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The Best Pregnancy Guidebooks

Jan07

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesDear Amy,

Love your column, kids, etc – and congrats on the newest addition!

So, yesterday two sticks revealed a plus sign. After only a few months of trying, it looks like we’re pregnant and maybe six weeks in? Maybe five? If at all? Doctor’s appointment forthcoming.

I alternate between excited and well, damn terrified. OMG I have to get through pregnancy, labor and finally there is going to be a BABY. For the rest of my life. Yay! But a little bit WTF as well. It will be okay, right?

So, my question is about pregnancy resources, specifically books. That I can read in bed (lying on my back? Not lying on my back? Gah!) I went to look up the standby “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but then read some reviews that said it contained a lot of fearful information and wasn’t that helpful. But then I went to look up pregnancy books and…. mind overload. There are so many! Are they all the same? Are some terrible? Some amazing? Am I jumping the gun too early? Should I go to the doctor first and not jinx it by getting a book? (Will of course go to the doctor asap.) I’ve been reading the zero to forty column, but would love a handy reference or two I can keep by the side of the bed. And maybe one for hubby too? Any suggestions from you and your readers would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Pregnant Canuck

I’m hesitant to approach this question as anything other than a straight-up crowdsourcing exercise, because the last time I read a pregnancy book — like really, really read one for my own enrichment and education — was during my first pregnancy, over five years ago. And I’m guessing that’s not THAT uncommon, but still: over five years ago. New pregnancy books hit the market every five minutes, and older versions release new-and-improved editions constantly, so the book I read back then might not really resemble the current edition on the shelf today.

I did, however, page through a LOT of pregnancy books while writing Zero to Forty. A LOT. Several giant boxes worth. Basically imagine typing “pregnancy book” into Amazon and then having almost everything in the search results show up at your house. That’s what my office looked like, for awhile. Some of them were pretty good. Some of them were annoying. Or incomplete, or overly-clinical, or gimmicky, or alarmist, or just plain dumb. But I imagine there’s a devoted audience for most of these titles, because everybody wants something different from their pregnancy guide.

PERSONALLY, I liked anything written in the handy week-by-week format, and not just while researching for my own week-by-week pregnancy calendar. Sticking to a single chapter each week saved me from that crazy overwhelmed feeling you get after reading some other books cover-to-cover and are left with a terrible sense of JUST HOW MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG and JUST HOW MANY THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is usually held up as the prime example of this, and indeed, the copy I bought back in 2004 (when I thought I was pregnant but wasn’t, so…yeah, wait until you see a doctor, okay?) scared the crap out of me. A symptom could be completely normal…except in one case out of every several thousand where it totally wasn’t! That book — along with many others — tended to rule a little too closely on the side of ABSOLUTE CAUTION, with dangers of foods/ingredients being drastically overstated. (While other books laid out a more balanced view, but then still ended with “but check with your doctor” cover-your-ass backtracking.)

I have heard, however, that the newer editions of WTEWYE have dialed back on many of the things women complained about. In the interest of being “thorough and comprehensive,” the book had unintentionally evolved, edition by later edition, into an encyclopedia of rare worst-case scenarios and ridiculous diet expectations that drowned out the fact that it really did contain a TON of good, useful information. I have not personally read the later updates, but I know that the publishers and authors really did make a solid effort to bring the book back to what it was originally intended to be. (Amazon reviewers might be referencing older versions, they might not. Anybody read this book recently and care to give an opinion?)

My two personal favorites during my own pregnancy were Your Pregnancy Week by Week and the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. I found them both to be close to my ideal nightstand book — easy to read and quick to get to the point. If neither of these books covered a topic, chances are 1) it really wasn’t that important, and 2) I could find it on the Internet anyway.

Speaking of the Internet — during Zero to Forty I probably referenced BabyCenter’s pregnancy guide more than any other title, but have a hard time recommending that anyone go out and buy that behemoth book, because it’s all available for free at the website. Seriously. All of it. The most useful chapters are the week-by-week guide (which you can sign up for in email newsletter form) and the “Is It Safe?” sections — which are also available online, where they are kept up-to-date and probably even more comprehensive.

