There are so many resources and books to read during pregnancy, not even counting all the articles you can find online, that it can be seriously overwhelming! I personally read a handful of books and watched videos online and found that I only kept going back to three again and again.
If you’re like me:
- You like information that is practical and actionable without fluff or fear-mongering information.
- You also take heavily opinionated information with a grain of salt because there is no advice that works best for all. BUT you will still listen to learn and get a full understanding of the situation.
Sounds like you? Then you’ll love these resources and books to read during pregnancy.
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Good Books to Read During Pregnancy
Some good books to read during pregnancy are ones related to:
- your pregnancy so you know how to take care of your body and you know what your body is going through (makes dealing with pregnancy symptoms to much better knowing that there’s a reason behind it),
- what to expect during labor and how to deal with it,
- how to take care of yourself after birth,
- and general tips on taking care of your baby after they’re born.
Out of all the books I read related to pregnancy, breastfeeding and helping a newborn sleep, I found myself returning to Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster again and again.
This book had data-based information I could use during my pregnancy and felt more factual than the others books I read, which were heavily biased based on the author’s opinion (i.e. like the opinion of breast is best- I think whatever works for mom and baby is best).
#1 Book to Read~ Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster
How I Heard About This Book
My childhood friend of 20 years is who gifted me this book after she was done reading it for her own pregnancy. Her baby is now 12 months old and so adorable!
She shared that the author is an economist and uses a data-driven approach to pregnancy related issues.
At first, I thought it was odd that an economist was giving pregnancy advice, but as I read the book, I really came to trust her data-driven analyses of what is allowed and not allowed in pregnancy.
Why It’s the #1 Book To Read During Pregnancy
If you Google anything, you will get blanket advice such as:
- You can’t eat sushi while pregnant.
- You can’t take this medicine while pregnant.
- You can’t do X, Y and Z while pregnant.
From my experience of Googling advice, the internet and even doctors* tend to share advice that has absolute ZERO risk tolerance. They don’t want to give any advice that could possibly result in any negative outcome; even if the possibility of that outcome happening might only be 1-5% chance during your pregnancy.
*Nothing beats your doctor’s personalized advice though. So always check with your medical professional first. This book recommendation or blog post doesn’t replace any medical advice!
Unlike Google or even doctors’ advice, Emily Oster takes several studies, scrutinizes them with a data-driven mindset and presents a moderate, factual conclusion on how it actually can impact your pregnancy.
For example, most sites will say less than 200mg of caffeine is ok but some sites will also say no caffeine is allowed because this can lead to small birth weight. She takes a look at multiple studies and shows that for a negative effect to actually happen, you’ll have to drink 7-8 cups of coffee a day.
Another example is one related to toxoplasmosis, the infection caused by a parasite from gardening or changing your kitty litter box. She shares that the chance of getting toxoplasmosis is actually quite low because it’d have to be your first time getting infected, and most likely, if you’d had a cat growing up or have eaten raw meat in your life, you’ve probably had it already and can’t get reinfected.
I mean, it does sound nice having your partner change the kitty litter box throughout your pregnancy. But if you can’t avoid it, you or your cat can get tested.
She does say that gardening is worse for getting toxoplasmosis so either avoid this or wear a mask and gloves.
Emily Oster’s book has so much more myth-busting information on topics like over-the-counter medicine, alcohol, raw fish, weight gain, exercising, bed rest and more.
Yes, I ate sushi while pregnant a few times after reading Emily Oster’s book and yes, it hit the spot!
Other Books to Read During Pregnancy
I really recommend the one above but here are other books you might want to read during pregnancy.
- Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
- Emily Oster has another book out, which starts with birth and goes into parenting. The first few chapters of this book is helpful for birth and postpartum care.
- The Wonder Weeks: A Stress-Free Guide to Your Baby’s Behavior
- This is more for when your baby is born, and you don’t necessarily need the book because there’s a related app for this. But the book goes into more detail about your baby’s “leaps”, which are developmental stages that could help clue you into why your baby might be extra cranky one week over another and of course, what your baby is going through.
- Books on breastfeeding and getting your baby to sleep
- I did read a book on breastfeeding and getting your baby to sleep when they’re born, but I found them to be highly opinionated and biased towards one method. It was still interesting to learn what would be going on with my body and educating myself on what to expect but took these biased opinions with a grain of salt.
- I don’t exactly have a recommendation for which breastfeeding or sleep books to read, but Amazon has a ton here on breastfeeding and sleeping.
- However, the next resource I recommend has information on breastfeeding and getting your baby to sleep so you can use those instead of buying books you might not align with.
Best Course to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Birth and Take Care of Yourself After
Lately with all the resources online, my recommendations for books to read during pregnancy really end quickly after Emily Oster’s books.
Instead, more than anything, I highly recommend this hypnobirthing and postpartum course I took, which will give you so much information about:
- prepping yourself for labor, physically and mentally,
- and taking care of yourself, the baby and even your relationship once you give birth.
