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I did a lot of research on the best books to read during pregnancy.
I read all six of these books in the months leading up to my pregnancy, during my pregnancy, and in my first year postpartum.
I cannot recommend these books enough.
I did a lot of research when picking out the different books I wanted to read about pregnancy, and I want to share my curated list with you.
Mom Tip: Don’t have time to read? Me neither. I actually listened to all of these books on AUDIBLE during my commute to and from work. You can use this link to sign up for a FREE TRIAL of AUDIBLE and get TWO of these books for free!!!
Another Mom Tip: Not a fan of books? Want something easier to digest? Check out these 53 Best Podcasts for New Moms.
1. What To Expect Before You’re Expecting
I happen to be an extreme planner. It helps me feel in control of a situation, even when I don’t have a lot of control (i.e. trying to conceive).
Even if you are already pregnant, or have had a baby, I would highly recommend this quick read. It’s by the same author as ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting.’
The book covers essential topics for moms to be like diet, nutrition, and exercise leading up to (and a bit of during) pregnancy.
It also covers funnier topics like increasing your odds of conceiving a boy or girl.
My favorite part of this book was understanding more of my body and what happens during my menstrual cycle, as well as what happens in the first few weeks after conception.
TBH, I didn’t know much about how my body worked, and while I didn’t think much about learning about this topic at the time, once I became pregnant, it gave me so much peace of mind knowing what was going on in the initial days and weeks of pregnancy.
I would highly recommend this book if you are a first-time mom trying to conceive and are a planner like me.
2. What To Expect When You’re Expecting
This one might be a little redundant to have on the list because it is by far the most popular book about pregnancy out there. In fact, it is so popular and trustworthy that my OBGYN *gave* me a copy at my first prenatal appointment.
It is this trustworthiness though that made it my go-to during pregnancy. I love that it was just recently updated in 2016 to include newer trending topics like skin-to-skin and delayed cord clamping.
The book gives great advice on products you might need during your pregnancy, postpartum recovery (see how to make a postpartum survival kit here), and infant care (check out what you should have ready for breastfeeding).
Dad Tip: Heidi Murkoff (the author) includes special sections with instructions just for expecting dads.
Even though I got a print copy for free from my doctor’s office, I also bought the audiobook (also for free with a free trial!) to listen to during my morning commute.
The book can get dry and is very long, but there is so much good information packed in that you really want to get through the whole thing if you can. It goes in-depth with all of the prenatal appointments that you will have as well as optional testing like the 13-week ultrasound.
My husband and I also had a rule, that we–ok I–would look up any pregnancy-related questions in the book FIRST before taking to Google. Google was very overwhelming to me with an unending amount of information. It saved us–ok me–a lot of time and helped me manage my anxiety.
3. Bringing Up Bébé
Maybe it’s because I grew up in France–a story for another day–but I found this book HILARIOUS, and also packed full of information.
The premise is a young American mom living in Paris who notices that French women have a completely different way of parenting than Americans, and in turn, their children seem happier, can play independently, sleep through the night by 8 weeks, and eat whatever food is put in front of them.
She goes on a journey to find out the secrets to motherhood in France and writes about her findings–and attempts to implement them with her own children–in a very funny way.
The book reads like a ‘momedy’ but is loaded with really practical tips and pieces of advice.
I wish I would have read this book BEFORE my son was born (in fact I didn’t read it until he was almost 8 months old) because there were many sleep tips that I think could have worked for my son.
I don’t think you have to be a Parisian or even know anything about France to enjoy this book, but you definitely have to be open to other cultures, as some of the parenting philosophies are VERY different from what we have in the United States.
Overall, this was my favorite book for ease of reading, comedic factor, research, and practical tips.
Looking for pregnancy books for dads? Check out the 39 Best Pregnancy Books For Dads.
4. What To Expect The First Year
You might be thinking that this is just one giant ad for Heidi Murkoff at this point. I can assure you that it is not! These just happen to be my favorite books on becoming a mother.
I love them because they have so much information that is constantly updated. All of the information is relevant, even though these are the same books that my mom read when she was pregnant with me.
Just like with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “What to Expect in Your First Year” is a lot of information to digest all at once.
Again, I listened to the whole thing via audiobook, and I had a paper copy that was handed down to me by a friend.
I would suggest starting to read this book when you are about halfway through pregnancy. I wouldn’t read the entire book. Instead, I would read through months 3-4 and maybe skim the rest.
This book is great just to get an idea of what to expect AFTER the baby is actually here.
You might know Emily Oster from her previous book “Expecting Better.” She is an economics professor at Brown University, who decided to take a more logical and analytical approach to decision-making as a mom.
When doing research on books to read during pregnancy I was hesitant about this one because a lot of reviews said that she presented the facts, and then let the reader make their own decisions. These people were looking for a book to make the decisions for them.
As someone who found decision-making very hard in the early days of motherhood, I wasn’t sure if this book was going to be a good fit for me, but I came back to it time and time again and finally just decided to buy it.
Emily dives into controversial topics like sleeping positions, breast and bottle feeding, vaccinations, screen time, etc. that many other books don’t want to cover.
She presents data from both (or sometimes all) sides of these topics and presents it in an easy-to-understand way.
She also gives a ‘summary’ at the end of each chapter which is great to refer back to later.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the initial decision-making model that Emily presents. It is a model that you can use for all of your parenting decisions. So, the initial drawback that I thought was true (the book doesn’t make the decisions for you) wound up being one of the most useful tools to me.
6. The Wonder Weeks
If you have ever hung out in the mommy forums online, you have probably heard of the term ‘leaps.’
New moms, who ask questions like ‘Why is my baby so cranky today?’ are often met by veteran moms with an answer like ‘How old are they? They are probably going through leap #.’
I read these responses over and over again in the forums, not really knowing what a leap was.
My mom actually bought me this book after hearing great things about it. Lo and behold, this book talks all about these ‘leaps.’ In fact, they are the creators of the theories and science behind the ‘leaps’
What is a leap? From what I gathered in the book, a leap is more of a developmental period, rather than a developmental milestone.
Each leap is comprised of ‘sunny’ (read: happy) and ‘stormy’ (read: crabby) periods for babies.
The book tells you exactly when these leaps are going to happen (they are shockingly close), why they are happening, and what new skills your baby will have once the leap is over.
Mom Tip: Again, don’t have time to read the book? The Wonder Weeks has an AMAZING app that you can download on your phone to deliver all of the content to you when you need it. It is a paid app, but a fraction of the price of the book, and well worth it! I personally have both the book AND the app.
I loved this book because it made me slow down and really pay attention to my son. If you’re having trouble understanding your baby, you should read my post on the secret baby language that will make it a lot clearer.
We often think of the milestones as just smiling, rolling, sitting, walking, talking, etc. but the “Wonder Weeks” breaks down developmental milestones into both emotional and physical developments, as small as learning to turn their head.
Another Mom Tip: Take the time to fill out the leaps on your calendar after purchasing the book. It will make life make so much more sense when you can just look at your calendar to understand why your baby is being particularly happy or grumpy at a given time. If you download the app, it has a calendar tracker for you!