I tried to get my husband to read a bunch of the father-to-be titles, but in the end he preferred The Mayo Clinic Guide as well, and occasionally I just read aloud to him from that week’s chapter to keep him informed of the baby’s development. It’s just how his brain is wired. He likes instruction manuals and checklists, not novels. He protested that he didn’t NEED a book to teach him how to not be an insensitive jackass, he needed 1) me to talk to him about how I was feeling, and 2) a couple chapters on labor and childbirth. Then he too, preferred to supplement his knowledge with the Internet, where he Googled “husband labor coaching” and packed his own little bag for the hospital, including a tennis ball to rub my back with. Your Husband May Vary, but just…don’t go all Katherine Heigl on him if he isn’t all that interested in The Expectant Father or something.

As for all the “down-to-earth” and “funny” titles out there, well. They’re fun, I guess. I read The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy after everybody I know raved about it, but found it pretty outdated compared to the hilarious pregnancy blogs I was following at the time. (Her advice for maternity clothes involved borrowing your husband’s button-down shirts and wearing them with stirrup pants. STIRRUP PANTS!) Pregnancy Sucks is another popular one that I thought was just all right (admittedly I had issues with it stemming with how much I’d struggled to get pregnant in the first place), and Jenny McCarthy’s terribly misinformed anti-vaccination crusade means her Belly Laughs book is more than dead to me.

So before the comment section floods in with a zillion contradicting recommendations and this whole thing becomes about as useful as Amazon: AFTER you see the doctor, buy one general reference book by a reputable medical establishment (Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospital, etc.), then one more “condensed” week-by-week book that seems to jibe with your general view of pregnancy (a focus on diet or on being “natural”? the opposite of that? something with a good fat index of symptoms? lots of pictures?) or just sign up for a weekly newsletter online. Add any other titles that look interesting, like cookbooks or exercise routines or humorous titles, to an online wish list until you can get to a bookstore to look at them in person to see if they’re worth the money. (And of course, keep reading Zero to Forty!) (Oh, and if you know of a maternity/kids’ clothing consignment store in your area? They often have a small selection of used pregnancy guides for sale, and usually always have the “big” popular titles.)

The fact is, while yes, there are 4,500 different pregnancy books out there, they are mostly ALL PRETTY MUCH THE SAME INFORMATION, just laid out and presented in 4,500 different ways.

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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48 Responses to “The Best Pregnancy Guidebooks”

  1. Hannah Jan 07 at 12:29 pm Reply Reply

    Because OP is Canadian, I’d like to recommend Ann Douglas’ “The Mother of all Pregnancy Books” – because it’s written for Canadian mothers.

    An awful lot of the books on the market are written by Americans for Americans, and our health care & maternity benefits systems are so completely different that I found a lot of the practical stuff I needed to know just wasn’t available in most of the well-known pregnancy book titles.

    It’s also well-written, very comprehensive without being scary, and has a clear index that makes it easy to find things when pregnancy brain has you in its stupid, stupid grip.

    Congratulations and good luck with you new baby!

  2. Bridget Jan 07 at 12:32 pm Reply Reply

    We also like “pregnancy week by week” and “Expectant Father”. But for real practical use, I strongly recommend getting “Baby Bargains” for a solid guide on the best products out there and “Baby 411″ for after the baby’s born. Good Luck with your pregnancy!

    • suzanne May 10 at 5:46 pm Reply Reply

      Baby 411 rocks. You should also check out Expecting 411, by the same authors. Same style. Same level of info. Really great book.

  3. Isabel Kallman
    Isabel Jan 07 at 12:37 pm Reply Reply

    I think you should get a book that focuses on childbirth and labor. I really love Erica Lyon. She wrote “The Big Book of Birth”:

    http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Birth-Erica-Lyon/dp/0452287685/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294421812&sr=8-1

  4. Christine Jan 07 at 12:38 pm Reply Reply

    I have about…. 15 pregnancy books sitting here in my office and in various rooms around my house.  Everyone I know gave me one when we announced we were expecting (due in 12 days), even though I’m a MD and learned a bunch of this stuff in med school.  And THEN I went to my first OB appointment and they gave me yet another book!

