15 Best Books Pregnancy Experts Recommend To Help You on Your Journey

Discover our list of the best books pregnancy experts have written for every stage of pregnancy, including caring for babies at home.

Times are changed, and you no longer have to wonder what will happen to your body during pregnancy. We have seen the wizard behind the curtain, and it turns out he’s not that scary! Some of the books in our list are written by medical experts, but others are authored by people who have gone through the birth experience. Here, you can learn how to ensure your wellness as an expectant parent, get a grip on pregnancy nutrition, learn ways of coping with morning sickness, and evaluate the right kind of birth plan for you. Gratitude journalling can also be a fantastic way to ensure you’re mental health stays on track during pregnancy.

We’ve carefully considered all the best books pregnancy experts recommend, and we think you’ll find them invaluable as you take the path toward parenthood. Whether you’re looking for help understanding the whole trimester system, learning what to expect from your healthcare provider, or gaining more confidence as new parents, you’ll find it all in these books.

Best Books Pregnancy Ranked

1. Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin

Book cover of Pregnancy, Childbirth, And The Newborn by Penny Simkin
Book cover of Pregnancy, Childbirth, And The Newborn by Penny Simkin

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn is a comprehensive guide that empowers expecting parents with the latest medical research and recommendations. Penny Simkin offers practical advice on various topics relevant to expecting parents. She covers sensible nutrition that doesn’t include gorging on pickles, realistic birth plans, the role of birth doulas, cesarean sections when necessary, stress reduction during pregnancy, and postpartum self-care alongside baby care.

The book prioritizes parental control and informed decision-making, ensuring a safe and satisfying pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period that aligns with the reader’s preferences, priorities, and values. Overall, this is a gentle introduction to pregnancy and parenthood, with something for everyone.

“Some hospitals have received the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly award, designating that the institution adheres to practices that best support and promote breastfeeding.”

Penny Simkin, Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Simkin, Penny (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1209 Pages - 09/18/2018 (Publication Date) - Da Capo Lifelong Books (Publisher)

2. Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Book cover of Expecting Better by Emily Oster
Book cover of Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Expecting Better: A Data-Driven Guide to Pregnancy is a groundbreaking book by award-winning economist Emily Oster that debunks common myths and misconceptions about each stage of pregnancy. Oster uses her analytical skills to dissect the data behind common pregnancy advice, uncovering that many standard guidelines are either misguided or blatantly incorrect.

Oster’s book tackles subjects ranging from the effects of caffeine intake to the unexpected risks of gardening during pregnancy. Who knew? Each topic is clearly addressed and backed by data, providing readers with evidence-based explanations. Expecting Better is an indispensable resource for pregnant women who want to better understand the rationale behind traditional pregnancy advice.

“The risk of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication, is more than three times as high if you are obese.”

Emily Oster, Expecting Better
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know (The ParentData Series Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Oster, Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 367 Pages - 08/20/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

Book cover of What To Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
Book cover of What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

From the moment What to Expect When You’re Expecting first became available, this month-by-month pregnancy book took the world by storm. It has since become a reliable handbook for pregnant parents and is a common gift at baby showers, baby announcement parties, and more. If you’re looking for an overall pregnant book that covers all the bases and covers them well, this is certainly the one.

Author Heidi Murkoff is arguably the mother of pregnancy books. She started the book when she had her first pregnancy and found no guidebooks that outlined what to expect in basic terms that an expectant mother could take some comfort in while pregnant. What to Expect When You’re Expecting remains the essential basis for where to start the whole motherhood journey.

“Once the big news starts to sink in, it’s time to reach for the calendar and mark down the big day: your due date.”

Heidi Murkoff, What to Expect When You’re Expecting
What to Expect When You're Expecting
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Murkoff, Heidi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 656 Pages - 05/31/2016 (Publication Date) - Workman Publishing Company (Publisher)

4. Birth Without Fear by January Harshe

Book cover of Birth Without Fear by January Harshe
Book cover of Birth Without Fear by January Harshe

First-time moms are often bombarded with horror stories about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum effects of childbirth. For independent women, it can be hard to relinquish control of the miraculous birth of a first child to the midwife and the rest of the professional medical team. This book seeks to help level the playing field, equipping expectant mothers with the facts needed to make informed decisions instead of relying on whispered warnings from in-laws and friends who have never had a child.

