Pregnancy is filled with a lot of questions. Especially for a first time expecting parent. Is a time filled with lots of advice, some good some bad and plenty of horror stories. Why is it that people love to share their not so positive pregnancy experiences with newly pregnant people?
I found a lot of pregnancy books are like this too. They’re full of scare tactics or are completely patronizing. Most of the time these pregnancy books leave you feeling unprepared, filled with more questions than you started off with and like you don’t have autonomy over your own pregnancy and birth.
I’m not a fan of scary pregnancy culture or when pregnant people are made to feel like they have no control over themselves and their pregnancy. Yes, some of pregnancy is unknown BUT there is a lot you can control. Here are the best pregnancy books that are worth buying and reading. They are positive, guide you through your pregnancy, and give you the knowledge you need to feel confident in yourself.
Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols
This is absolutely the best book for nutrition guidance. Nichols breaks everything down for you from how much protein, fat and carbs you should aim for to what nutrients you need during pregnancy. Did you know there is a difference between folic acid and folate? Her book is evidence based and challenges the conventional pregnancy nutrition guidelines. There are chapters on gestational diabetes, group B strep and the dreaded glucose test.
I started reading this book before trying to get pregnant and made the nutrition changes. I really believe it helped me on my journey to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. If you can I highly suggest reading this before you’re pregnant but if not start reading it as soon as you find out!
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
This is a book to read before you’re pregnant. Even if you are not trying and don’t plan on trying, if you’re a menstruating person you need to read this. There is so much conventional health classes in school don’t actually teach. Like no you can’t get pregnant every single day of your cycle. The window to get pregnant is actually very small. Not every menstruating person ovulates on day 14 of their cycle. You don’t need birth control to avoid pregnancy.
I read this book a few years before even thinking of trying and right after I stopped my birth control for health reasons. After reading this I realized just how little I knew about how my body actually worked.
Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten
This is another excellent book to read before you’re pregnant if you’ve ever taken any kind of birth control. Brighton is an expert in Post Birth Control Syndrome and guides you through getting your hormones back in balance. If you’re struggling with endometriosis, PCOS, cystic acne, painful or irregular periods this is the book to read.
When I stopped my birth control I read this book. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to get my body back in balance after so many years on hormonal birth control.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Gaskin is a midwife with years of experience. The first part of the book is filled with first hand recounts of people’s natural birthing experiences. It’s a great reminder that pregnancy and birth does not have to be a scary over medicalized journey. The second part answers questions like what actually happens during birth, advice on how to work with your medical/birthing team, how to reduce labor pains naturally, how to create a relaxing comfortable birthing environment whether you want a hospital, birthing center, or home birth.
This book took away any lingering fear I had about labor. I was pretty good about not internalizing other’s fears and negativity surrounding pregnancy and birth but this book helped to solidify that for me.
The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Childbirth and Pregnancy by Genevieve Howard
Wondering what’s going on with your body and baby every week then this is the book for you. Every week there are advice, tips, natural remedies for different pregnancy symptoms and recipes. Howard includes positive birth stories, advice from Certified Nurse Midwives. There are sections on what to ask your birth team at appointments, what tests you can expect to be offered at your checkups, interview questions when searching for an OBGYN, Midwife and/or Doula.
I always read ahead about two weeks so I would know what was ahead. She also offers an online birthing class you can do at your own pace. Her pregnancy affirmation cards are great daily reminders that you’ve got this!
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