    My favorite books:
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Pregnant-Woman-Happy/dp/0811841049  How to make a pregnant woman happy:  Mostly geared toward your partner, it addresses little issues that come up and that tend to make us grumpy pregnant ladies (like morning sickness, swelling, etc) and how to help fix them.  The writer is an OB and seems to love recommending Magnesium supplements, but overall a great and quick approach.

    http://www.amazon.com/Dads-Pregnant-Too-Expectant-expectant/dp/1402211333/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294421667&sr=1-1-fkmr0   Dad’s Pregnant Too!  My husband loves this.  It lives in our bathroom (likely TMI, I know), and is filled with funny stories from parents and the real nitty gritty for dads, like DO NOT SAY THIS WHEN SHE IS IN LABOR.  Really.  

    http://www.amazon.com/Our-Bodies-Ourselves-Pregnancy-Birth/dp/0743274865/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294421745&sr=1-2  Our Bodies, Ourselves:  Pregnancy and  Birth  This is the one my OB gave me (I go to a clinic at the University of Michigan, they have to know, right?) and it is my favorite comprehensive pregnancy book.  I felt they did a good job of explaining symptoms, bringing up bad stuff and referring you to your doc without going overboard, etc.  There is a lot of info about duolas and midwives and they like to occasionally bash the OBs, which surprised me and sometimes made me a bit mad as my OB is great, though that might be the MD in me.

  5. Jeannie Jan 07 at 1:00 pm Reply Reply

    I was also going to recommend Ann Douglas but I see someone beat me to it! Helpful for Canadians. She also has a few other titles for babies if you like that one.

  6. Sara M Jan 07 at 1:11 pm Reply Reply

    Second the baby bargains book. It was very helpful in figuring out we should get and what could wait. For each of my pregnancies, I got the most updated version of this book.

  7. Heather Jan 07 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    I would suggest checking out your local library first before buying anything. I checekd out several books for both me and the hubby and then only bought the one or two that we really liked/would actually use. Babycenter dot com is pretty awesome too!

  8. Olivia Jan 07 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    Go to the library. I checked out half a dozen books and thumbed thru them and then kept two to read thru. One of them was Your Pregnancy Week by Week and the other was something for overweight mothers (because I am).

    After you sample a few books, then you can buy one without worrying you’ll waste money.

  9. Lora Jan 07 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

    The only book my husband read was “My Boys Can Swim! The Official Guys Guide to Pregnancy.” Nice and short, funny pictures and advice.

  10. robin Jan 07 at 2:24 pm Reply Reply

    Though neither of these are pregnancy books per-say, I couldn’t live with out Baby Bargains and I found Childproofing Your Marriage to be really helpful in terms of mentally preparing for the transition from life as a two-some to life as a three-some. I have often gone back to both books this first year of mommy-hood.

  11. Megan Jan 07 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    I bought a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting after finding out I was pregnant 2 1/2 years ago or so, and later discovered that it was, in fact, the new revised one. I didn’t read all the negative comments about the older versions until after I bought it, and I haven’t read any of those either so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I liked this book. I didn’t find it scary or overly comprehensive in the freak-you-out-over-something-extremely-rare department. I found it to be very comprehensive, and arranged in a format I liked (week by week). It also had a lot of additional information in other chapters with more detail about various things. I only read the ones that interested me or were applicable.

    I also borrowed a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week, and really liked that as well.

  12. Jay Jan 07 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    As soon as I told one or two close friends that I was pregnant, they sent me all the books they had used. And then I found out I was having twins, which entailed a whole new set of books. (Regular pregnancy books on twins = typically 2-3 pages of “there’s lots more risks! good luck with that!”) In other words, don’t spend a lot of money on books because you’ll get a lot for free from friends, and you may end up needing a whole different type of library.
    Congratulations, btw!

  13. EW Jan 07 at 3:02 pm Reply Reply

    My husband didn’t really get interested in the dad’s pregnancy books, but loved some of the early dad books.  His favorite was Be Prepared: a practical handbook for new dads.  That does have a little on labor and a fair bit on postpartum.  

  14. The Maiden Metallurgist Jan 07 at 3:11 pm Reply Reply

    To be honest, I lstill ike Zero to Forty best. I read the whohle thing when I first found out I was pg, and the first thing I do every Friday morning (the start of a new wekk for me) is read that week again. I also signed up for one of those weekly pregnancy updates they email to you (any baby website has them), any follow up questions could easily be googled (but be careful with that). Of course I ran out and bought WTEWYE as soon as I got a BFP, but I haven’t cracked it in ages- too much info, too much fear mongering.

