As birth doulas we often tell clients they don’t have to become pregnancy and childbirth experts; and yet, it’s hard for those of us who are research lovers to resist the urge to purchase even one pregnancy book. There are so many “new” new-things that comes with pregnancy and childbirth, it’s natural to be curious and to see out information. But then, you stare at the shelf at the library or the bookstore and ... BOOM.!
So. Many. Books. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the options on the shelf and by recommendations from well-intentioned friends.
Do you want the encyclopedia of pregnancy and childbirth, or are you more interested in a more broad approach to this new phase of life?
Do you want enough evidence-based info that helps you make a decision, without having to weed through the terrifying stories on message boards and mommy blogs?
Do you want to actually enjoy reading or do you want to reference back based on how you're feeling that day?
Do you want to avoid that series about ‘what to expect’? (Ahem, the answer here is: YES!. Yes please avoid this. Pretty please? )
Whichever aforementioned category fits you bet we’ve got you covered!
Here are FIVE book recommendations about pregnancy that we think are *actually* worth a read:
We found the perspective brought by this book to be a breathe of fresh air; and it’s easy enough to read that you can breeze through it much like any other book. In it, you’ll follow author Angela Garbes’ own experience through pregnancy and motherhood. It offers a delightful mix of commentary on her experiences, mixed with current and historical research and cultural influences that form a lot of the advice pregnant people are given these days.
Pregnant people and folks who are already parents alike may find themselves nodding in agreement as they read the introduction to this book. Why can’t I do this? Or Why do I have this test done? The author, Emily Oster (an economist) poses these questions during her pregnancy and is straight-up bothered when no one can give her a clear answer. So, off she goes into the land of data to find what she’s looking for to help shed light on some of the most common pregnancy recommendations. See our final recommendation for Oster’s newest book, about parenthood!
A ‘classic’ if you will, at least in our doula/birthworker world. Chock full of birth stories, which are something pregnant people often find themselves seeking during pregnancy, Ina Mays book can be a helpful guide to the variations of normal during birthing. However, as Ina May is an Out-of-Hospital-birth Legend, it’s worth noting that the book is heavy on unmedicated, majority-homebirthing birth stories. If this isn’t a part of your birth goals, then you may find it not as helpful. Still, being surrounded by positive, non-mainstream media birth culture a change that can help reshape your lens on what birth could be, a bit.
Described as the “all-inclusive guide to pregnancy” it’s nice to feel like you have a tool to refer back to for answers to common questions and queries before you start down the rabbit hole of Dr. Google (which will no doubt result in your reading something less than helpful). Plus, it takes you into those early days and weeks with a new baby as well!
Yes, you read that correctly, we are recommending a second book by Emily Oster. How can we not when her approach is so relatable? Listening to this book is like discussing with your best friend which preschool you liked best and, who doesn’t want to feel like someone is actually guiding you through all these new decisions as a new parent? There’s so. much. advice. heaped freely onto new parents by their community, by their friends, by their family. This book does a great job at helping you navigate your options, with confidence, so you can do what’s best for your family (a concept we’re extra familiar with here at EmDo!).