Best Pregnancy Books For Any Kind of Parent

best pregnancy books
These are the best pregnancy books for every kind of concern. From childbirth, baby sleep, fitness, and more, find your next read here.

Informing yourself and those around you about your new pregnancy is the first step we take towards nesting. Using pregnancy books to do it is the age-old way to gather others’ knowledge in an easy-to-consume piece of content. Of course, now we also have apps, blogs, and (as always, our doctors) as well. 

Read more about the top pregnancy apps, ratings and features on our First Trimester Week-by-Week post.

In this post we’ll go through books that are still relevant to 2021 pregnancies, types of books you can read while pregnant to inform yourself, best for first-time moms, some books for dad to prepare, and the most popular in other English-speaking countries. 

To add, we’ll even throw in some highly-rated pregnancy journals!

Guide to this post

What type of book should I read during pregnancy?

Pregnancy guides

During pregnancy, you can, of course, read any book that you would read before, but many women opt for general pregnancy guides as well.  This might mean finding out how to nourish and care for your body as well as guides on what your body is doing all throughout your pregnancy. 

Of course, the most well known book which continues to get updated and reprinted and sold to mothers all over the world is What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 

It’s great for all the little questions you have, even out to dinner with friends, like (as told by their own description)

  • “When can I take home a pregnancy test?
  • How can I eat for two if I’m too queasy to eat for one?
  • Can I keep up my spinning classes?
  • Is fish safe to eat? And
  • what’s this I hear about soft cheese?”

Buy on Amazon

Labor and delivery books

Some women prefer to prepare mentally for delivery and labor and read everything they can about these topics. Some prefer to make every possible choice before the day of delivery as this helps them feel in control and less stressed about what they’ll experience in the delivery room.

If you’re preparing for a natural childbirth, and even if you’re not, you’ll probably find the Lamaze book for birth preparation useful. It takes into account up-to-date information such as why childbirth is getting riskier in the United States and how to best assure a safe and happy birth. 

Buy on Amazon

Books on motherhood

Some books focus less on the physiological things happening to the body and more on the social and emotional changes. There is life before and after pregnancy and before and after motherhood and coping with the transformations that will come are a large part of that 9-month prep period. Your relationships will change as will your needs and being ready takes time.

Our recommendation for this category is Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. In this first-hand non fiction story of a mother’s first year, emotions are sky-high. We read as Anne gets used to the idea of having a boy instead of a girl- much to her surprise, and losing her biggest supporter to cancer. If a pointed “how-to” book isn’t up your alley or you’ve already read them all, give this a try. Don’t forget to prep a box of tissues!

Buy on Amazon

Books on baby’s sleep patterns

It’s a lot easier to focus on your baby’s sleep patterns (or lack thereof) when you’re actually getting sleep. Learning about what awaits you after your baby’s born can help you understand what action steps to take, products to buy, and other helpful tools for helping your baby get the best sleep for their health.

Our most recommended book for understanding baby’s sleep patterns is Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He understands the concept of a “fourth trimester” and how it affects both the baby and the mom. From there he goes on to explain sleep regressions, regulating baby sleep, dynamics within parents’ relationships and more. 

Buy on Amazon

You can also take a look at the rest of the Sleep training books to read while you’re pregnant!

Pregnancy exercise books

Finally there’s the focus on pregnancy exercise books. For most, exercise during pregnancy is perfectly natural and helps keep you healthy. Consult your doctor to see if that’s the case for you. If it is, books like Exercising through your pregnancy by James F. Clapp III MD, which focuses more on the health aspect of fitness than how “fabulous” you look during your pregnancy are most recommended. Not only does it provide great tips and safe exercises, it also offers great advice and answers common questions about exercising while pregnant. 

Questions such as:

How does exercise affect growth of the fetus? What is the effect of exercise on milk production? Does exercise limit weight gain during pregnancy? And more. 

Buy on Amazon

Best pregnancy books for first-time moms

Our recommendation is to go straight to the experts. The Mayo Clinic published a book with over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.8 rating.  The book, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: 2nd Edition: Fully Revised and Updated offers trusted medical advice directly in the palm of your hand for those times when you’re not quite sure what to ask your OB next appointment or you have doubts about whether what you’re feeling is normal. Certainly, the Mayo clinic has heard most of these questions over decades of experience working with moms and they’ve included the typical and not-so-typical ones for every mom to consult. 

Buy on Amazon

Best pregnancy books for dad

Our recommendation for dads is The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions. By Penny Simkin. This reads more like a textbook than anything else but it’s really informative on dads who truly want to know what is happening when their baby is being delivered. This book gets you through Before Birth, Labor and Birth, The Medical Side of Childbirth, and After the Birth). 

Buy On Kindle

NY times best pregnancy books

Our recommendation for those who are looking for the knowledge and flare vouched for by the New York Times is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. She writes about both how to have a healthy and- as she puts it- joyful childbirth as well as shares inspirational birthing stories that will make anyone who’s pregnant motivated to take on their own.

On Kindle

Best pregnancy books in Australia

For Australian readers, The Australian Pregnant Book by Dr. Derrick Thompson, an Australian OB with experience delivering thousands of babies. Here’s what Dr. Thompson says about the objective of his book:

‘My aim is to empower women and their partners with the knowledge of the pregnancy and birthing process so that they can be far more at ease,’ says Dr Thompson. ‘It will help mothers-to-be to assess the progress of their pregnancy and the well being of their baby with information that is not readily available elsewhere.’

Buy online (not available on ebook)

Best pregnancy books in Canada

For our Canadian readers, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books comes highly recommended. It claims to be the ultimate guide to all things pregnancy and birth. It’s an actual helpful resource with no judgy, bossy attitudes getting in the way. Though it’s been around for 10 + years, it continues to get updated with the latest information and new designs to keep the book as young as the mothers that read it. 

On Kindle

What is the best pregnancy journal?

As You Grow

This memory book comes highly recommended and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a modern take on the memory-keeping of moms who can’t wait to meet their baby and know that 9 months feel both like 10 years and 10 days. Before you know it, the feelings you had during that first ultrasound will be blurry. The journal guides you through the whole process and all the waay up to when your child is 5!

Hey, a 0-5 product? That sounds familiar

As You Grow has beautiful design and personalization options, even allowing you to remove pages you don’t need! 

Buy on Amazon


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Ximena is the Content Marketing Strategist at Cubo Ai. She follows plants, dogs, and babies on Instagram and almost no one else.