  15. Sara Jan 07 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    By far my favorite pregnancy book was From the Hips (http://www.amazon.com/Hips-Comprehensive-Open-Minded-Uncensored-Pregnancy/dp/0307237087/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294430738&sr=8-1). It has lots of quotes from moms that really illustrated for me the huge range of “normal” that exists.

    And I second (third?) the recommendation to get your pregnancy books at the library first – a lot of what I bought I probably would not have ended up getting had I looked them over more closely at first.

  16. Becky Jan 07 at 3:17 pm Reply Reply

    From the Hips by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris – it’s informative and presents lots of options and ideas from fair points of view, but is also funny and honest. Very down to earth, I felt like it was written by a girlfriend I trust, rather than someone that was trying to just scare the shizz out of me :)

  17. Ms. K Jan 07 at 3:22 pm Reply Reply

    I highly recommend Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, with the caveats:

    1. You have to be into the idea of (or at least curious about) natural birth, and 
    2. You need a reasonable tolerance for 1970s photography and hippie nomenclature.

    That said, it’s a really lovely book with some great birth stories. The 4th edition is a little more diverse, with fewer hippie-stories and some from the local Amish community, etc. The second half of the book has advice for midwives, pregnant women and obstetricians. I found it generally reassuring and down to earth.

  18. laura Jan 07 at 4:10 pm Reply Reply

    yay for Belly Laughs being dead to you! and yay for your reason! I love your posts, keep up the great work :)

  19. maresi Jan 07 at 4:58 pm Reply Reply

    I read pretty much every published pregnancy book in the English language during my two pregnancies. The only 2 I would recommend are Your Best Birth and Your Pregnancy Week By Week.

  20. JCF Jan 07 at 5:01 pm Reply Reply

    I know this isn’t exactly what you were asking, but I really like “The Big Book of Birth” by Erica Lyon, and “Pushed” by Jennifer Block. I recommend reading both early in pregnancy, because they both have a LOT of information to digest, and I think that developing a healthy attitude toward labor and birth in general takes much longer than just the last trimester, which is when a lot of people really start preparing for birth. They’re both extremely informative, interesting, and easy reads.

    Congratulations!!!

  21. MommaFergie Jan 07 at 5:03 pm Reply Reply

    I recently read the newest version of WTEWYE and thought it was very informative and it didn’t scare me in the least. I’m guessing a lot of the scare has been removed from the most current version. I liked the week by week layout and the sections were nicely laid out. However, most of the information in the book could be found online just as easily as typing “__ weeks pregnant”. Still sometimes it’s nice to have something to read before bed.

  22. Lindsay Jan 07 at 5:27 pm Reply Reply

    I also enjoyed the BABYCENTER book – but the CANADIAN version

    (thanks for letting me know about Ann Douglas)

  23. Jennifer Jan 07 at 5:57 pm Reply Reply

    My library I couldn’t live without:
    Your Pregnancy Week by Week
    Birthing from Within
    The Nursing Mothers Companion

    I considered it my ‘Before, During and After’ birth library. Incredibly helpful, although I chose to skip the sections that scared me. Despite authors’ desire to write every little iota of information about genetic disorders and scary pregnancy conditions, no one says we have to read those parts!

    Congrats & happy reading!

  24. cagey Jan 07 at 6:47 pm Reply Reply

    I used Pregnancy Week by Week for both of my pregnancies. LOVE. It was very informative and didn’t miss a beat on all the bad things and good things that can happen during a pregnancy. What made this book awesome is that it was upfront about the bad things, but nearly always followed up quickly with a “this doesn’t occur normallyl” or “this doesn’t usually happen” or “this probably won’t happen”. I felt reassured having the information and knowing what to look for, but also knowing that in all likelihood that it would not happen to me. Pregnancy is SO scary with all the weird things happening to your body (and brain!) This book really calmed me down and allowed me to enjoy both pregnancies, while feeling secure that I would know if something bad was happening.

