Pregnancy can be an exciting, nerve-wracking period in your life, especially if it’s your first time having a baby. When you’re preparing for the arrival of a new baby and navigating the uncertainties of pregnancy, books are a great source of advice, guidance, and comfort.
Practical pregnancy guides can offer much-needed information about what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth, and the stories from other women and parents provide insights into the emotional and physical changes you may experience. Reading shared experiences of pregnancy and parenthood can offer reassurance that what you are experiencing is normal, which is a huge comfort during a sometimes-overwhelming time.
Thankfully, there are a ton of good books to read during pregnancy. And you might also consider reading enjoyable works of fiction and memoir as well. Being informed about pregnancy and childbirth can help you make the right decisions for you and your family, while reading novels can offer you some much-needed relaxation time.
Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Here are 20 of the best pregnancy books, including useful guides with valuable advice, humorous stories with heartwarming insights, and informative books covering everything you need to know about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.
General Pregnancy Guides
These comprehensive pregnancy guides provide practical information for expectant parents at every stage of pregnancy, and in the early months of parenthood.
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin and Janet Whalley
This full-color guide uses the latest medical research to help expectant parents make informed decisions during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn helps you make choices that are right for you. It offers advice for all families, including single parents, blended families, adoptive families, and gay and lesbian parents. It also covers a wide range of topics, including nutrition advice, birth plans, tips for stress management and self-care during pregnancy, and much more. With over 1.5 million copies sold, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn is a must-read guide for new parents in today’s world.
Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
This bestseller keeps expectant mothers informed at every stage of their pregnancy, by providing week-by-week information about the baby’s development and changes in your body. Your Pregnancy Week by Week also offers essential tips, nutrition advice, and appropriate exercises so you can have a healthier and safer pregnancy.
If you enjoy Your Pregnancy Week by Week, consider reading Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week for more essential advice for the first year of parenthood, including basics of child development, feeding your baby, and addressing common medical issues. Both written by Dr. Glade B. Curtis and family health expert Judith Schuler, these pregnancy and postpartum guides are filled with critical and practical information.
The Healthy Pregnancy: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts by Martha Sears and William Sears
This long-term bestseller offers guidance for a healthy pregnancy from preconception to birth, featuring information about nutrition and exercise, developmental changes in a baby, and emotional and physical changes the mother may experience. The Healthy Pregnancy discusses how to have a healthier baby, how to choose the right healthcare provider, how to continue working as a parent, and much more. With decades of experience and dozens of pediatrics books to their credit, the Searses provide trustworthy, reassuring advice and information on all aspects of pregnancy.
Books About Labor and Delivery
These informative books explore the various options a woman has about labor and the delivery process, and can help you make the best choices about your baby’s birth.
Drawing on her experiences as an OB/GYN and mother of two, Dr. Allison Hill offers a unique perspective on childbirth in its various stages. Hill presents the benefits and challenges of natural childbirth, as well as other birthing options available in hospitals and birthing centers. Your Pregnancy, Your Way offers a clear look at doctor’s biases, medical interventions and myths surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, so you can make informed decisions about your baby’s delivery.
Thirty-nine women who chose to have a natural childbirth share stories and insights about their experience, and practitioners who have supported women during natural labor and delivery offer up professional advice. The stories in Adventures in Natural Childbirth shed light on the pain, fear, joy, and other physical sensations of natural childbirth to provide expectant mothers with a better understanding of the rewards and challenges involved. The book is divided into sections based on the type of care provided, including midwife, doula, physician, and unattended, and is an insightful read for any women considering a natural delivery.
Your Pregnancy Quick Guide: Labor and Delivery by Dr. Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
Curtis and Schuler provide a variety of quick and practical tips for your delivery day, including how to prepare, how to know you are going into labor, and when to head to the hospital. They offer advice for choosing the right birthing option and important information about Cesarean delivery and pain relief options.
In addition to labor and delivery, there are several more guides in the Your Pregnancy Quick Guide series which include information for other aspects of pregnancy, such as tests and procedures to help explain all the tests you will undergo; what to expect when you’re delivering twins, triplets, and more; judgment-free strategies for breast and bottle-fed babies; nutrition and diet during pregnancy; and advice for women of color on the unique experiences of their pregnancy.
Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today’s Mothers-to-Be by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson
Practicing good nutrition is an important part of a healthy pregnancy, as everything you eat affects your developing child. Eating for Pregnancy makes it easy to ensure that your diet fulfills your needs and the needs of your baby by explaining everything you need to know about nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy. This handy guide includes 150 delicious and healthy recipes for you and your family, as well as meal-planning guides, information about dietary supplements, vegetarian recipes, advice for diabetics, and tips for dining out.
Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy by Tara Mataraza Desmond and Shirley Fan
Chef Tara Mataraza Desmond and dietitian Shirley Fan share recipes designed to satisfy the sometimes particular cravings and finicky appetite you’ll experience during pregnancy, while offering excellent nutrition for your baby and yourself. From quick afternoon snacks to dinners for the whole family, Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy provides delicious options for every expectant mother and every meal. The healthy recipes will fill you up without relying on unhealthy fats or empty calories, making it easier to shed the extra postpartum pounds. While the recipes are designed for promoting a healthy pregnancy, you are sure to continue to enjoy them long after your baby is born.
Pickles and Ice Cream: A Bizarre Pregnancy Cravings Cookbook by Vicky Jacob-Ebbinghaus and Juarez Rodrigues
Although it’s not actually a guide for eating during pregnancy, Pickles and Ice Cream should be included on any expectant mother’s book list. A hilarious and quirky read, it offers recipes that celebrate the strange pregnancy food cravings you may experience. With beautiful images and deadpan humor, Pickles and Ice Cream is sure to make you laugh, and possibly entice your taste buds with recipes shared by real women.
Pregnancy Exercise Books
Staying in shape during and after pregnancy is a common concern for expectant mothers. These books about exercising while pregnant can help you keep your body healthy and assist you in losing weight after your baby is born, if that’s something you decide you’d like to do.
The Pregnant Athlete: How to Stay in Your Best Shape Ever—Before, During, and After Pregnancy by Brandi Dion, Steven Dion, and Joel Heller
For those dedicated to fitness and athletics, pregnancy can pose challenges for staying in shape. In The Pregnant Athlete, triathlete and trainer Brandi Dion, fitness professional Steven Dion, and OB/GYN Joel Heller offer useful advice for maintaining fitness and staying healthy. By dispelling common myths about exercise during pregnancy, The Pregnant Athlete shows how it is possible to sustain a high level of fitness while carrying a child. This handy book also includes workout plans, tips for eating well, and inspiring stories from pregnant athletes.
Another great read for women who want to stay fit during pregnancy, The Pilates Pregnancy provides a Pilates routine specifically for pregnant women to do at home. Pilates can benefit pregnant women by strengthening the abdominal muscles and relaxing the body. Winsor’s mat-based Pilates routine is gentle and low-impact, making it suitable for women of any shape and size and at any stage of pregnancy.
Books About Life During and After Pregnancy
For first-time parents, all the new experiences of pregnancy can sometimes feel overwhelming. These books about what to expect during and after pregnancy can soothe the common anxieties that expectant parents share and provide much-needed comfort during pregnancy and new parenthood.
Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy
A New York Times bestseller, Belly Laughs provides a hilarious and down-to-earth take on what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth. Actress and TV host Jenny McCarthy describes the joys and pains of pregnancy as she experienced them—including morning sickness, pregnant sex, and hemorrhoids—in a refreshingly straightforward and humorous way. Belly Laughs provides honest insight, as well as comic relief, about the ups and downs of having a baby.
Having a child can cause significant professional challenges for working women. And though more and more workplaces are moving toward family-friendly policies, mothers still face discrimination at work. Here’s the Plan offers assistance for women who want to be fantastic parents while also advancing in their career. Full of advice for negotiating leave, flex time, and promotions, Here’s the Plan can serve as a roadmap for ambitious mothers to navigate their career and raise children.
