The 7 Best Pregnancy Books to Read When You’re Expecting

Bump up your library with the best prenatal reads.

Vera Lair / Stocksy United

Nobody will argue with the fact that pregnancy can be an all-consuming, frightening, yet exhilarating, happy, and magical time. (You can pretty much add any adjective in there and it works.) Especially if it’s your first pregnancy, you’re bound to have (endless) questions that you might forget to ask the doctor, or encounter situations that nearly everyone seems to have an opinion on.

The best way to navigate pregnancy is with a balance of knowledge and calm. To help with the first part, here are some of our favorite books to read while you’re expecting.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

The book was first released in 1984 and with over 20 million copies sold, according to the publisher, this is considered one of the staples of pregnancy reading. Now in its fifth edition, this handy guide is filled with timeless information and recommendations, as well as takes on newer pregnancy concerns including dietary trends, and medication safety.

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster

From the moment you’re pregnant, you’re thrown into new, uncharted territory filled with statistics, recommendations, personal anecdotes, and more (coming at you from everywhere, really). In this book, economist Emily Oster explores the actual numbers behind verified studies that often challenge conventional pregnancy recommendations. Balanced with her share of tales from her own experiences, Oster provides some peace of mind to moms-to-be who find solace in facts, percentages, and science.

The Sh!t No One Tells You About Pregnancy: A Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Beyond by Dawn Dais

If you’re looking for a down-to-earth guide to pregnancy filled with humor, honesty, and lots of story sharing from MOFLs (moms on the front lines), then this is the book for you. If you can’t tell from the title, it’s an honest book that takes you through each trimester and tells you first-hand accounts of the good and the bad (but mostly the good), the triumphs and pitfalls, and everything in between.

The Mindful Mom-to-Be: A Modern Doula's Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth by Lori Bregman with Stefani Newman

You’ve heard by now that a happy, healthy mom is what’s best for baby, and this book can help you get there. The author explains, “you’re not just birthing a baby; you’re birthing yourself as a mom, too.” Bregman provides empowerment, techniques, and spiritual/emotional exercises to help calm and prepare you for the journey ahead.

Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhoodand Trusting Yourself and Your Body by Erica Chidi Cohen

Written by a birth and postpartum doula, this book offers a holistic approach to pregnancy and provides remedies, nutritional advice, and recipes for specific months of pregnancy, taking you from early pregnancy through baby’s first few weeks. Judgment-free, it’s a comforting book that focuses on the wellness of all parties involved through the pregnancy, complete with illustrations, honesty, and support.

Eat This, Not That When You're Expecting: The Doctor-Recommended Plan for Baby and You! Your Complete Guide to the Very Best Foods for Every Stage of Pregnancy by Jennifer Ashton, MD with David Zinczenko

All of a sudden, food and nutrition might feel like a minefield in pregnancy, even for those who were quite health-conscious prior. Thanks to this book, you’ll be provided with help in making smarter, healthier choices that provide the vitamins and minerals your baby needs to grow, and that you need for a healthy pregnancy. Written by both a board-certified OB/GYN and a leading name in the wellness game, you’ll be provided with excellent options that can arm your decision-making skills with knowledge, even when giving in to your cravings.

Newborn 101: Secrets from Expert Nurses on Preparing and Caring for Your Baby at Home by Carole Kramer Arsenault, RN IBCLC

You’re going to want a bit of guidance on how to care for your newborn you’ve spent nine months carrying, and thanks to this book, you’ll receive tips and secrets from expert nurses on how to care for your new little babe. Chock full of research and professional tips, it’s sort of like having your own personal baby nurse, just in the form of a book you can keep referring to again and again.

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