The idea of bringing a new life into this world is one that brings hope and unparalleled joy to so many. But once the initial excitement settles, most parents-to-be are left to ponder an infinite number of questions—often ones they never would have imagined asking before.
The trouble with all those questions is that there’s so much information floating around—whether it comes from the internet, books, or word of mouth—that it can be hard to tell fact from fiction.
To simplify your hunt for answers, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 best pregnancy books for first-time parents. These books provide insightful tips, a few good laughs, and most importantly, reminders that you’re not alone on your journey to parenthood.
12 Best Pregnancy Books
You can count on these books to offer information, encouragement, and support as you prepare to meet your little one.
Important: You should still consult your physician before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine to make sure they’re the right fit for you and your baby.
1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
The classic pregnancy handbook answers all of your burning questions and examines those famous tales about what’s safe and not safe to eat. With helpful, simplified insight, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know from pregnancy test to birth.
You’ll also get expert advice about working while pregnant and your rights on the job, along with how much exercise is just right. It’s a classic, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated—this book still has plenty of helpful and important information for those who are expecting.
2. 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver
It might feel like you have a million things to do before you deliver, but this book helps you recognize the 50 most important for first-time moms.
Don’t get lost in the maze of information floating around the web and mom-to-be groups. With this guide, you can focus on the 50 most important tasks, trimester by trimester.
The book also includes helpful tips for using technology to track and learn about your pregnancy, along with judgment-free tips moms, OB-GYNs, and midwives.
3. Strong as a Mother
Raising a happy and healthy baby will be your biggest priority, but staying sane as a mommy should be equally important.
Starting from your pregnancy, this book will help you make informed choices based on what’s best for your child, while also helping you to prioritize your own emotional health, ask for help when you need it, and set important boundaries.
You’ll learn how to build an even stronger relationship with your partner and actually enjoy the hardest job you’ll ever take on.
4. Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy
Nurture presents everything the modern mother and her partner needs to know in a comprehensive format with an integrative approach.
Author and experienced doula Erica Chidi Cohen provides information and advice that covers the first weeks of pregnancy to the baby’s first weeks of life.
The book includes self-care and mindfulness exercises, and important information on fetal development, month-by-month nutritional support, the basics of breastfeeding, and much more.
5. We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook
If you’re an expectant mother who’s tired of relaying everything you read or feel to your partner, this book should help convey the information more directly. And if you’re a father-to-be, you’ll enjoy learning with this straightforward guide.
Besides everything dads-to-be need to know about pregnancy and the development of the fetus, this book also provides week-by-week updates with insight to how mom’s feeling and how dad can help.
The book has also been praised for its lack of sexist overtones, instead combining smart and witty humor to present straightforward information.
6. The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide
Genevieve Howland, who runs the popular blog Mama Natural, has created a fun and informative guide for mothers-to-be with tips, advice, and helpful information for every week of your pregnancy.
The focus is on natural births and natural remedies for common symptoms. You’ll also get several real stories from real moms and nurses to offer that much-needed encouragement.
Backed by the latest research and some of the oldest, time-tested solutions, this book offers friendly, well-researched advice for mamas who want to take a natural approach to their pregnancy and delivery.
7. Belly Laughs
If Jenny McCarthy wrote it, it has to be funny, right? The actress delivers with this honest, belly laugh-inducing account of pregnancy that covers everything you might encounter, from morning sickness, to hemorrhoids, and raging hormones.
Though the star has caused controversy about her views on vaccinations, you won’t find them here. What you will find is relief and reassurance in the knowledge that you’re not alone as you go through the strange joys and pains of pregnancy.
8. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy
With so much medical jargon and mixed advice floating around, this book offers a fresh breath of air for those expecting.
Don’t expect to find much technical or medical information here. Rather, you’ll get practical tips and hilariously honest advice about what really happens to your body, how to stay stylish while pregnant, and why you may experience so many mood changes.
If you’re looking for reassurance from moms who have been there, or just a laugh and nice break from all those statistics and medical journals, try The Girlfriend’s Guide.
9. The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People
Looking for a fun break from endless doctor visits and unsolicited advice from well-meaning relatives?
Take some time for yourself and have fun with The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People. Enjoy coloring pages, word searches, and other laugh-out-loud activities, such as “Mazes: Make it from Your Desk to the Bathroom Without Throwing Up” and “Lists: How to Baby Shop Without Crying.”
Enjoy insightful essays, quizzes, and honest advice (which includes reminders that you don’t have to take everyone’s advice).
10. Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?
Throughout your pregnancy, you might find yourself asking questions that you never would have imagined before (like the one in the title).
Backed by psychology, biology, neuroscience, and reproductive genetics, this book sheds light on burning questions such as “What does stress do to your baby’s mind?” and “Can you predict your baby’s temperament?”
For the curious moms-to-be, this thoughtful, information-packed guide is sure to satisfy your quest for more knowledge (even about the seemingly-obscure details).
11. Bringing Up Bébé
From their cuisine to the art of two-hour lunches, the French have been revered for their mastery of a number of skills, and it turns out parenting is no different.
After American journalist Pamela Druckerman gave birth in Paris, she noticed how well-behaved French babies and children were, so she set out to investigate. What were French parents doing differently that led to 3-month-olds sleeping soundly through the night and playing on their own while their parents chatted.
Her discoveries and research are presented here, in a warm and light-hearted voice and with the hope of inspiring American parents with new points of view.
12. The First Forty Days
With so much of the focus on what mothers should do before the birth, we tend to forget just how important care for the mother is post-delivery, especially when all eyes will be on the baby.
The First Forty Days includes 60 recipes for healing soups, replenishing snacks, and more to ensure that the nutritional needs of the mother are met in the critical postpartum period.
You’ll also get reassuring tips for handling relationship challenges and assembling your own support team following the birth of your child.
Helpful Guides for Expecting Parents
The road to parenthood is paved with endless questions and concerns. But you don’t have to walk it alone!
Pick up one of these insightful pregnancy books to help make your journey a bit less intimidating.
How did you calm your nerves during your first pregnancy? Share your tips in the comments below!