essential pregnancy reads.

Now that I’m in week 31 (whoa!) of my pregnancy, I’ve done quite a bit of researching and reading. My Bradley Method birthing classes have been so informative, but I’ve found that seeking out my own information (with varying perspectives) has been such an important part of my own birthing preparation process. There’s no shortage of pregnancy books out there, but these are my very favorite and have been essential reading in my pregnancy so far.


Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

This book is a great alternative to What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The Mayo Clinic Guide is strictly medical, with no alarming anecdotes. This book breaks down what’s happening in your body, week by week, with a helpful “symptoms guide” in the back. This was the very first book that I bought, and I’m glad I did. The most helpful portion of the book is the “How to Respond” guide (p.80-81) that lists out various signs or symptoms and when to contact your care provider depending on how far along you are.


The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America's Baby Experts (Sears Parenting Library)

I like how this book breaks down your pregnancy month by month and includes a pregnancy journal component for each month. I checked this one out from the library, but if I were earlier along in my pregnancy, it would be a must-buy. (Maybe for the next one?). This book is more holistic than the Mayo Clinic Guide, and I especially appreciate the first section, the “Healthy Pregnancy Plan” that’s a great complement to the Bradley Method curriculum. It’s a big book, but it’s straightforward, easy-reading.


HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)

I definitely plan on incorporating Hypnobirthing techniques into my labor even though I’m not currently taking Hypnobirthing classes. This book was a good overview on HypnoBirthing and having a positive outlook on birth, and the accompanying CD is particularly useful for meditation practice.


Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide

I would agree with the tagline on the back of this book that if you buy one pregnancy book, this should be it. This book is the encyclopedia of pregnancy books. It breaks down pregnancy and labor into different stages (rather than a breakdown by weeks), and it does a great job of charting and comparing the different options that you may have. There are a couple chapters on options for pain relief and comfort techniques, which I think is really helpful if you’re considering a natural, unmedicated birth. The chapters on labor complications, interventions, and birth planning are also much more comprehensive in coverage than in other books.


The Birth Partner - Revised 4th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

This is book that I discovered later into my pregnancy, and I wish I would have gotten it just a little bit earlier. Such a great read for your dad-to-be, especially. This book focuses on the last weeks of pregnancy and the labor and birth. I see it as kind of a handbook for the actual day of labor and how your birth partner can help with the day-of process.


Mind over Labor: A Breakthrough Guide to Giving Birth (Penguin Handbooks)

It's a teensy bit dated, but Dave and I have been reading this book out loud together as part of our class, and it’s just such a refreshing take on the labor and childbirth process. We practice the relaxation techniques in this book together every week.


Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

This book is also dated, but if you’re planning on the Bradley Method, it’s a step-by-step manual for how to approach labor, with specific instructions for the “coach” in your life.

And my pre-pregnancy go-to: 

Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

Whoa, was this book enlightening. There’s so much I didn’t know about my body until I read this book. It's essential reading if you’re even thinking about getting pregnant sometime in the future. I’m a big advocate of letting things happen on their own time, but this book provides great background on "timing" and "trying." (side note: If you do decide to chart, I highly recommend the



Mamas and mamas-to-be, what made your essential pregnancy reading list?