5 Books Expectant Mothers Should Read

Even though nothing can prepare you like experience, sometimes books are the best back-up teachers you can have. During your pregnancy you are likely to have questions, concerns, and just wonder if you’re the only woman who has experienced such symptoms. There are some amazing books that are there to reassure you, show you the humor in it all, teach you about your pregnancy, and prepare you for beyond the birth. If you’re pregnant there are 5 books (at least!) that you should find the time to read. While What to Expect When Your Expecting is a comprehensive guide on many moms’ shelves, there are a few other options worth noting.

Comprehensive Books to Read about Pregnancy and Birth

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, by experts from the Mayo Clinic

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

This is a comprehensive, medically sound and respected guide to pregnancy. Some of the highlights are week-by-week and month-by-month growth and development changes for mom and baby. You’ll also find the basics such as a 40-week pregnancy calendar, healthy food choices to make during pregnancy, and ideas for safe and necessary exercise during these 9 months. You can also find reassurance in the answers to embarrassing questions you might not want to ask your OBGYN and a symptom guide that can help alert you to potential problems or health issues.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin

If you’re looking for more information on the joys and challenges of natural childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is the book for you. Gaskin takes her 30+ years of practical experience as one of the country’s most prominent midwives and puts forth information that will inspire and inform expectant mothers. She writes heavily about the mind-body connection and how women can use this to have the birthing experiences that they desire. If you are at all worried that you just won’t be able to do this thing called labor and delivery, Gaskin’s book teaches you how to reduce labor pain naturally, develop a birthing plan that works best for you, and about the pros and cons of episiotomies. You don’t have to be using a midwife to learn from Gaskin’s book – she also teaches you how to work with your doctor and hospital to have the labor and delivery experience you need.

Humorous and Real-World Books about Pregnancy and Birth

From the Hips, by Rebecca Odes

This is a collection of pregnancy, labor, and delivery stories and recommendations from women who have been there and done that, as well as doctors, midwives, and baby experts. While this book covers many of the same topics as the traditional baby books do, it does so in many voices, underscoring the ideas that each pregnancy is unique, mothers have many choices, and there are more right answers than just one.

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Your girlfriends tell you how it is, and that is the approach that author Iovine takes with this book. If you like to hear the truth, edged with some humor and a lighthearted look at pregnancy, then this is the refreshing book for you. You’ll still find the basics of pregnancy like developmental and hormonal changes, morning sickness, and more, but you’ll also find hints on things like dressing and feeling like a woman during pregnancy.

Books about Breastfeeding

A Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman

Even if you haven’t chosen the feeding method you’re going to use with your newborn, this book is worth the time to read. Breastfeeding is recommended as the number one way to feed your baby and this comprehensive guide explains how to start, problems to look for, and helpful ways to deal with things like tender breasts and sore nipples.

There are so many more books that are helpful for expectant mothers, so if none of these are your favorites, there is bound to be something else that will become your go-to guide. Don’t forget to read about what happens after delivery, such as with Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality (editors Laura Jana and Jennifer Shu). Pack a book in your bag to read while waiting for doctor appointments or while soaking your swelling feet after a long day. Pretty soon your reading selection will consist of reading the same fairy tale 7 times each night.

Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”