The discovery and announcement of a pregnancy can be one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences in any young couple’s life. There’s a certain level of volatility with pregnancy announcements. You may know what’s coming up in a person’s life, but making it to birth and beyond is going to take a considerable amount of effort on the parts of both parents.
Pregnancy is a long, difficult process—often with unexpected delays, rushed doctor’s visits, and the occasional scare. And if you’ve never had a close family member or friend go through the experience, it can be all too easy to label normal bumps in the road as insurmountable obstacles standing between you and your child.
Luckily, there is a myriad of resources you can check out to put yourself at ease when it comes to the pregnancy in your life. Whether you’re the father of the child or the mother, there are articles, websites, forums, and of course, books that you can check out to uncover what you need to know as you head into one of the most important parts of your life.
Today, we’ll specifically be looking to the best pregnancy books on the market today—guides that are brief in page count but filled to the brim with valuable information that we think you need to know during the pregnancy period and beyond.
We’ll also be going over what you need to look for in a pregnancy book, the choices we made that gave us these books, and which book may be right for your in our Buyer’s Guide.
There’s no reason to fear pregnancy—these five best pregnancy books are sure to ensure success for yourself, your spouse, and your new arrival.
What to Look For in a Pregnancy Book
Before we get into the books themselves, it’s important that you know exactly what sort of information we’re going to be looking for when it comes to these pregnancy books.
A good pregnancy book covers tons of different topics, so it would be difficult to explain a consistent list of subjects that need to be covered. However, we can say with confidence that we think the following attributes of a prospective pregnancy book are good places to start.
- Month-by-month changes
- Information on trimesters
- Common problems & issues
- Authoritative and accurate health information
- Tools for birth, newborns, and beyond
Pregnancies aren’t static states—and a photo taken on the first and last day of pregnancy would easily reveal that women go through drastic changes during their pregnancies.
You’ll need a month-by-month guide to help you through the changes, both big and small, that occur in a woman’s body as she begins approaching childbirth. These range from nausea expected early on in the pregnancy right out to stretch marks and baby weight issues that may stem from the final months and beyond.
And on the subject of changes throughout pregnancy, information about the three trimesters of pregnancy is also crucially helpful. While a month-by-month guide is important, pregnant women and couples will be seeing several doctors during their pregnancy who will talk in terms in trimesters.
While these medical professionals should be able to explain the differences between the trimesters and how to tell them apart, having a guide on hand will assuredly give you the peace of mind you need for a continuing and healthy pregnancy.
Next up, any pregnancy book with its salt will cover the common problems and issues associated with pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, most women deal with one or more minor issues in their pregnancy on the way to childbirth.
In many ways, expecting the unexpected is par for the course of a standard pregnancy. And a practical guide to navigating everything from kicks and bumps to bleeds and lumps is going to take much of the mystery and the fear out of giving birth.
Of course, all of the information in a pregnancy book is nothing without sources and citations to back up the material and prove that the words you are reading are accurate. Because of this, the best pregnancy books often come from hospitals, clinics, and experts in their fields around the world.
Make sure that the information you’re getting is accurate—and check up on each of your picks to make sure the information is up to date. As technology advances, we begin to understand more and more of the process of pregnancy. Relying on old information can be dangerous in this regard.
Finally, the best books on the subject of pregnancy recognize that babies aren’t necessarily far easier than pregnancy. Long after checking out of the hospital, it will take a lot of work on the part of the parents to raise a child and make their way out of the newborn stage.
While it may not be an absolute requirement for a pregnancy book to talk about the subject of newborns and babies, we think that having a book cover these topics, even briefly, will make the transition from pregnant life into new parenthood far easier.
These five basic tenants of a pregnancy book apply to each of the five picks on our list. Be sure to check out each of our picks, and if you’re still not sure about which may be right for you, we recommend heading to our Buyer’s Guide at the end of the overview.
How We’ve Chosen Our Books
Our pregnancy books were picked on a number of metrics, including but not limited to:
- Authority of the author
- Relevancy of the information
- Resources offered
We believe that these four metrics give us the best overall chance of finding only the best of the best books on the subject of pregnancy.
We also gave particular focus to the sources cited in each of these books. Misinformation is especially predominant in the world of pregnancy, as many books range from hard facts to alternative and holistic medicine and beyond.
While we don’t want to discredit a holistic approach to medicine, we do also want to recognize that using the best available scientific knowledge is often the best approach. It’ll be up to you to discern which alternative techniques you wish to implement, but it is more important that you first recognize what the experts say as well.
Otherwise, our picks range from educational text to relaxed and casual in tone, which we did consciously. While some parents are going to prefer books that read more like textbooks, others may be preferential to a book that’s looking to explain complex subjects in layman’s terms.
While we think these pregnancy books represent some of the best options on the market today, we also recognize that not all of them will be a perfect fit for you. Use your best judgment, worth closely and carefully with the medical professionals in your life, and always use the most up-to-date information—whether it comes from your doctor or your book.
Top 5 Best Pregnancy Books
That all being said, let’s take a closer look at some of the best books on pregnancy around. These five options run the gauntlet from textbooks and calendars for mom to guides for dad, and cover all aspects of pregnancy and beyond.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
- A completely revised and updated edition of America’s pregnancy bible, the longest-running New York Times bestseller...
- With 18.5 million copies in print, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is read by 93% of women who read a pregnancy...
- This cover-to-cover (including the cover!) new edition is filled with must-have information, advice, insight, and tips...
