10 Top Books for Expectant Parents

The list of things you’ll need to do when you learn you are expecting a new baby can be overwhelming; from shopping to preparing nutritious meals, taking birthing classes, and preparing emotionally. But you don’t have to go it alone! Parents-to-be can find a wealth of knowledge about pregnancy and parenting, with just one quick trip to the library. Here are 10 top books for expectant parents that you might want to check out to help have a healthy and more enjoyable pregnancy.

10 top books for expectant parents

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff.
This book is considered the pregnancy bible. It was first published in 1984 and has sold more than 30 million copies. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” takes you step-by-step through what your pregnant body is going through and answers so many questions about pregnancy. The book contains both practical advice on pregnancy and tips and tricks to get you through those important 9 months. It also discusses medical information, skin care and more. There’s also a chapter for parents expecting multiples, and lots of information for soon-to-be dads too. According to USA Today, 93% of all expectant mothers who will read a book about pregnancy read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

“50 Things to Do Before You Deliver” by Jill Krause
This get-things-done book guides you along a trimester-by-trimester to-do list so that you’ve got all your ducks in a row by the time your new baby gets here. It was written by Jill Krause, who started the award-winning pregnancy and baby blog “Baby Rabies.”

“Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin
Ina May Gaskin has been a midwife for nearly 30 years. She is the former president of the Midwives Alliance of North America. She wrote “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” back in 2003 but it continues to top the best-selling pregnancy books list. The book has helped millions of women overcome their fear of childbirth. It has also helped them feel more confident in their body’s ability to have a healthy birthing experience without pain medication. The book covers topics ranging from episiotomies to post-partum breathing and more.

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

“The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy”
Written by – you guessed it – doctors at the Mayo Clinic. This book contains week-by-week updates on your baby’s growth and development, exercise and meal planning during pregnancy. It also contains a 40-week pregnancy calendar and much more. It was written nearly a decade ago but continues to be one of the top-rated books for expectant parents.

Top 10 books for expectant parents

Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions” by Penny Simkin
Penny Simkin is a childbirth educator, doula, and birth counselor who has helped thousands of women give birth.  Her best-selling book has been described as the definitive guide for anyone helping a woman through labor and birth.  It helps birth partners prepare for labor and to recognize the signs that labor has actually started. It also assists during every phase of the birth process. This book offers drug-free techniques for easing a birthing mother’s labor pains.  

“Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet! Honest & independent reviews to help you choose your baby’s car seat, stroller, crib, high chair, monitor, carrier, breast pump, bassinet & more” by Alan & Denise Fields
This best-selling guide to buying baby gear has been updated 13 times since the original version was published. The most recent edition was published in 2019. Some of the top highlights of this parent-favorite include

1. Top picks for cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, diapers and more
2. Cheat-sheets for your baby registry featuring a good, better, best section.
3. The truth about strollers―and which brands work best in the real world.
4. Dozens of safety tips to keep baby safe and affordably baby proof your home.
5. Detailed charts that compare brands of cribs, high chairs, car seats and more.

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy

“The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy” by Vicky Iovine
If you’re looking for a humorous way to digest the mountain of information you’ll need to get through during your pregnancy, this book’s for you! It has sold more than 2 million copies since it was published! It also continues to be a favorite fun way for moms-to-be to learn about their pregnancy and parenthood.

“Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know” by Emily Oster.
If you like data-driven pregnancy facts, you’ll love this book. The book was written by Oster, who’s an economics professor at Brown University. When she became pregnant, she wanted to know why pregnant women are told to avoid ceratain foods. For example: cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. She evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy. She discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. “Expecting Better” debunks many pregnancy myths. It explains everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening.

Real Food for Pregnancy

“Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition” by Lily Nichols.
Nichols is a registered dietician and nutritionist with an extensive background in prenatal nutrition. Her book “Real Food for Pregnancy” highlights the problems with current prenatal nutrition guidelines. It also provides the evidence—930 citations and counting—that supports a real food diet to optimize maternal and fetal health. Nichols sorts through the mountain of advice about what to eat during your pregnancy and contrasts it to actual data.


“The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Genevieve Howland
Howland is a childbirth educator, breastfeeding advocate, and creator of the popular pregnancy and parenting website Mama Natural. Howland’s book is for parents who want to embrace holistic health principles and ancient birth traditions during their pregnancy and delivery. Her book contains information on natural remedies for many symptoms pregnant moms experience. Her book also includes positive pregnancy and birth stories from women around the world. 

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