Author January Harshe is a body-positive advocate, motivational speaker, and founder of an online resource for expectant mothers named after her book, Birth Without Fear. Unlike some other pregnancy books, Harshe doesn’t try to sway anyone to her side of thinking; she simply imparts the information that first-time parents need to do what’s best for themselves and their first child.

“Instead I want to give you the wisdom of your mom, aunts, and sisters that you never had.”

January Harshe, Birth Without Fear
Sale
Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum
  • Audible Audiobook
  • January Harshe (Author) - January Harshe, Cynthia Barrett (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Hachette Books (Publisher)

5. Caring For Your Baby And Young Child: Birth to Age 5 by David L. Hill

Book cover of Caring For Your Baby And Young Child: Birth To Age 5 by David L. Hill
Book cover of Caring For Your Baby And Young Child: Birth To Age 5 by David L. Hill

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, by David L. Hill, in association with the American Academy of Pediatrics, is an indispensable guide offering expert advice for parents-to-be and caregivers. The book covers everything from preparing for childbirth, breastfeeding, and nurturing your child’s self-esteem to managing common childhood health issues like that mysterious red rash that means you can’t take baby pictures for two weeks.

It also provides information on basic care from infancy through age five, significant milestones, and signs to look for that signify healthy development, like saying their first word – yay! With in-depth info on topics such as breastfeeding and nutritional recommendations, this is a book that you’ll be glad you have.

“The days and years pass quickly, so take a few photos or journal along the way, because before you know it your baby will be going off to kindergarten!”

David L. Hill, Caring For Your Baby And Young Child
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hill MD FAAP, David L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/01/2019 (Publication Date) - American Academy of Pediatrics (Publisher)

6. Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerma

Book cover of Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerma
Book cover of Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerma

Bringing up Bebe is a baby parenting guide with a French twist. American journalist Pamela Druckerman wrote this during the time she spent living in France with her newborn. The book is full of good advice and gives a rare insight into how French mothers approach young motherhood. Druckerman covers all the important aspects, like getting babies on a reasonable sleep schedule, avoiding mommy guilt, and more. Although, it won’t teach you how to look chic while walking a baby carriage in high heels and eating a croissant.

If you’re a bit wary of the comprehensive style of many parenting books, know that this baby book is a welcome departure from all of that. This is the kind of book you can curl up with and get a few laughs while absorbing extremely useful information about bringing up your baby with as little fuss as possible.

“My first intervention is to say, when your baby is born, just don’t jump on your kid at night,” Cohen says. “Give your baby a chance to self-soothe, don’t automatically respond, even from birth.”

Pamela Druckerman, Bringing up Bebe
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Druckerman, Pamela (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 434 Pages - 09/30/2014 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

7. Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Book cover of Ina May's Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Book cover of Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin is considered to be the “mother of midwifery.” In the 1970s, she began her career as a midwife and developed the Gaskin Maneuver. The Gaskin Maneuver is a posture for home birth designed to alleviate strain and pain on women giving birth. Gaskin has written several books on midwifery and childbirth, and Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth is one of the most acclaimed.

Gaskin shares anecdotes from her over 30 years of experience as a midwife in the book. Gaskin explains the birth process in detail, along with tips and advice, so you may want to avoid reading this book while eating dinner. But all the detail can help alleviate the concerns about the unknown, so it’s worth it. Whether or not you’re considering delivering with a midwife, this informative book helps to demystify the birth experience, making it a worthwhile read for expectant mothers.

“The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated to the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity.”

Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth: Updated With New Material
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gaskin, Ina May (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 374 Pages - 11/19/2008 (Publication Date) - Bantam (Publisher)

8. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Myra J. Wick

Book cover of Mayo Clinic Guide by Myra J. Wick
Book cover of Mayo Clinic Guide by Myra J. Wick

You can’t get better advice than the official childbirth book from the Mayo Clinic. This book arguably offers everything an expectant parent needs to know about pregnancy and childbirth, including the latest technologies that can make childbirth go much more smoothly.

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy includes tools and information about the childbirth process, with little-known information about standard medicine available for women giving birth and help for worried parents who aren’t sure what to expect in the delivery room.