Lifestyle blogger Jordan Reid divulges the truth about what pregnancy and new parenthood is really like by taking an honest, humorous, and sometimes heartbreaking look at difficult topics like challenges with intimacy and judgment from peers during pregnancy. Carrying On offers a candid account of life during pregnancy, as well as advice on fashion, beauty, entertaining, and home décor, and is a great read for any woman eager to learn how to navigate the life-changing arrival of a new baby.
Global pop star Kelly Rowland teams up with her longtime OB/GYN, Dr. Tristan Emily Bickman, to answer the questions every new mother has after giving birth and experiencing unexpected physical and emotional changes. From body aches to postpartum bleeding, Rowland recounts her craziest postpartum questions and Dr. Bickman’s reassuring answers. Rowland wrestles with new thoughts and emotions while considering her hopes for motherhood and the rest of her life. Humorous and down to earth, Whoa, Baby! helps you face each surprising new development in your life after having a baby.
Pregnancy Books for Dads
While many pregnancy books are written primarily for expectant mothers, expectant fathers can also benefit from reading books about pregnancy. These books for dads-to-be offer advice and insight about pregnancy, birth, and how to be a supportive partner.
Your Pregnancy for the Father-To-Be: Everything Dads Need to Know about Pregnancy, Childbirth and Getting Ready for a New Baby by Dr. Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
This comprehensive guide covers all the things expectant fathers need to know to prepare for pregnancy and childbirth. This includes medical information, resources, a glossary of terms, and explanations of tests and procedures your partner may undergo. With the goal of helping you become the best father (or partner) you can be, Your Pregnancy for the Father-To-Be offers advice on being an awesome labor coach, and adjusting to the impact that having a baby can have on your relationship.
Rocking Fatherhood: The Dad-to-Be’s Guide to Staying Cool by Chris Kornelis
Entertaining and uplifting, Rocking Fatherhood encourages you to find joy during pregnancy and new parenthood, instead of worrying about bad scenarios that could happen. Music journalist Kornelis focuses on how parents can make the best decisions for their own family in every area, including breastfeeding, pregnancy sex, birthing classes, and more. With wisdom from doctors and scientists, and real stories from dads and moms, it aims to take some of the stress out of pregnancy.
Novels and Memoirs to Enjoy During Pregnancy
Reading novels and memoirs during pregnancy can offer a welcome distraction as you approach the final months, and they can also provide insights into the joys and challenges of raising children. These books address the complex relationships between children and their parents, making them valuable reads – and a good way to relax – when you’re expecting.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
A smart and hilarious novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette follows a 15-year-old’s journey to find her mother, Bernadette, after she disappears. Bee compiles emails, documents, and secret correspondence from her brilliant and agoraphobic mother, looking for clues, and in the process, she discovers her mother’s secrets. Where’d You Go, Bernadette illustrates a unique and quirky bond between an eccentric mother and her teenage daughter, and is now a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett.
And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O’Connell
One of the most critically acclaimed books of 2018, And Now We Have Everything takes an unflinching look at the emotional and existential impacts of young motherhood. With dark humor and brutal honesty, O’Connell recounts getting pregnant accidentally in her twenties and navigating the stigma of unplanned pregnancy. She addresses the expectations placed on women during pregnancy, as well as postpartum body and sex issues, and the strangeness of adopting a new identity as a mother. And Now We Have Everything bravely tackles taboo topics and answers the unspoken questions of many young and new mothers.
The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron
An international bestseller, this powerful novel tells the tale of two women living millennia apart, but linked by the experience of young motherhood. A modern-day archaeologist races to excavate new Neanderthal artifacts before the arrival of her baby, while 40,000 years ago, one of the last remaining female Neanderthals journeys to save her people from extinction. Suspenseful and moving, The Last Neanderthal delves deep into motherhood and what it means to be human.
You can expect to find the best books for expecting mothers and fathers from Hachette Book Group. Whether you are first-time parents or awaiting the arrival of your third child, reading can offer guidance, comfort, and reassurance during pregnancy. Grab a pregnancy guide book to answer your burning questions about growing and birthing a child, or pick up a beloved novel for some smiles and laughter. If you are looking for your next book to read during pregnancy, be sure to explore the wide selection Hachette Book Group has to offer. Our collection includes wonderful books for any family with a baby on the way.