  25. Kate F Jan 07 at 7:23 pm Reply Reply

    An easier place to start w Ina May Gaskin is “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” It starts with fantastic chapters explaining what happens during birth, and the second half is wonderful birth stories. If you get really into natural birth or don’t mind the hippie stuff, you can move on to “Spiritual Midwifery” from there.

    I hated From the Hips and liked the Mayo guide. Zero to Forty was my favorite! I also read a lot of midwife memoirs (I got kind of obsessed); most were interesting but badly written, but “Babycatcher” by Peggy Vincent is terrific.

  26. Nancy Jan 07 at 7:32 pm Reply Reply

    And, for those expecting multiples — I think this is the definitive book (1000% better than the dozen+ other twins books I read)

    When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads 3rd Edition: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein

    An absolute must-read!

  27. Emoly Jan 07 at 9:15 pm Reply Reply

    For pregnancy, I think the weekly emails and Zero to Forty are all you need.  Labor is much more important to read about–and no need to wait to start on that.  I recommend starting with Your Best Birth and then reading Ina Mae’s Guide to Childbirth.  To learn about breastfeeding,  www.kellymom.com is an excellent resource which is evidence based and moderated by Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants.  

  28. Astrid Jan 07 at 9:53 pm Reply Reply

    I’ll third or fourth “From the Hips.” I’ve also really liked everything I’ve read from Penny Simkin and Sheila Kitzinger. I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and it was super informative, especially since I’m interested in midwifery and natural childbirth, but some of it was way out there.

    Of course, take everything I say with a grain of salt because I’m only 13 weeks pregnant, so something may yet come up that makes me question everything I’ve said here.

  29. Eamon's Mom Jan 08 at 7:50 am Reply Reply

    Here’s how I got my husband to read the pregnancy books: I convinced him that while the unborn baby heard my voice every day, he should read aloud to the baby sometimes at night so the baby would hear his voice uninterrupted. I gave him a copy of a pregnancy book (we went back and forth between Your Pregnany Week-by-Week and the Mayo Guide), and I told him it was his job to read it aloud and EDIT OUT THE SCARY BITS. That way, he learned, the baby heard his voice more, and I didn’t hear any of the scary “…AND ONE CASE IN A MILLION…” crap. It was an all-around win.

  30. cassie Jan 08 at 11:59 am Reply Reply

    I can’t really add anything new to the conversations but…
    - yes,definitely try books at the library first and then buy if you think it’s going to be a keeper. So many we thought would be good turned out to be crap.
    - I could not get enough of Amalah’s Zero to Forty because it had the facts AND the humor AND the reality or real life omg! (which is missing in some books, I’ve found. We cannot all be perfect, calm, organized, paranoid-free earth mothers. We can’t.)
    - I… actually liked WTEWYE? No clue if I had an early, middle or new edition, but I think I just kind of skipped over all the worst case scenario stuff as not likely. And I really liked WTE The First Year as a general guide. (Although again, I skipped a lot of the worst case scenario parts and disregarded a lot that I felt was not ‘me’ or my baby. YMMV.)
    - Hubby didn’t want to read any of the books, but he liked when I shared various weekly tidbits with him from the stuff I read. It was a nice bonding time for us too.

  31. Sarah Jan 08 at 5:51 pm Reply Reply

    My first pregnancy I went a little overboard with books.
    I can recommend:
    Your pregnancy week by week
    Ask a Midwife
    And I think most importantly
    What to expect the first year. Even if you don’t get past the newborn section, you should know at least that much right?
    Also please if you plan on breast feeding, read up on it. I find most breast feeding books similar, and can’t recommend any specific titles, but it doesn’t always come so naturally, and its nice to have a reference if you aren’t sure about something.Happy reading!

  32. Kristen Jan 08 at 7:04 pm Reply Reply

    I enjoyed reading “The Working Woman’s Pregnancy” for practical issues about working while pregnant and returning to work postpartum; written by an excellent OB/GYN, Marjorie Greenfield, MD. But I cannot say enough good things about “The Birth Partner” by Penny Simkin in preparing me and my partner for labor. It presents many non-medicated labor options but allows for a range of choice depending on the woman — and without shaming those interested in more medicated options for labor. My partner read the chapters about supporting me during labor and he was phenomenal.