“When considering a midwife, ask about the person’s training, certification and licensure in your state.”

Myra J. Wick, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Wick, Myra J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 862 Pages - 09/18/2018 (Publication Date) - Mayo Clinic Press (Publisher)

9. HypnoBirthing by Marie F. Mongan

Book cover of HypnoBirthing by Marie F. Mongan
Book cover of HypnoBirthing by Marie F. Mongan

The concept of hypnobirthing is a holistic approach to significantly reduce the pain of childbirth by helping women to develop a heightened awareness of how their bodies are instinctively prepared for childbirth. It sounds confusing, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that it can work. With hypnobirthing, a woman may avoid taking pain relief during labor and enjoy the possibility of a lessened need for a C-section and a potentially shortened birth and recovery time.

HypnoBirthing also gives expectant mothers a more positive view of the birth process instead of the painful and scary scenarios that are commonly portrayed. There’s a lot of advice for partners to digest, too, so that they can be a more helpful presence during the event.

“When enough women realize that birth is a time of great opportunity to get in touch with their true power…we will reclaim the power of birth and help move technology where it belongs in the women, not as their master.”

Marie F. Mongan, HypnoBirthing
HypnoBirthing, Fourth Edition: The breakthrough natural approach to safer, easier, more comfortable birthing - The Mongan Method, 4th Edition
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Mongan, Marie F. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 338 Pages - 12/08/2015 (Publication Date) - Health Communications Inc EB (Publisher)

10. The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

Book cover of The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
Book cover of The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

As the title suggests, in the fifth edition of The Birth Partner, Penny Simkin presents a guide for birth partners and doulas, covering the pregnancy through the postpartum period. It provides information and guidance on various aspects, including the onset of labor, holistic methods to alleviate labor pain, C-sections and associated complications, and breastfeeding and newborn care.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your partner knew what to do to help instead of just standing there like a deer in the headlights? The Birth Partner empowers partners to actively participate and assist in the birthing room without getting in the way. Whether you’re a partner seeking to be truly helpful during this transformative experience, this book offers essential insights and tools for every step of the journey.

“Regular exercise, such as walking, prenatal yoga, water aerobics, or swimming, helps maintain or improve a pregnant person’s general fitness.”

Penny Simkin, The Birth Partner
Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Simkin, Penny (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 440 Pages - 10/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Harvard Common Press (Publisher)

11. A Dude’s Guide To Baby Size by Taylor Calmus

Book cover of A Dude’s Guide To Baby Size by Taylor Calmus
Book cover of A Dude’s Guide To Baby Size by Taylor Calmus

More along the lines of a Dave Barry guide to birth and baby’s growth rather than a serious guide, A Dude’s Guide To Baby Size is an amusing, unique, and light-hearted male perspective on the journey of pregnancy. Written by viral video content creator Dude Dad, this book breaks conventional norms, replacing traditional baby-size comparisons with comical analogies such as guitar picks and concession stand nachos to illustrate the growing baby’s size.

This comprehensive book written from a paternal perspective adds a touch of humor and relatability to the pregnancy experience. It makes it easier for dads to feel involved in the whole process. Readers of both sexes can discover invaluable insights on supporting their pregnant partners and find encouragement as they embrace their new role as fathers. This book offers a nice blend of laughter, practical advice, and heartfelt encouragement, making it a must-read for expectant fathers looking to navigate the incredible pregnancy journey in their unique way.

“In less than forty weeks, you’ll be a pop holding your dear little offspring, but so much will happen between now and then.”

Taylor Calmus, A Dude’s Guide To Baby Size
A Dude's Guide to Baby Size: What to Expect and How to Prep for Dads-to-Be
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Calmus, Taylor (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 161 Pages - 05/10/2022 (Publication Date) - WaterBrook (Publisher)

12. Brain Health From Birth by Rebecca Fett

Book cover of Brain Health From Birth by Rebecca Fett
Book cover of Brain Health From Birth by Rebecca Fett

Brain Health from Birth: Nurturing Brain Development During Pregnancy and the First Year is a carefully-researched guide by Rebecca Fett aimed at providing evidence-based recommendations to support brain development from the prenatal stage through the first year of life. This doesn’t mean you have to stop playing classical music on your growing belly, but you can take steps that will benefit your baby’s brain in ways that Vivaldi could only dream about.

