Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Best Pregnancy Books (According to Me...)

The choices for pregnancy reading are incredibly overwhelming. There are a million books, and they all claim that they are "essential reading" for pregnancy. Well, if you are like me and your first instinct is to read all you can, you will probably feel overwhelmed when you head to the book store.

So, here are the books the I feel are worthwhile (or not). Of course I haven't read all that are out there, and there are probably a ton of fabulous books I am missing, but I can provide you with some honest feedback on what I have read.

by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Well, this is probably the first book you think of when it comes to pregnancy books, and most likely the first book you will buy. It was for me. I picked it up the day I got my big fat positive. There seems to be a lot of discussion around this book and it's value to pregnant women. Let me tell you what I think: it does what it claims to do. It tells you what you can expect in pregnancy. The reason that I still have this book, is that I like reading about the baby's development each week, which is kind of cool. Of course you can do that on the internet now, and there are many different sites that are fabulous for this, but I like just picking up a book every now and then. Also, it sort of functions as a pregnancy encyclopedia for me. If there is something I am curious about, I can just check out the index and there is usually a pretty decent blurb about it. Very useful. What I don't really like about the book is that it isn't really all that useful otherwise. It tells you what you can expect to feel at each month of your pregnancy, and what you can expect to happen to your body. But women vary so widely that this is not really accurate, and you can sometimes get the feeling that you aren't normal because you aren't experiencing all the things that it says you should. But you ARE normal. Also, I find it a little bit patronizing sometimes. Especially the part about what you should and shouldn't do in pregnancy. Groan. 

I also purchased the book  What to Expect: Eating Well When You're Expecting since my eating habits are not the best. This book was a waste of money, in my opinion. I do not have half of the ingredients that they call for to add in and make the meals "healthier". Also, the recipes are pretty bland. In addition, if you are not used to watching what you eat and being strict about observing what you eat, then this is totally not the book for you. To be honest, I read it through, used one or 2 recipes and now it just sits there collecting dust. I got the feeling from the book that if I didn't follow their diet, I would be making horrible choices for the health of my baby. You know what? My baby does not have a 3rd head because I didn't follow the Pregnancy Daily Dozen diet...and your baby won't either. With all the things we preggos have to worry about, I don't need to be counting how many food items from different categories I am eating. I just make healthier choices (for the most part) and still make some unhealthy ones (I do love me a fast-food burger every now and then!), and that's just fine with me. 

By Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz
I got this one in e-book form, and read it all in about 1 day. I found it infinitely more entertaining than the What to Expect book, and the humour they throw in makes for a great read. I enjoyed reading it, and probably got some useful things out of it, but I have never looked at it since. Some of the things were a little "out there" for my own beliefs and experience, so it was a take some/leave some kind of thing. All in all, it was an enjoyable read, and satisfied my "" compulsion, but I don't think it is a must-read.

By Harlan Cohen
I bought this one for Hubby since he expressed an interest in reading What to Expect, and I thought that would not be very useful. The book is organized into "tips" and they aren't always in the most intuitive of orders in my opinion, but the information is really good (of course I read it to see what information Hubby was getting...wouldn't want to give away any top-secret pregnancy info that might ruin my advantage!!).

Here are Hubby's thoughts:

The layout is great in that it provides the information in small bites rather than long-winded paragraphs. Most dads are probably like me and don't want to get into the nitty gritty of the whole process and are just looking for a general overview.

Also, I feel they group the subject matter really well so if you get this into a dad-to-be's hands, right away he should be able to follow along with what is happening. I also appreciate that the author really tried to get a lot of anecdotal commentary from real couples; it kept the book fresh and relevant.

All in all I think it’s a great resource for those who probably won't do a lot of reading, or don't like to read, especially about subjects they may not ordinarily read about. But I think there are far better resources for being prepared for the birth then this one. Its good for an overview of the whole pregnancy.

by Jenny McCarthy

Ok, I read this one after having it recommended by a pregnant friend. I actually enjoyed it. It took me only an afternoon to read it, and it's not like it's winning any prizes for literature or anything, but it's pretty entertaining. It's also sort of nice to have a break from all the seriousness and medicalization of pregnancy and laugh at someone else's experiences. Definitely good if you need a laugh. Also, she does bring up a lot of things that most "good girls" would never talk about, so you get some frank talk about the things most people don't tell you about pregnancy. 

I also wanted to mention what I think would most likely be a very useful book, but I actually haven't read it. I picked up The Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas as it's a Canadian focused guide, which proves to be very useful when you are talking about health care, etc. This book was fabulous, so I imagine the pregnancy one would also be fabulous, but I never picked it up since I was already pretty far along in my pregnancy before I found this one. So might be worth a read for sure!
Those are my thoughts. I also have some books on labour and birth I will review, but in the interest of keeping you from snoozing on your keyboards (i.e. for the sake of brevity), I will post those seperately next week.

Hopefully this helps you a little bit to navigate the jungles of pregnancy books overflowing the shelves of your local bookstore. Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

And thank you, dear readers, for all your kind votes for Up Mommy Creek at the Circle of Moms Top 25 Pregnancy Journals. You guys are amazing! xoxo


  1. Although I have yet to be pregnant, I've had several friends that have and for their first pregnancies I always buy them "The Pregnancy Bible." I remember doing a lot of research before the first purchase and my friend LOVED it and has since recommended it on to her friends and I've continued buying it for mine.

  2. thanks for the great selection...
    hopefully I'll find some of them here too!!

  3. I also HIGHLY recommend The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It's like WTEWYAE, but for breastfeeding! It's really great!

  4. Best book for dads:

    "The Expectant Father" by Armin Brott

    As an aside, my wife absolutely hated "What to Expect..."


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