, both books are very informative, and encourage a healthy approach to the birth process.

Another book that is great is the Leboyer classic, Birth Without Violence. There are some beautiful pictures in there of babies smiling immediately after birth - something to aim for! Janice

My friend lent me the book ''Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn'' (I forget the authors) and it was extremely helpful. I referred to it constantly, and would highly recommend it. Congrats!

Really depends on what kind of person she is, what she's looking for in terms of information. On the more new-agey/wholistic end, I loved Birthing From Within. For childbirth. I also LOVED the Baby Catcher -- about a local midwife. Great stories that were really inspiring and got me so excited about the miracle of birth. Also Ina May's book on midwifery (can't remember the title) is great if she's interested in natural childbirth. I also liked Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions -- but that can be a hard read. It's about all the stuff no one tells you about in terms of pregnancy, birth and the first year -- plus a very sharp political/social analysis. All of the Sears books are great - they're my bibles. If she reads nothing else before the baby is born, I HIGHLY recommend reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (something like that) -- to get a start on the sleep issue. Finally, a great book/DVD for the beginning stage is the Happiest Baby on the Block -- great suggestions for dealing with the crying, fussiness, and sleep issue.

You are looking for _Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn_ by Penny Simkin. It is like a really excellent childbirth prep class in book form. Holly

I can recommend the book called ''Your pregnancy, week by week''. Both my husband and I loved it. It was our ritual throughout the pregnancy each week he'd read me it to me as I was falling asleep (I missed a few pages!).

I can also NOT recommend ''What to expect when you're expecting''. This book is filled with a lot of doom-and-gloom, in my opinion. I finally stopped reading it because I got tired of reading about all the terrible things that COULD happen.

I never got around to reading any labor-specific books, because my baby was born 5 weeks early and I haven't had time to read a book since! That was 2 years ago....

We did receive Dr. Sears' ''The Baby Book'' as a baby gift and my husband and I have both used it more of a reference manual, rather than sitting down and reading it from beginning to end. We both enjoyed that book as well.

I'm currently reading ''The Girlfriend's Guide to Toddlers'' which isn't applicable yet to your friend for a few years and so far (I'm about 30-40 pages in) it's just a humorous reassurance, rather than a useful reference. I'm not sure what her other books are for, but it's an easy read and a relaxed tone. Good luck and happy reading! tiffany

For pregnancy: I liked the ''Girlfriends'' guide to pregnancy and birth'. The book is rather biased in its perspective: it assumes that all pregnant women are white, married, and rich, but the author does have a good sense of humor, which I appreciated, particularly during the early nauseous months. I hated ''What to Expect'', but it's probably good to have a book like that around as a reference, just in case you need to look something up (though, for reference, the internet is just as good). ''A Child is Born'' is a book of photographs following the development of a fetus/baby from conception to birth and is great for following along during the pregnancy.

For labor: Birthing from Within and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth are my favorites. I think the first is very balanced and has lots of good advice. The second is very pro-natural/midwife/homebirth, but has some good advice, and has many labor stories, which I found reassuring. A fun book is ''Baby Catcher,'' by a midwife about various home births she attended.

For afterwords: For breastfeeding, I liked ''So that's what they're for'. For what it's like to have a baby (and children), try Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, or the collection ''Mothers Who Think'. Have read 'em all

My favorites are the Sears' books: The Pregnancy Book, the Birth Book, and the Baby Book. I especially like the Birth Book. They definitely lean towards natural birth but do a good job explaining risks and benefits of various interventions. While I was pregnant, I also liked looking at the pictures at each stage of my pregnancy from the book From Conception to Birth. Kim, Birth Doula

I liked ''The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth''. I had a few others that I ended up giving away and kept this one. I'm sure there are other great ones, I got this a few years ago. anonymous