The book focuses on whole health and nutrition strategies to protect brain health in the first days of life. It also provides guidance on materials and ingredients to avoid in products for babies and children, so you’ll be checking many labels before baby products get tossed into your grocery cart!

“Preventing preterm birth, preeclampsia, and miscarriage is reason enough to ensure sufficient vitamin D during pregnancy, but doing so may also help prevent autism.”

Rebecca Felt, Brain Health From Birth
Brain Health from Birth: Nurturing Brain Development During Pregnancy and the First Year (It Starts with the Egg Book 3)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Fett, Rebecca (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 308 Pages - 08/28/2019 (Publication Date) - Franklin Fox (Publisher)

13. Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols

Book cover of Real Food by Lily Nichols
Book cover of Real Food by Lily Nichols

In this book, Lily Nichols, a renowned specialist in prenatal nutrition, shares relevant scientific research to provide clear and evidence-based answers on what to eat—and what not to eat—during pregnancy and why. Nichols believed it was high time society started to question what our grandmothers took at face value. She also addresses common weird cravings but goes beyond pickles and ice cream to find out what, why, and how those cravings come about. Readers can discover the truth about prenatal nutrition and debunk outdated advice.

By following the guidance of Real Food for Pregnancy, you can make informed choices about what you eat and how you stay healthy during pregnancy. This book helps quiet the noise and confusion so that moms-to-be can embrace a nourishing approach to pregnancy backed by real science.

“Consuming seafood, in particular, seaweed, scallops, cod, shrimp, sardines, and salmon, is a great way to meet iodine needs.”

Lily Nichols, Real Food For Pregnancy
Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Nichols, Lily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 348 Pages - 02/23/2018 (Publication Date)

14. When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein

Book cover of When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein
Book cover of When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein

When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads is a serious guide for expectant mothers with more than one baby. It’s co-authored by Barbara Luke, a Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine at Michigan State University. Luke is the kind of author you can trust, having spent over two decades of her career trying to better outcomes in multiple births using information gleaned from clinical and vital statistical research.

This book pregnancy experts recommend is the culmination of Luke’s extensive research and expertise, providing invaluable health and nutrition information for women expecting multiples. If you’re the kind of person who likes a big helping of data along with any advice you’re offered, this book will give you plenty to ruminate on as you await the arrival of the rest of your growing family!

“When you’re carrying multiples, your pregnancy requirements go beyond what is standard.”

Barbara Luke, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads
When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Luke, Barbara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 10/13/2009 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

15. You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide by Jennifer Boncelli and Meghan Hertzfeldt

Book cover of You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide by Jennifer Boncelli and Meghan Hertzfeldt
Book cover of You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide by Jennifer Boncelli and Meghan Hertzfeldt

For expectant mothers of twins, any extra help is always welcome. That’s why You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide should be on every bookshelf where twins are in the house. This book helps anxious mothers prepare for welcoming not one but two little babies. There’s a bounty of helpful tips, preparation strategies, and essential information for both mothers and fathers because, with two newborns, both parents had better help out! From feeding frenzies to learning how to grow more arms to hold the babies, this book conquers all the fears related to caring for twins, including self-doubt.

First in the book comes preparation, getting ready to greet the new arrivals when you might have only been expecting one new guest. Next, there’s a comprehensive planning toolkit that readers can photocopy and reference checklists, to-do lists, trackers, and more. There’s also a ton of anecdotal help from other parents of twins, which is helpful in itself, but also to know that others have gone through—and survived—the same situation.

“You can handle it. Maybe you were hoping to be twin parents or maybe you weren’t, but there’s a long line of twin parents who have done this before you, including us.”

Jennifer Boncelli and Meghan Hertzfeldt, You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide
You Can Two!: The Essential Twins Preparation Guide
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bonicelli, Jennifer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 183 Pages - 11/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best books for soon-to-be dads!

Author

  • Kate has been writing since she was 10 years old, tapping away on an old typewriter in her childhood bedroom. Today, Kate is a seasoned freelance writer with over 10 years of experience writing for print and online media. She’s an avid reader and believes in the power of words to transport readers to new worlds, and inspire and nurture creativity. Kate is also a published author and is currently working on her next project.