When I first thought about getting pregnant, I did what my nerd brain naturally gravitated toward: I went to the library and checked out a pile of books on every aspect of the topic.
I sifted through the old standby classics like What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, some humorous ones like Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy or Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. Some I found really informative, others super dry, and a few became favorites.
As the years have passed, I was turned on to some great books by my doula while I was preparing for birth. Others I have come across during my training with Birth Arts International. I’m always dissecting birth and pregnancy books.
Is the language accessible and not just medical jargon? Is it up to date with evidence based practices? Which clients or friends will appreciate this particular book?
I’ve gathered my top 3 favorite birth and pregnancy books. The bonus: they are available for free at your local library! If it’s not available for some reason, ask your librarian. Often a book title can be requested from another library or they’ll purchase it for you. If you have a favorite birth book, consider donating a copy to your local library. It’s great to have a collection of birth literature available in your community.
1)The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland
Written by YouTuber and natural parenting blogger, Genevieve Howland, this comprehensive book covers all aspects of fertility, pregnancy, and birth. It covers all the options with prenatal testing, providers, birthing locations, etc. Having these options laid out is the definition of informed consent, and can help with decision making. It offers great natural options and nutrition options without seeming too far out there. (I can honestly say that on a personal level, I laugh when I see tofu in a pregnancy nutrition book. Not happening. Pass me that giant bowl of pasta please.)
This is my favorite new pregnancy book. It's modern, it's accessible, and it gives a fresh take on birth. Have your support, know your options, and have the best birth you can that day.
2) nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood- and Trusting Yourself and Your Body by Erica Chidi Cohen.
Author Erica Chidi Cohen brings a new voice to the pregnancy and birth literature choir. Writing from the perspective of a birth and postpartum doula, she brings a compassionate conversation to the reader instead of the usual lecture you feel like you're getting (eat right, get your finances and all the things done, be happy, etc.).
The book takes a deep dive into the emotions surrounding pregnancy and birth, and offers beautifully realistic ways of handling them. She has a strong focus on self care and mindfulness that often gets overlooked. It hits the full spectrum of care that's needed for mamas and families right on the head.
Best part of this book: more than a third of nurture is dedicated to postpartum care of mom. Postpartum care often gets the short end of the stick. The focus is on labor and newborn care, often not bringing attention to the fact that moms get put through the ringer with birth. Moms need more than just a primer on how to use a peri bottle and nursing. Cohen helps to plan your household, and gives tips for healing and bonding with baby without chaos, but with a lot more grace.
3) The Whole 9 Months: A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start by Jennifer Lang, MD.
If you were like me during pregnancy, you spent the first several months trying decide what would stay down, or at least not be brutal if it came back up. It's survival mode. This title tackles the nutrition behind feeling better during those early weeks, and how to eat for wellness for the remainder of your pregnancy.
Lang breaks down what to look for in a prenatal vitamin, as well as eating to tackle pregnancy issues (hello constipation) and alternatives for crazy pregnancy cravings.
The best part are the recipes included in the book. They're easy, delicious and healthy, and several can be made while having a screaming toddler at your feet. I love a realistic take on nutrition!
What was your favorite book when you were preparing for pregnancy and birth? Share with us below!