If you’re like me, you might be afraid of birth… and in fact, have been delaying even getting pregnant until your 30s out of your fear of birth. Or maybe you just want to be well-informed on birth and what to expect during labor.
What is hypnobirthing?
Hypnobirthing is a method of pain management that can be used during labor and also helps reduce, deal or manage fears and anxieties you may have around giving birth, especially if it’s your first time.
Why this hypnobirthing course?
One of the main reasons I opted for an online hypnobirthing course is because with my pregnancy symptoms, I didn’t want to commit to a weekly, long in-person course in case I didn’t feel good. I really didn’t want to push myself. I liked the idea of being able to take a course at my own pace.
Another factor was that the hypnobirthing courses around me were hundreds of dollars. Both the hypnobirthing course and the postpartum course, which I talk about below, were only 59 GBP (about $66 USD at the time of this blog post). I didn’t question the affordable price because there were tons of amazing reviews about this course, and after taking the course, I know that you don’t need to spend hundreds on a valuable hypnobirthing course when this one’s available!
Lastly, I liked how this hypnobirthing course included tips for the partner and is not only focused on mom. Mike, my husband, got a lot of valuable information out of it too.
What does this hypnobirthing course teach you?
The best thing about this hypnobirthing course is that it helped me mentally prepare for labor. It took away a lot of fear and anxiety I had about giving birth with breathing techniques, scientific knowledge about what to physically expect, positive affirmations and more.
Besides information, you get a birth plan template, guided meditations to download and a toolbox of techniques to use at the hospital or at home with your medical professional.
You can scroll to the bottom of the course page to see exactly what the modules entail.
Are there any negatives about this course?
This course (and I think most hypnobirthing courses) really promotes giving a natural birth without medication (i.e. epidural) and having a home birth.
Because of my health history, I’m going to be getting an epidural at the hospital. So if you’re like me and want medical intervention, don’t worry about the natural vs. medical intervention messaging. You do you!
Just because you are not giving a natural birth at home doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from this course. Your epidural might not work because your contractions are coming on too fast or because it didn’t spread properly throughout your spine. So you might end up giving birth the natural way anyways.
This course will help you maintain a flexible mindset and give you techniques to deal with whatever may come your way!
Where can I sign up to this course?
You can sign up for the course here but I’d recommend getting the postpartum course with it so you can also learn how to take care of yourself after birth, what to expect with the baby and even how to manage your mental health and relationship with your partner after birth.
Postpartum Care Course
Because the bundle wasn’t that much more than the hypnobirthing course itself (£39 vs £59 – $45 vs $66 USD at the time of this post), I also bought the bundle, which included the postpartum care course.
The postpartum care course teaches you a wide array of helpful things to help mom, baby and even mom and the partner! Lessons include but are not limited to:
- What to expect in the first few days for mom and baby, which includes the healing process, cord care for the baby, swaddling and more
- How to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby, which even includes the emotional aspects of both
- What to expect for infant sleeping with guidelines
- How to support your mental health
- Physical recovery tips
- Relationship challenges and tips
- Yoga and wellbeing workshops
I really love that the postpartum course goes beyond physical tips and the baby and thinks about mom’s mental health and mom and partner’s relationship.
The only thing I didn’t find helpful about this course is that it’s from the perspective of living in the UK. So when it goes through how the medical system works for the early days of being home, it wasn’t exactly the most relevant.
Nonetheless, I’m sure it mirrors similarly to what we do so it was nice to have the information on kind of what to expect. Also the rest of the course is so helpful that this tiny part of it not being 100% relevant was ok!
You can grab the bundle here.
Best App to Get You Through the Day
I downloaded a handful of pregnancy apps and instantly loved the What to Expect app.
Both Mike and I downloaded it and were able to login with one account so he could check it daily too.
Here’s what I love about this app:
- It gives you one tip a day about what to do. It’s not overwhelming at all.
- There’s short videos that tell you what’s going on with your body and your baby for that week. It’s really nice to know what’s going on, which in a way makes the symptoms you’re experiencing OK! Also, it’s so fascinating to learn how amazing your body is and how quickly it can change to support life. Go you!
- If you’re having new symptoms and you don’t know if they’re normal or not, you can open the app to see what common symptoms are for that week of pregnancy. Chances are you’ll be right in line with what symptoms you should be experiencing and it’ll ease any fears you have.
- There’s a section with articles from their site so you can get more in depth information if you need.
What I love most about this app is the Community section.
You can join a forum with other women who are expecting at the same time as you and post there if you need personalized help or just browse through to see what other women are going through.
For me, it was helpful when I got certain symptoms to browse through the forum to see if it was normal or not. Chances are other people were experiencing them too!
Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post about books to reading during pregnancy. If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit. You might like what I post on there too.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!