There are literally hundreds of pregnancy books out there and how do you sift through all of them to find the best of the best or how to find which one is best for you? My list has a natural bent, so if that’s not you because and you want all the tests and all an epidural at the first sign of contractions then just click here to buy this ever so popular pregnancy book and this other book at the top of many reading lists, a popular book written by doctors.
This list is for women who want to research their options, be well-informed, have the healthiest pregnancy possible, and hope to avoid interventions and drugs during birth. Essentially, this is a list of the best books for natural pregnancy and birth. I’ve divided these into categories: General pregnancy books, preparing for a natural birth, breastfeeding, and parenting.
These all happen to be on the bookshelves at my house that I accumulated through my five pregnancies, (yes this girl has been there, done that pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering thing FIVE times, and now all those babies have turned into teenagers.) My books are well-read and worn-out because I pass them amongst my friends and doula clients. I think you’re going to find a few books to call your own and love too.
Please note that these are Amazon links and if you click on a book, I will receive a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you.
best pregnancy books
Thinking Woman’s Guide is my favorite pregnancy book and that’s why it’s at the top of this list. Before reading this book, I knew the tests and procedures I wanted to avoid, but I didn’t really know why I should avoid them. Henci shows why with all the research she cites. This book contains many appendixes and is well-indexed. To read a sample chapter, see the table of contents, and lots more, go to Henci Goer’s website. I read this book during my first pregnancy and then I kept it around as a reference book. It’s really easy to look up a test or procedure that’s being recommended for you during pregnancy.
Joining a few other authors, Penny Simkin’s book writes an excellent overview of all things relating to pregnancy. Before there were hundreds of pregnancy books, there was this one and now it’s newly updated with current research. A good, general guide for prenatal care, healthy diet, what to avoid, labor, breastfeeding, other postpartum issues. Penny is a physical therapist, a long-time birth worker, and the founder of DONA International. She’s been around the birth-scene for a long time and knows her stuff!
If you’re pregnant, read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth from cover to cover and then read it again! Ina May is the nation’s leading midwife. The national cesarean average is 31% and climbing. Ina May’s is less than 2% over 30 years. Ina May trusts birth and labor. Read this book and be inspired to trust in the process of labor. You’ll read a variety of birth stories so you can see how labor is different for every woman. Some of the topics addressed are avoiding an episiotomy, vaginal birth after cesarean, choosing a caregiver, and the emotional aspect of labor.
best breastfeeding books
For me, the best part of Birthing From Within is how to get over fears surrounding birth. Perhaps you’ve experienced a birth trauma or know someone who has. England offers practical steps to take to move past the fear. She explores the emotional and not just physical aspects of birth.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Seventh Revised Edition (La Leche League International Book)
is a comprehensive guide to being successful at breastfeeding. Read it while pregnant so you know what to expect and then keep it on hand to answer questions that may come up after your baby is born. Contains evidenced-based research. Tips on continuing to nurse your baby after going to work.
The Baby Book is the best baby book that I’ve seen, and really the only one you need. Comprehensive. Lots of breastfeeding information. My favorite part is the symptom chart so you can figure out what’s wrong with baby when he’s sick, with recommendations on when to call the doctor and when home care is all that’s needed. My copy is all worn out since I refer to it so much. A must-have on every parent’s bookshelf!
books to help prepare for a natural birth
Dr. William Sears and his wife Martha Sears team up to write The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library). The book starts with all eight of Martha’s birth stories. Important information includes how to choose your doctor or midwife. This book gives a good overview of pregnancy, labor, and birth.
by Carl Jones is a quick and simple read with exercises in it that will help you achieve relaxation for your mind and body. This book helps to dispel fears you might have surrounding birth. I use the word pictures with my doula clients and couples in childbirth class. One of my favorites!
Natural Childbirth the Bradley® Way by Susan McCutcheon is a practical hands-on learning tool in helping you to achieve a natural birth using many different relaxation techniques. Susan is a nurse and this is a much different read than the book by Dr. Bradley himself.
A must read for every birth junkie (doulas and childbirth educators) is Robbie Davis-Floyd’s anthropological look at the history of birth in America. She talks about how women in America view birth as a result of our culture and growing up with medicalized hospital birth as the norm. She follows the move from birth in the home to the mass migration to birthing in the hospital and the grassroots effort to bring birth back where it belongs~ in the home. She explains the history of childbirth education.
Anne Geddes is best known for her babies in flower pots photos. This is not that at all. Breathtaking. These remarkable photos celebrate pregnancy and motherhood, even making stretch marks beautiful. I gave this book to one of my midwives and she loved it.
other must have pregnancy books