Reading before bed with my legs up on the wall to help with inflammation is a nightly ritual for me. Charles & I are both big readers & both like to read before falling asleep. There are some weekend nights I’ll skip this & go straight to bed & I never sleep as well if I haven’t read. When we found out we were going to be parents, we started adding some parenting books in between other ones we were reading. I’ve gotten some questions on what books I read during pregnancy & which ones I’d actually recommend reading, so today’s post is covering all of that! I’m sure there are some great ones I missed, so please comment at the end with any that you loved or found helpful so others can see them.
Books I Read During Pregnancy
Both of us have laughed that a lot of these books become repetitive, especially if you read a few back to back. There are some that seemed to drag on for hundreds of pages, when they could have condensed the information down by just saying some things once to make it more concise. I’ll touch on this a bit more below when I chat more about each book.
The books I’d recommend most:
Bringing Up Bebe: This was probably my favorite read while pregnant. I got some good takeaways & appreciated the approach to sharing information. I think it’s really interesting to learn differences in cultures & how that impacts child rearing & child behavior. My favorite takeaway from this book is ‘Le Pause’ & it’s definitely something that I feel strongly about when it comes to children’s behavior. I learned a lot in my years working in the field of Psychology with children & focusing on their behavior so I enjoyed this one a lot!
Mom’s on Call: We are using this schedule when baby arrives & this is such an easy, quick read. I appreciate how condensed they made this to make it easy to reference instead of trying to hit a page number quota. I think I read the bulk of this in one night & we plan to reference it as needed when baby comes. I have several girlfriends who swear following this schedule & some of the tips in this book are the reason that their kiddos are such great sleepers. I’ve witnessed first hand how well they sleep, so I am 100% on board.
Happiest Baby on the Block: We both thought this book was informative, but very repetitive. A lot of the information is presented again & again. While super helpful & including some great takeaways, there are definitely some parts we skipped over because we had already heard it a few times. The author of this book is the inventor of the SNOO, which we are using, so we wanted to learn more about the research & thought behind it. For that it was helpful, I just wish it had been a bit more concise.
A Mindful Pregnancy: This is an easy read & really helped me prioritize taking time to meditate every other day while pregnant. It’s from the creator of the Headspace app, so while it is a man talking about pregnancy which could be off-putting for some, it was a good reminder on a lot of things I needed to hear again. Particularly, a reminder on how my mental state & wellbeing impacts baby. I’ll keep a lot of this in mind for postpartum, too! It may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.
Expecting Better: I listened to this book on long walks when I first found out we were pregnant. It was a great first read after finding out! I didn’t love the audio book version, but the information is great. It talks all about the research (0r lack there of) about all the things you ‘can’t’ do do pregnancy & why. I thought it was a great, realistic approach to pregnancy & helped me go into it with much less anxiety or worry because I had more facts.
Books I enjoyed, but aren’t essential:
Latch: This had a lot of great information about breastfeeding & I think I’ll reference it a bit when nursing. The reason I’m saying it isn’t essential is because there were some times it seemed to repeatedly push some ideas (like co-sleeping) that just aren’t for us & some of it wasn’t as concise as it could be. Breastfeeding is one of the things that intimidates me about the postpartum period, so I thought it was nice to read to feel like I had a bit more information going into it. A lot of this is definitely available online without needing the book, but it had some good takeaways.
What to Eat When You’re Pregnant: We enjoyed referencing this book each week, as it suggests foods that are supposedly beneficial for baby’s development at that time. From someone who doesn’t eat meat, there were a lot of weeks we totally skipped the suggestions, but there were other weeks we thought sure, we can incorporate avocados or salmon into our meals more intentionally this week. We aren’t sure how much this is actually researched based, but did enjoy it. I do think you could find similar info with a simple Google search though, so I wouldn’t call it an essential book.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: I feel like this is the quintessential pregnancy book. There is a ton of great info included in this book! It is the number one selling pregnancy book for a reason. The only reason I’m saying it isn’t essential is they have an app with a lot of the same information. You can also sign up for e-mails & again, find most of this information with simple Google searches. I enjoyed having it to reference, but found myself skipping through a lot of it or not reading it in it’s entirety just because the information either didn’t apply to me or I had already consumed it elsewhere.
The First 40 Days: This book is similar to what to eat when you’re pregnant, but it focuses on the postpartum period & the first 40 days following baby’s birth. There are some great ideas & recipes included, but obviously prioritizing nutritious foods is important when mama is recovering. While I have enjoyed it & will reference it, you can find the information elsewhere as well.
Sh*T No One Tells You: I actually laughed quite a few times reading this. There is a whole chapter called ‘Your Baby Isn’t Cute’ & coming from someone who thinks all babies look like little aliens, I loved the real take on this. This is more funny than informative though, so not an essential read before baby comes. I think you could get the same humor or information from talking to anyone who’s had a baby before, as it’s mostly women sharing their unique experiences with different parents of labor, delivery, or parenthood with a bit of humor.
Books You Could Skip:
It’s Really 10 Months: This book had some funny takeaways, but I didn’t find it particularly beneficial in terms of information I walked away with & can use. For me, it’s one you can definitely skip.
The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Handbook: Like my note above on What to Expect While You’re Expecting, I feel like there are so many apps & emails & things now that you don’t necessarily need a book like this when you have the same information more accessible in other ways.
The Fourth Trimester: This book had some really helpful takeaways, but some of it also was a little too much for me at times. While I enjoy hearing others’ experiences, I don’t think that sharing trauma in a way that may scare others is beneficial & some times it felt that was the case here. I also found it to be repetitive & include some recommendations that a little ‘woo woo’ or far fetched. I got some good information from it, but don’t feel like reading the entire book was necessarily worth it so it’s not one I’m quickly recommending to others at this point.
Raising Boys: My sweet friend who is also a boy mama got me this book & I was so excited to read it. I started it & felt like there was some great information included. However, it took a turn & started feeling political & more opinionated more than research based & I had to stop reading it because it made me frustrated or anxious which I don’t enjoy before bed. The man who wrote it used to be a School Psychologist as well, which is the profession I did before blogging full time, so I was disappointed in the turn it took. I may try to pick it up again one day, but for now it just wasn’t for me.
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I’d love to know what books you read while pregnant or as a new parent that you enjoyed & would recommend that I missed here. I know there are so many, but between getting everything ready around the house for baby & reading some normal books just to relax in between, we only made it through so many before we’re suddenly at the end of my pregnancy! Hopefully this is somewhat helpful for those of you who feel overwhelmed with all the options out there. As far as apps go, I enjoyed the What to Expect app & The Bump. I also looked at Ovia & Flo at the beginning of pregnancy a lot.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out our nursery reveal & my hospital bag packing list. I also have a post on our baby shower & our baby registry, as well as my first trimester essentials & second trimester essentials. I am working on one with everything I loved most during the third trimester & will work on a postpartum post when the time comes. If there is anything else you all would like to see a post on or that I can help with, please let me know! XO