  33. Laura B. Jan 09 at 8:44 am Reply Reply

    I second the Mayo Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. I was in much the same frantic overwhelmed state as Pregnant Canuck (I’m Canadian, too!) so I dispatched my over-analytical friend to Chapters to do the research for me, and she came up with the Mayo Guide. It was easy to read and navigate and I referenced it for months after my baby was born.

    I laughed out loud at The Girlfriend’s Guide, so if you can find it at the library or in a second-hand shop, go for it.

  34. kris Jan 09 at 4:04 pm Reply Reply

    My husband LOVES Dad’s Pregnant Too – and I’m finding the Mayo Clinic book endlessly useful without being tedious.

  35. Julie Jan 09 at 9:40 pm Reply Reply

    I definitely agree with all the recommendations to check out a bunch of books from the library, and then only buy the one or two that you would find useful to have on the shelf as a refrence.

    I had WTEWYE as my reference book – it was the new edition (the one that was new in 2008/2009 at any rate, since that’s when I had my kid – if there’s a newer one since then I haven;’t seen it.) I liked it – it was pretty comprehensive. It did go into a bit too much detail/worst case/rare scenario stuff in a few places. But it also did a pretty good job of flagging those as “worst case scenario, unless you have this risk history you can skip this part.” Like any pregnancy book, you have to take some of it with a grain of salt, and figure out which parts of it match with your own philosophies about things like natural birth vs medicated births, etc, but I seem to remember it being fairly well rounded in trying to address all sides of the debates. And it was a useful one to have around to reach for when I wanted to look something random up.

    For books about actual labor/.delivery, I definitely wanted a low intervention, natural birth, so I found the Ina May books mentioned above and “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth” to be useful. They were ones I checked out from the library, read, and returned though – I didn’t feel the need to have them as a referecne.
    For after the baby comes, I highly recommend Dr Sear’s “The Baby Book”. Good, well rounded info on everything from medical issues to development. Like any baby book, you have to be careful not to get yourself worked into a tizzy about “Oh no, I’m supposed to be playing these games with him at this age”/”Uh-oh, he’s supposed to be doing this by this age -he’s ruined for life” spirals when you read those chapters. BUt it’s a good guideline on typical development and the kinds of things your kid is likely to do. And it’s the one I was most likely to reach for to figure out “should I call the dr yet?” or “how much baby tylenol is safe for teething pain”, etc.

    For surviving the “why is my baby up 30 times a night when last week he was sleeping through the night” and generally understanding what’s going on inside their little heads, I recommend “Bed Tming” (the author has a great blog here:http://bedtiming.typepad.com/) and “The Wonder Weeks”

  36. Katie Jan 10 at 11:35 am Reply Reply

    If you want books about labour and delivery and are at all interested in low intervention childbirth, I second and third the recommendations for the Ina May books, “Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth,” and “Birthing from Within”. And give yourself some time to change your priorities and reading material – 9 mos is a long time:) I liked the Mayo Clinic guide at first when I was mostly interested in whether the baby had grown any new parts that week and whether my (totally innocuous) symptoms were cause for concern. Later I started to think about baby exit strategies and surprised myself by really enjoying a fairly crunchy-granola birth book (BfW) that I would not have read earlier on. This means that libraries, consignment stores, and loans from friends, girls in your prenatal class, etc are a good bet. Congratulations!

  37. Heather Ben Jan 10 at 12:19 pm Reply Reply

    I read mayo book (insurance actually gave it to me) and liked it.

    Also read WTEWE, about three years ago whatever newest Ed that is. While I didn’t feel a sense of the “everything bad that can happen” every symptom that required ” call your doc the next day, don’t wait, etc” was meet by a answer of “totally normal” by my doc. Now, could be my doc is just really laid back but I get the feeling the books err on the side CYA a bit more.

    Someone gave me a copy of girlfriends guide – don’t bother unless you are really searching for stories. And I agree with Amy you can much better stories on the Internet.

