Now that you're expecting, head online to pick up a load of pregnancy books from Amazon — everyone knows that's the next thing you do after telling the family, right? There's just one problem: When you search for books about this topic, there are more than 50,000 results on the retail site alone. (I'm ready for a nap right now, and you're the one who's pregnant.) Obviously, there's something out there for everyone, but how do you decide which titles are right for you?
Unless you've been living under a rock, it would be hard to have existed in this society without having heard of What To Expect When You're Expecting. This pregnancy manual is so popular, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and half the cast of Pitch Perfect made a movie based on it, as improbable as that seems. While it's the first title most people think of at the mention of "pregnancy book" — and it's definitely the reliable all-around standard in this category — there are choices for every angle of pregnancy and that deal out the requisite information in any tone you're looking for.
Here's a selection that includes a little bit of everything from the straightforward medical perspective to the relatable next-door-neighbor angle to a really interesting economics-based approach on all the seemingly disparate advice your OB-GYN overwhelms you with from the moment you see those two little lines. See which one tickles your fancy — with hundreds of 4-plus star reviews on Amazon, they're all winners in their own way.
1. The Gold Standard
The hands-down champion for overall advice, What To Expect When You're Expecting is not surprisingly a best-seller. This updated edition is packed with all the latest information on topics like the Zika virus, raw diets, and vaping, plus plenty of advice for dads. Alternatives to traditional hospital deliveries are covered as well as cesarean trends including VBACs and "gentle cesareans." What To Expect can serve as a solid all-in-one book or a great jumping-off point for more in-depth research, depending on how much intensive research you're planning on doing.
2. A Natural Approach
Author Genevieve Howland is the creator of the heavily-trafficked Mama Natural channel on YouTube, and The Mama Natural: Week-By-Week Guide To Pregnancy & Childbirth is the "offspring" of her work there, formatted to offer a natural guide to pregnancy and childbirth. Her warm, humor-filled tone guides women through the journey in a manner that's based on empowerment and putting Mom in charge of the pregnancy and birth process.
3. Wide-Ranging With Plenty Of Maternal Anecdotes
Where What To Expect has sort of a cozy, homey tone, Pregnancy, Childbirth, And The Newborn is structured around evidence-based medicine and does a solid job of providing pregnancy and birth stories from mothers to enliven all the statistics. The result is that you're armed with all the latest information you need to feel in control of your pregnancy and your birth plan, so if you like being in the driver's seat, then this is the book for you. Many different family scenarios are also portrayed in this book, from parents from the LGBTQ community to blended and adoptive families — the inclusivity is a plus.
4. Advice Straight From The Doctor
Mayo Clinic's Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy is a natural if you're looking to cut straight to the chase for authoritative information. The book begins with advice on how to get pregnant then continues with week-by-week and month-by-month updates and pointers for the health of both mother and baby. Reviewers rave about the pictures and illustrations included depicting each stage in fetal development and that the tone of the book is neither confusing nor condescending. This volume is practical and comprehensive.
5. If You're Into Data
If you've been pregnant before, and wondered if all those things you've heard (no deli meats, no sushi, no caffeine, pregnancy is riskier after 35, and on and on and on) are true, Expecting Better is the pregnancy book for you. Author and award-winning economist Emily Oster heard all the same things when she got pregnant and decided to take a look at the data behind the advice, only to find out much of it was, in fact, faulty. This book is positioned as a "data-driven decision-making guide" and makes a good complement to the week-by-week type manuals. The input it provides makes moms informed consumers of the care they receive.
6. When Food Is Your Medicine
Planning for a healthy, happy pregnancy made better through nutrition? This book provides week-by-week guidelines for both nourishment and assuaging pregnancy symptoms like nausea and cravings with the help of healthy foods. The author, Dr. Jennifer Lang, is an OB-GYN herself, and she uses that knowledge to back up the suitability of the recipes, guidelines, and tips she includes in this reference. Dr. Lang cuts through the overload surrounding maternal and fetal nutrition, making the information easy to take in. Her suggestions include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.