The 8 Best Pregnancy Books of 2019

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So you and your partner made a baby—congratulations! What’s next, you may ask? Besides booking your first doctor’s appointment, you’ve likely been combing the Internet to find the absolute best pregnancy books to guide you through the next nine months. The choices, however, can be overwhelming. Below, we round up the top pregnancy books for every type of parent, from first-time moms and dads, natural devotees, to data-driven researchers who like to think outside of the box. Here, the best parenting books for you and your growing family.

Our Top Picks


Best Overall: What To Expect When You’re Expecting

What To Expect When You’re Expecting is such a classic that Hollywood made a movie out of it starring Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz in 2012. With 18.5 million copies in print, and, it is estimated to be read by 93 percent of pregnant women. What makes it so great? It breaks down the pregnancy week-by-week, covering everything from what symptoms to expect, to how your baby is growing, to how to modify your lifestyle to have a healthy pregnancy.

The most recent edition has been updated to include information about the Zika virus, prenatal screening, and postpartum birth control. Also included are sections on IVF pregnancy, breastfeeding while pregnant, multiple births, water and home births, and VBACS (vaginal births after cesarean sections). In essence, this book touches on everything pregnancy and childbirth related. It’s no wonder it’s the #1 Best Seller on Amazon for Baby & Toddler Parenting Books.


Best for First Time Moms: 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver

One of the scariest things about becoming a first-time mother is that you have no idea what to expect when the baby finally arrives. How can you prepare for something you’ve never experienced? Written by Jill Krause, the author of the award-winning pregnancy blog Baby Rabies, 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver offers 50 specific, proactive steps that will help you prepare for your baby’s arrival—and leaves out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Advice includes how to find and use relevant technology to track, document and learn about your pregnancy, as well as how to begin planning for maternity leave.

Overall, this book offers real, down-to-earth advice without overwhelming new moms—and even better, it’s a fun read.


Best for Medical Information: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

For those who don’t only want to know whether something should be happening to their body, but also the biological reasons why​ the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is perfect. Written by pregnancy experts at the Mayo Clinic, which treats more than 500,000 patients a year, the book is full of useful information without being intimidating or dense.

Features include week-by-week information about your baby’s growth, as well as month-by-month updates on your changing body over the course of pregnancy. The book also includes advice on how to get pregnant, meal planning, exercise, medication, and parenthood.

With excellent illustrations and charts, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is also the #1 bestseller on Amazon in Medical Books about Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Best for Rebels: Expecting Better

Beloved by women who like to think outside of the box, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know was written by Emily Oster, an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School.

Rather than relying on advice given by doctors—for example, to avoid alcohol entirely—Oster, who was trained as a statistician, evaluates the data behind conventional pregnancy rules, often to surprising results.

For example, she reveals the true effect of caffeine during pregnancy—and finds that gardening is as dangerous as advertised by doctors. Because of its data-driven advice, the book has gained a cult following from mothers who love ​science-based investigation— as well as breaking the rules.


Best for Dads: The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be

Dads often get left out of the conversation around pregnancy and childbirth. But they need to be educated about what to expect as well. For that, there is The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be, a book that offers insight into the emotional, financial, and physical effects of impending parenthood on men.

Written by Armin Brott and Jennifer Ash, the book offers a month-by-month guide on what a father can expect during his partner’s pregnancy. Insights include information about how a father’s brain changes by being involved during pregnancy, as well as how being present at the birth can make a dad a more active parent. Now in its twentieth year of print, the book has been updated to include modern trends in birthing, child rearing, and technology. Plus, this book offers recipes that fathers can make during their partner’s pregnancies.


Best Holistic: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

There’s a growing trend towards embracing holistic health principles and ancient traditions during pregnancy and childbirth. For those interested in learning more, there is The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Written by Genevieve Howland, whose popular blog Mama Natural receives over one million views a month, the book includes advice and insights from a certified nurse midwife, a registered nurse, a doula, and a lactation consultant.

Topics covered include vital nutrition to take throughout pregnancy, as well as natural remedies and cures for common pregnancy symptoms. It also covers the debate over the appropriate use of interventions during a pregnancy.

All in all, this book is a great pick for its beautiful illustrations, as well as the data based insights on health.


Best Funny: Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth

Written by Jenny McCarthy, Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth gets into the nitty-gritty of pregnancy and childbirth—often to hilarious ends. First written in 1992, and now in its tenth edition, the book covers morning sickness, hormonal rage, cravings, hemorrhoids, engorged breasts, gas, hot flashes, fainting spells, weight gain, acne, water retention and labor. It’s a great respite from the more sedate tone of most pregnancy books.


Best for Gay Pregnancies: The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians

Not every pregnancy involves a heterosexual married couple, but reading pregnancy books, it can often feel that way. For those without a heteronormative family, there is The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, a book that covers everything from choosing a donor to tracking fertility to navigating legal paperwork.

Written by Rachel Pepper in 2005, the book has been updated to include information about the evolving legal status of gay couples. Although the book is geared towards lesbians, it also has useful advice for many types of couples, as well as single women doing pregnancy on their own. 

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