    You didn’t specifically mention breastfeeding books. I read a good one but don’t remember title-will look it look. Though the la leech book as some good info and I would read it, take with a grain of salt. I dislike their approach that scolds new breastfeeding mothers from even having back up formula just in case because you will be too tempted to use it. To me, you use it if you need too and if you need to you probably don’t want to be going out to the store in the middle of the night.
    I am also one of the people that had supply issues even though I pumped, nursed round the clock, etc. Not to freak you out, it happens more than the make out to be. If you are going that route just try your best and be flexible. I started out extremely firm that I was going to nurse for a year. Lasted two months, the last month my daughter screaming what I thought was just upset but figured out when she sucked down first bottle in 5 seconds was actually hunger. Again, not to freak you out, just trust your gut in most cases instead of a book.

  38. Heather Ben Jan 10 at 12:48 pm Reply Reply

    Just skimming the comments and the breast book is nursing mothers companion.

    I was also referring to an old version of the la leche book, but pretty sure their attitude hasn’t changed.

  39. Ms. K Jan 10 at 3:52 pm Reply Reply

    @Heather Ben
    Actually, La Leche League’s newest book tones the rhetoric Way Down. A good choice on everyone’s behalf. I recommend it (just took it out of the library.)

  40. Liz Jan 11 at 10:28 pm Reply Reply

    There are so many books! I went a little overboard, being a reader, so I have a large library of books now. I never really found a pregnancy book I liked and usually referenced reliable websites.

    But for my husband, he loved Dad’s Pregnant Too, which he read cover to cover in just a few days. This motivated him to read The Birth Partner (by Simkin), which had a huge influence on his general level of interest in the pregnancy (from casual observer to full-time participant) and turned him into the best birth partner I could have asked for. My Japanese midwives, for lack of better words in English, dubbed him “the best midman ever”.

  41. Mad Merlot Mama Jan 12 at 3:03 pm Reply Reply

    I bought ONE book, written by the American OB/GYN Society…Figuring they MUST know what they’re talking about. Yeah, also read like a, “Feel a headache? Get to your doctor NOW, you could be DYING.”

    So, um, yeah. Pretty much stuck to 0-40, Babycenter, and the rest I Googled. For me, the pregnancy/labor/kid business was expensive enough so if I could get the information for free…Well…Made sense for me

  42. liz Jan 13 at 9:33 pm Reply Reply

    My hubby and I enjoyed reading the Mayo book together and get this – We received a copy FREE! along with two other books on childhood development from a “healthy pregnancy” program through my employer.  Check your insurance plan and/or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for similar programs.

    My personal pick for “fun read”  is Sleep is for the weak, balance is a crock:  An indispensable guide to surviving working motherhood by Amy Eschliman and Leigh Oshirak

    Don’t be scared off by the title – these ladies are hilarious, honest, and current, plus at $6 it’s a steal of a deal.  
    see: http://www.amazon.com/Balance-Crock-Sleep-Weak-Indispensable/dp/1583333703

  43. Jenny Jan 14 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    I have read hardly any books. A friend gave me a new version of WTEWYE and I’ve referenced it a few times. I also read Zero to Forty from Amalah, which is really my favorite source of info. I found the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy extremely irritating and couldn’t get very far into at all. My doctor’s office gives me good handouts and I ask questions when I need to know things, but I wouldn’t bother investing in too many books.

  44. KG Jan 19 at 9:36 am Reply Reply

    If you’re pregnant with multiples, a must read is Dr Barbara Luke’s book, “When you’re expecting twins, triplets, or quads”

    http://www.drbarbaraluke.com/books/Expecting.aspx

    Invaluable advice, particularly regarding diet.

  45. Caitlyn Jan 24 at 12:35 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned The Pregnancy Journal by A. Christine Harris:
    http://www.amazon.com/Pregnancy-Journal-Day—Day-Healthy/dp/081186989X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1295890328&sr=8-2
    I LOVED this book.  The journal part was pretty meh, but she goes through and tells you what your baby is up to each day – today were the first brain waves!  The face muscles already make it look like you!  it has TOES!!!  SO perfect, especially for the first few months when it seemed like nothing much was happening.  Towards the end it mostly keeps saying that the baby is putting on weight, but by that point she was kicking and it wasn’t a big deal.
    It also included little trivia and advice bits and stuff, but the daily “what your baby is up to” was my favorite part

  46. Michelle B. Jan 28 at 3:50 pm Reply Reply

    I had one person give me this book and another who was going to get it for me, but I already got it from the first person called Baby 411. I haven’t finished it yet but it seems to have some good info.

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