The 14 Best Pregnancy Books of 2023

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Best Pregnancy Books

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

From picking out baby clothes to decorating a nursery, pregnancy is an exciting and busy time. However, it may also be full of questions and worries. Changes to your body and surprising symptoms can come out of nowhere, and for first-time parents-to-be, it’s an entirely new experience. Getting prepared for the nine months ahead is key to mental and physical health, so reading a pregnancy book (or several!) can help you learn more about your body and the changes to expect. 

Reviewed & Approved

"What to Expect When You’re Expecting" is a classic pregnancy book chock full of information on pregnancy symptoms, birth, and carrying multiples. For a quicker read, we recommend "50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Guide."

"Opt for a book that has a variety of pregnancy-related topics with resources so you can refer to it along your journey," explains Gina Charles, DO, a board-certified family medicine physician based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She also recommends seeking out books that are supported by evidence-based studies and written by credentialed experts in the field to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first, second, or third pregnancy—there are books for a wide variety of needs. The best pregnancy book is reputable and fits your needs, whether you’d like something informational or more conversational. We carefully looked at reputable information, expert advice, value, and usefulness when reviewing products.

Best Overall

"What to Expect When You’re Expecting"

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Very comprehensive

  • Includes information for dads

  • Has an accompanying app

Cons
  • Length may feel overwhelming

"What to Expect When You're Expecting" tops our list because it's one book filled with all the information you need to know about pregnancy. Don’t be intimidated by the 600-plus-page book—you don’t need to read every single page.

The book includes chapters on specific information such as pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy lifestyle, info for dads, carrying multiples, and week-by-week developmental information. There's also guidance on how to manage pregnancy complications and cope with pregnancy loss.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best Activity Book

"50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Guide"

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Organized by trimester

  • Offers activities to complete

  • Quick read

Cons
  • Not as in-depth as other options

Organized by trimester, this book will help expecting parents take things one step at a time. There’s specific guidance and activities tailored to every stage of pregnancy. Inclusive and logical, this book is bursting with real-life information that can be very useful for those who love lists and step-by-step guides. 

Price at time of publication: $15

Best Data-Driven

"Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong"

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Calm tone

  • Includes clinical research

  • Quick read

Cons
  • Some reported printing errors in physical copy

Written by award-winning economist Emily Oster, this book debunks myths and explains pregnancy by evaluating data. The author presents and examines data on nearly every decision pregnant people will need to make, encouraging them to make their own informed choice.

Readers appreciate the calm and informative tone of this book.

Price at time of publication: $18

What Our Editors Say

"If you only read one pregnancy book, this is my personal recommendation. The author's data-driven search for answers around the most common pregnancy dos and don'ts made me feel better about the decisions I was making about my body and my growing baby. She provides helpful clarity around confusing guidelines and explains why, for instance, we're told to avoid certain foods or drinks. During my first pregnancy, I kept the book in my purse when I went out to eat because I bookmarked the page with a helpful diagram about which fish are best to eat and best to avoid." Ashleigh Morley, Commerce Editorial Director  

Best Holistic

"The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth"

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Provides weekly advice

  • Holistic-focused

  • Includes helpful recipes

Cons
  • Claims are not always based in science

The overall focus of this book is emphasizing that having a baby is a wondrous biological process, rather than a medical condition. Full of weekly advice for every stage of pregnancy, this holistic-focused book also includes nutrition tips, natural remedies, birth stories, and expert advice. 

Price at time of publication: $22

Best for New Dads

"The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide"

The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Organized by month

  • Includes information about adoptions and having multiples

  • Quick read

Cons
  • Not as in-depth as other options

Get dad involved with his very own expectant father book. Written just for dads-to-be, this book will give expectant papas all the tools they need to support their partner, prepare for the new baby’s arrival, and take care of themselves during the exciting nine months ahead. 

Price at time of publication: $16

Best Modern

"Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy"

Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lighthearted tone

  • Includes clinical research and practical advice

  • Organized by trimester

Cons
  • Not as in-depth as other options

Parents-to-be will appreciate that this choice is written in a frank and funny style. The modern guide includes clinical research mixed with practical advice from a bevy of experts, including OB-GYNs, therapists, doulas, lactation experts, pelvic floor therapists, and more.