Perhaps more so than any other book on our list, What to Expect When You’re Expecting has one of the largest reputations. As listed on the front cover of the text, this pregnancy book is the best selling of its kind in the world.
And while popular doesn’t always equal good, Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel’s book contains everything from practical information to gentle advice and updated information on viruses and medication safety.
Are you wondering if juice bars are good for your pregnancy? Need a book that covers information for dad as well as for mom? Or are you wondering about how your lifestyle affects your child in different ways?
There’s little What to Expect When You’re Expecting doesn’t cover. It’s popular, efficient in its delivery, checks off all of our boxes, and is easy to find in just about any book store. If you’re seeking out multiple options for pregnancy books, we very much believe that this book should make your list—if not hold the top spot.
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Wick M.D. Ph.D., Dr. Myra J. (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 520 Pages - 09/18/2018 (Publication Date) - Mayo Clinic Press (Publisher)
Our second pregnancy book pick comes from arguably the most reputable source of them all.
The Mayo Clinic is widely recognized as the authoritative source of medicine. Their efforts in a variety of different ailments, from chronic disease to rare forms of cancer, has given them a rightfully-earned reputation of stringent commitment to facts.
Their efforts in a book for childbirth are no different, and you can expect the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy to read with far less tact than What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however—as you’ll be getting all facts and no fluff from the text contained in here. That means for faster reading and easier referencing when you need to go back and think a few things over.
The book is currently in its second edition and contains innumerable facts, sources, and guides within its 500-page count. While it’s certainly not as enjoyable and relaxing a read as the first book on our list, it is the closest you’ll get to a raw fact book on pregnancy information. If you want the best information possible for your pregnancy, this is the place to look.
Strong As a Mother: How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and (Most Importantly) Sane from Pregnancy to Parenthood
- Rope, Kate (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 400 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Griffin (Publisher)
This pick, as well as our next, is focused on gender-specific information that could prove to help individual parents more than generalist books may be able to.
Strong As a Mother focuses on pregnancy advice, of course, but also takes the time to focus on the needs of the mother. By taking a mother-first approach, this book works to improve the health and quality of life of the child vicariously through the life of the mother.
And in many ways, a book like this is crucial and necessary. Author Kate Rope works to explain how the emotional health and well-being of the mother has an impact on the child. Therefore, if you’re not prioritizing yourself as well as the life of the child, both will be impacted.
Likewise, we appreciate this book for going above and beyond childbirth—talking about practical childcare options and how to ensure good sleep post-pregnancy. In many ways, childbirth is the beginning of the work; not the end of it, and Strong As a Mother knows how to recognize that.
While it’s a little light on facts and heavy on opinion, we still think Strong As a Mother is a great, empowering guide to help you stay sane during some of the most difficult days of the pregnancy.
The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be
- Brott, Armin A. (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 336 Pages - 05/26/2015 (Publication Date) - Abbeville Press (Publisher)
Finding quality literature for men on the subject of pregnancy can be a difficult affair. All-too-often, books with an attempt to circumvent practical advice for “cool” slang and an approach that seems to demean more than it does inform.
Luckily, the Expectant Father isn’t like that at all. Author Armin Brott offers a month-by-month overview not only of the pregnancy but how men can help their partners through the issues that may come about with their bodies.
The book expertly balances how to efficiently provide for a partner alongside caring for and understanding the emotional changes in men during the time that parenthood begins.
And much like with the previous pick, the book extends beyond the nine months of pregnancy to talk about how fathers can continue to support, protect, and provide throughout early childhood and beyond.
The Expectant Father is the practical advice needed to ensure that a pregnancy moves smoothly for all parties involved. It does suffer from the same lack of hard facts as Strong As a Mother does, but provided both books are read supplementally alongside an option like Mayo Clinic’s, we think that there’s much to be learned here.
The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start
- Sonoma Press
- Lang MD, Jennifer (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Our final pick for pregnancy reading material is a great supplementary book to many of the others on our list. And while you won’t be getting much information on the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and childbirth, what you will get is practical advice on how to feed yourself as you move through them.
Nutrition and food preparation are never discussed as often as some of the other tenants of pregnancy—which is a real shame, as proper nutrition is one of the best ways to protect and nurture a child.
This book covers quick and easy recipes that can be made alone or in just a few minutes and talks candidly about navigating cravings and dealing with nausea that tends to come with pregnancy.
The factual information that is included is up-to-date and covers all that you need to ensure the nutritional health of a child both during pregnancy and during the newborn stage. It’s a great gift, and easy read, and a must-have for the kitchen.
Not sure where to start with these books? Why not consider doubling up?While you may have been looking for the single best book on pregnancy to cover everything you could ever need to know, the truth is, many of these books specialize on a specific aspect of pregnancies—and rightfully so.
Pregnancy is one of the most complex and difficult aspects of life to navigate through, both physically and mentally. Therefore, these books tend to break down the information into various dimensions that are more easily handled.
We think that What to Expect When You’re Expecting does a good job covering all aspects of pregnancy, but many of the other books can and should be paired with others. For instance, pairing Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy with Strong As a Mother is great for getting the facts you need and the emotional support to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
And all of our books go well with The Whole 9 Months, to make sure you’re eating right no matter how you are approaching things.
No pregnancy is the same, and you’ll need to navigate yours carefully and efficiently. We hope that our guide here has pointed you towards material that could help you and your family. As always, consult and follow the advice of medical professionals, and read the material that makes you feel ready and confident to tackle this crucial part of life.