5 Must-Read Books When You Are Pregnant
Pregnancy and motherhood can be one of the most exciting, instinctual, anxiety-ridden and uncertain times in a woman’s life. If you think just because this isn’t my first rodeo that I’m cool as a cucumber, let me inform you that I’m not. Yes, I’ve done this before and yes I’m a lot more confident in my decisions now then I was the first time around but each pregnancy is so different, and I openly acknowledge that. So I’m spending any free moment I have during my second pregnancy rereading the books that I feel held me down my first pregnancy.
Some guided me through my birth plan decisions, and others informed me of the changes my body was going through or how my baby was growing each week. One in particular truly shaped the foundation of my parenting style. Another is a newer book that came out after I gave birth to my daughter, but I read upon its release because it received such outstanding reviews from the birthing community. I loved the book and what the author, doula Erica Chidi Cohen stood for so much so that I asked her to be my doula for my second pregnancy.
These are five books I would recommend to every expectant mother whether it was her first pregnancy or not.
Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
A modern nonjudgemental take on pregnancy, birthing, and motherhood. Nurture welcomes women to the changes they are about to experience; from the early months of pregnancy through those first few weeks with baby. This book guides expecting mamas on how to take care of themselves and helps them feel validated in their choices. I love how this book empowers you as a woman and as a mother. Nurture author, Erica Chidi Cohen’s position is that all births are natural regardless of how the birth unfolds. She believes that women have the right to choose how they want to navigate their experience when giving birth to their children and that’s why I personally chose her as my doula for my second pregnancy. Nurture covers all approaches to childbirth and mothering whether that be home birth, hospital birth, epidural use, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s honestly one of the most well-rounded resources for mothers. Chidi Cohen wants nothing more but for women to feel comfortable in their body and in their decisions. Extra perks include nutritious recipes, massage techniques and a checklist to get your birth plan thoughts organized.
Erica Chidi Cohen is a doula and lactation counselor. She is also a co-founder of LOOM, a community space for women in Los Angeles that provides education and services on topics like reproduction, pregnancy, and parenting.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
During my first pregnancy I could not put this book down, and so it’s no surprise that I’m rereading it for baby number two. Author Ina May Gaskin has devoted her whole life to teaching and advocating fearless and safe low-intervention childbirth methods. Gaskin is probably the most recognized and celebrated midwife. She’s the OG midwife, the midwife of midwives with an actual obstetrical procedure that western medical practitioners perform named after her. This book’s primary focus is to release the fear associated with childbirth. Gaskin is here to remind women that the birthing process is something women have been doing for centuries and that our bodies instinctively know what to do. This book gives you a real understanding of what unmedicated childbirth is like. It educates expecting mothers on the power of the mind-body connection during birth, pinpoints ways to ease labor pains without the use of an epidural and breaks down how you can create the right birthing environment. This book is definitely for women who hope to experience an unmedicated vaginal birth with little to no technological intervention.
What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
I included this book because it’s had such a cult following and somehow became a number one best selling pregnancy book, but in full transparency, this was not a book I ever read cover to cover. I did and do, however, keep it bedside and use it partially as a resource and partly for amusement (some of the things written are so silly they will make you LOL). While a decent portion of this book is informative, something about the author’s approach to childbirth comes across fear based. If you’re already anxious about giving birth, then I would say this book isn’t for you. If you know how to write off what doesn’t serve you, then like me you’ll probably find the week by week breakdown of how your body might be changing, how large your baby is and which baby body parts are developing at any given time interesting.
The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Mama is all about having a blissful experience whether you’re in fertility mode or already pregnant. This book takes you from the process of getting your body ready for pregnancy through the first six months of mamahood. With a focus on food, nutrition, and wellness, Silverstone shares her personal choices (which align with many of my own) as well as beautiful photos of her family. The Kind Mama touches on other various subjects like successful breastfeeding, how to create a minimalistic toxic free nursery for your newborn and sex after childbirth. The book’s focus is to empower women with information so that they feel confident enough to claim their power back when it comes to labor, delivery, and motherhood.
The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Wiiliam Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.
This book amongst many other of Dr. Sear’s books are my go-to pregnancy/baby/parenting bibles. The Attachment Parenting Book gave me a great initial understanding of how I wanted to parent and validated all the feelings I had regarding other styles of parenting. I am a big believer, and I think my daughter is an excellent example of how attachment parenting can foster an emotionally intelligent child. The Attachment Parenting Book delves into the benefits of the six “Baby B’s.” Bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in the language value of baby’s cry, and beware of baby trainers. It teaches parents how to create an early strong, healthy, emotional bond to their child and how that eventually leads to a very independent human being. Attachment parenting is built on trust, respect, and affection. Dr. William and Martha Sears are a doctor-and-nurse, husband-and-wife team who coined the term “attachment parenting.” Dr. Sears received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital and has been a practicing pediatrician for more than 40 years now. His wife Martha, is a registered nurse, childbirth educator, and breastfeeding consultant but most importantly they are the parents of eight children. I have all of their books and have enjoyed reading and referencing them throughout my years as a mother.