The combination results in a useful book that gives trimester-by-trimester overviews, pregnancy symptoms and relief, important decisions to consider, registry tips, exercises, and so much more.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best for LGBTQ+ Pregnancies

"The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians"

Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Pros
  • Easy to read

  • Inclusively written

  • Very comprehensive

Cons
  • Some material is dated

An easy-to-read guide, women will appreciate that this pick focuses on the unique needs of lesbians. Starting from pre-conception through newborn life, the helpful book includes information on fertility, sperm banks, conception, pregnancy, legal rights, and more. Inclusively written, there’s relevant and specific content for both coupled and single women.

Price at time of publication: $23

Best Humourous

"Say No to Placenta Pics"

Say No to Placenta Pics

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lighthearted tone

  • Quick read

  • Relatable

Cons
  • Doesn't provide a lot of traditional information

If a light and funny guide will put you at ease, choose this book. Co-written by friends Jillian M. Parsons and Allison Baerken, this funny pick is an uncensored tell-all guide to pregnancy. A great gift, this choice will have most expectant people cracking up, although it’s not as full of traditional information as some of the other options. 

Price at time of publication: $15

Best for Multiples

"What to Do When You’re Having Two"

What to Do When You’re Having Two

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Quick read

  • Includes practical advice

  • Lighthearted tone

Cons
  • Not as in-depth as other options

Finding out that you are expecting twins can be a big shock. Calm some nerves with this well-loved twin survival guide, which includes information from pregnancy through the first year.

The twin-specific info will help parents plan for the unexpected and accept the changes (and challenges) that two babies will bring. 

Price at time of publication: $18

Best for Intended Parents

"Successful Surrogacy: An Intended Parent's Guide"

Successful Surrogacy an Intended Parent's Guide

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Demystifies surrogacy process

  • Quick read

  • Has helpful "ask yourself" prompts

Cons
  • Not as in-depth as other options

The path to parenthood is different for everyone. For intended parents on the path of surrogacy, this title is a guide that helps intended parents and gestational carriers create a rewarding relationship through their pregnancy journey together. Written by an experienced gestational carrier, Susan MZ Fuller, the guide helps to demystify the process.

Price at time of publication: $15

Best Eating Guide

"What to Eat When You're Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby's Development"

What to Eat When You're Pregnant

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 50 recipes included

  • Weekly food guide

  • Discusses eating healthy postpartum

Cons
  • Could use more vegetarian options

  • Information is basic

Whether you’re already expecting or contemplating a journey to parenthood, "What to Eat When You’re Pregnant" doubles as a weekly food guide for expecting parents. Readers will learn dozens of new recipes while learning about a baby’s development.

We love the book’s easy-to-understand diet breakdown, including what foods to eat each trimester and how to keep food safe. Plus, author Nicole M. Avena, PhD, has additional advice for those who plan to nurse, so you can use the book even after birth.

Price at time of publication: $17

Best for First-Time Parents

"Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy"

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 40-week pregnancy calendar

  • Evidence-based

  • Detailed common pregnancy symptoms

Cons
  • Repetitive information

  • Could provide more in-depth details

The Mayo Clinic’s "Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" is a favorite among many new parents and caregivers thanks in large part to the book’s 40-week pregnancy calendar. Soon-to-be parents can track their baby’s development each week while learning about their own body’s constant changes. 

The book explains the benefits and risks of different types of childbirth, like home births, C-sections, and more. There are also several chapters on postpartum topics, including breastfeeding and contraception, to help you troubleshoot any issues you may have.

Price at time of publication: $22

Best for Plus-Size Pregnancies

Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant: Expert Advice and Comforting Wisdom for the Expecting Plus-Size Woman

Stomach of an expecting woman on the cover of Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant

Amazon

Pros
  • Inclusive advice

  • Co-written by a medical expert and a plus-size mom

  • Practical and emotional support

Cons
  • Some material is dated

There are an underwhelming number of resources for plus-size pregnant people, who face unique challenges and stigma during pregnancy and after childbirth. Co-written by an obstetrician who specializes in plus-size pregnancies and a plus-size mom, "Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant" delivers practical and reassuring advice for expecting plus-size parents on everything from maternity clothes to potential medical risks to fatphobic doctors.

Price at time of publication: $17

Best for Pregnancy After Loss

Rebirth: The Journey of Pregnancy After a Loss

Cover of Rebirth

Amazon

Pros
  • Support for partners/spouses

  • Advice from a therapist and social worker in the field

  • Addresses physical, emotional, and psychological considerations

Cons
  • May be triggering for some

Written by an expert therapist and licensed social worker, "Rebirth: The Journey of Pregnancy After Loss" provides insight and support for people who are expecting a baby after experiencing pregnancy loss. From advice on how to handle the emotional fallout of a loss to how to talk to your doctor, "Rebirth" offers a roadmap for pregnant people and their partners in the immediate aftermath of a loss, the grieving process, and beyond.

Price at time of publication: $18

How We Selected the Best Pregnancy Books

To find the best pregnancy books, we studied best-sellers and well-reviewed books on the topic, using customer reviews and competitor reviews to help us determine the most useful to read. We aimed to include a variety of books that address certain issues that can arise during pregnancy, making sure that the information they provide is helpful and reputable. We also spoke with Gina Charles, DO, a board-certified family medicine physician based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about some of her favorites and how to choose the best pregnancy books.

What to Look for in a Pregnancy Book 

Reputable Information

Make sure that the book you are relying on bases its information on science, medical research, and reputable sources. While the book doesn’t need to be written by a doctor to be helpful, it is important to check out the author's credentials to make sure they have expertise in the area. 

“[There is] currently a plethora of pregnancy books on the market,” Dr. Charles tells Verywell Family. “I typically recommend books that are supported by evidence-based studies and written by subject matter experts who are credentialed in the field.”

It is important to note that a pregnancy book should not take the place of medical advice. Be sure to consult with your doctor before making significant lifestyle or health-related changes.

Tailored to Your Needs

Whether you're an expectant twin mom, an LGBTQ+ parent-to-be, or experiencing pregnancy after a loss, there’s a pregnancy book out there to accompany you on your journey. There are also several types of books depending on what you're looking for, from thorough, scientific guides like "Expecting Better" to options that provide lighthearted relief, like "Say No to Placenta Pics." Choose a book that suits you and your lifestyle—you’ll be more likely to read it and absorb the information if you connect with the content. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What books should I read when trying to conceive?

    When you're trying to conceive, books about fertility and conception are the way to go. If you think you may need help conceiving, it may be wise to read books on what to look for in a fertility clinic and fertility specialist. Whether you're trying to conceive with or without fertility assistance, books that contain specific questions you should ask your healthcare provider are the most helpful.

    “For those who are interested in learning how Western and Eastern medicine can be employed to increase chances of fertility, I recommend 'Making Babies' by Dr. Jill Blakeway and Dr. Sami David,” Dr. Charles tells Verywell Family. “And for anyone who is looking for a fertility book that uses non-clinical language, Rebecca Fett's 'It Starts with the Egg' does just that.”

  • What are the best books on pregnancy?

    The best pregnancy books are based on the latest medical guidelines and scientific research. They provide thorough information on all aspects of pregnancy, from conception through delivery and caring for a newborn. They should also be easy to read and written in an understandable way, as well as supplement and support your relationship with your healthcare provider.

    “Choosing the right book can be overwhelming, especially during these sensitive periods of life. I recommend Mayo Clinic's 'Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy' by Myra Wick, MD,” says Dr. Charles. “This book provides detailed information about fertility, prenatal care, common pregnancy symptoms, stages of childbirth, and much more. It also has a 40-week tracker to document your progress along your entire pregnancy journey.”

  • What books should I read during pregnancy?

    It's best to read up on the changes your body will be going through during different stages of your pregnancy, along with how your baby will develop in utero and in their first year. That way, you'll know what to expect and be able to track your baby's progress. This will enable you to better inform your healthcare provider about how you and your little one are doing and quickly address any issues that may arise.

    Dr. Charles does warn that there are some types of pregnancy books you may want to avoid. “The number one thing that I caution everyone [about] is searching the internet and relying on non-credible sites for answers,” she says. “I also caution [against] any books with absolute claims in their titles. For example, 'Guarantee pregnancy in three months,’ or, ‘Everything you need to know.’”

Why Trust Verywell Family 

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year old daughter. Maya prepped for her first pregnancy by reading a few different books, but nothing could have prepared her for reality. Her oldest was born in a taxi cab, in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, on the way to the hospital!