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Pregnancy/Maternity Books to Read and Avoid

Elena Petzold

Posted on December 26 2013

One of the first few things everyone does when they find out they’re pregnant is get a pregnancy book or two.  Well, this chicky got a dozen (but I really like reading) so I’m here to tell you what was worth it and what was not (seriously. I mean, one book sent me on an emotional melt-down at 1 AM! Yes! Read on …)

In order from BEST to WORST, here’s my suggestion of books that me and the hubby have enjoyed reading either because it had such great information, it was a funny read and/or both:

1. Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn – by Simkin …

bookNow everyone thinks the No. 1 go-to book is “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but the consensus on that (and by consensus I mean opinion I have formed on behalf of pregnant women everywhere through reading reviews, talking to Mommy friends and experiencing first-hand): that book will do nothing but scare the living daylights out of you and make you petrified you’re having a child at all. The Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn book on the other-hand is chock full of information which you’ll find useful at every stage of pregnancy and beyond. Now, I’ll be honest, I stopped reading this book when I was 10 weeks along because I got to a chapter about “leaky breasts” that can occur during the third trimester and I did not want to imagine such an impending future. I do however feel that the book gave the most amount of information and it lasts beyond pregnancy, and it’s good to have on the shelf as a reference when needed. For all those reasons above, this is my number one book recommendation.

2. Pregnancy Fitness – Mind, Body, Spirit (By the Editors of Fitness Magazine) – if you’re used to the whole exercise routine and you can’t quite abandon it for the sake of being a baby-making oven, this is a great book to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and most importantly – doing it all in a balance that’s good for you and baby (that means it includes nutrition info too). Personally I would recommend all women err on the side of caution and rest as your body is going through all kinds of changes (consider it a gift to the baby), but when your mind goes stir crazy and you need some help about what to do, this book is great and has great visuals and an exercise plan too. [PS – I bought this early on in my first pregnancy when I was a little ambitious about my exercise routine and the truth is my only routine now is walking – for at least 30 minutes every day.]

3. Be Prepared – A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Greenberg and Hayden

This book is hilarious and practical. There’s some good tips within that I flagged, some humorous and relatable stories and both the hubs and I enjoyed this book. When you’re ready for some lighter reading that makes you go, “Oh, I didn’t know that!” – pick these pages up.

4. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy (Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You) – by Vicki Iovine

I picked this up on a friend’s recommendation and I was happy I did because it shared all kinds of info which I knew through experience (i.e., having a surge of “sexy dreams” ladies?) and all kinds of things I thought, but couldn’t quite figure out – for example – this book was the only place where I found out that pregnancy changes the texture of your hair. Did you know that? One day I spent ONE HOUR curling and hair-spraying my hair and as soon as I walked out of the house, it was flat! I thought, “This is odd.” It just so happened I was reading this book and came across the chapter that said, “Don’t do anything drastic with your hair during pregnancy and here’s why …”  This book wasn’t so much about baby or how to prepare for baby, so much as it’s like sitting down to a cup of coffee with some girlfriends and sharing pregnancy stories and tidbits … hence why I liked it and why I think you should read it too (probably around the 10-15 week marks).

** BIG NOTE: I liked this book so much that I purchased Iovine’s sequential piece: The Girlfriend’s Guide to the First Year of Motherhood (or something to that effect). Anyway, here’s what I have to say about that: DON’T BUY THE BOOK. Remember when I said above that I had a mental breakdown after some reading? Well this is the book that caused it. Some might say my hormones were acting crazy, but if you consider the fact that the general audience for this book IS a hormonal woman, then I think you can agree that it’s a little poor planning on Iovine’s part. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Here goes: Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy kind of writes from the, “Pregnancy is such a wonderful and exciting time and here’s all the awesome, weird, funny, and not-so-funny things [but what to do to handle it]“-kind of perspective. The First Year of Motherhood Guide? It’s the exact opposite! The first chapter was all, “You survived passing out a baby and guess what, now your life as you know it will never be the same and even if you thought it will be one thing, it’s another, and it’s miserable so now we’ll tell you all about it.” I’m not kidding.  I woke my husband up at 1am when I was awake reading this, sobbing in tears, “I like who I am and oh.my.goodness. who am I going to be once this baby comes and what if we’re both never the same and we hate it and we’re miserable and it turns out that having a baby was the worst thing we could have done?!?!?”  Thank goodness I have the best hubby ever because he calmed me down and immediately threw away the book. My theory is that Iovine wrote this supplement while she was within the first three months of having her first child or she had some kind of depression post-baby because I found little excitement and joy within the pages and quite frankly it terrified me for what was to come. Pregnant ladies – save yourselves – buy the other books! (and thus spare your Partners too)

5. The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice …

It’s army lingo wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but the hubs sat next to me while he read it and I’d hear him grunt or chuckle every now and then.

6. Mack Daddy: Mastering Fatherhood without Losing Your Style, Your Cool, or Your Mind – hilarious! The book was enjoyed by both me and the hubs. It has lots of little endearing stories and good practical advice.  I flagged a few pages for reference for one the little bean is here.

7. The Happiest Baby on the Block – an interesting read.  I think for some it will be “controversial” though I can’t quite figure out why. In my opinion, it’s kind of like a cook-book that talks about some basic “ingredients” for how to keep your newborn happy and/or how to survive the crying.  The main principles (with great “how-to” within) are: swaddling, position of the baby, rocking, and sssshhhhing really loud like a vacuum cleaner. I know this makes no sense, but if you read the book, I promise it will!

8. Father to Son: Life Lessons on Raising a Little Boy – only $8

If you know anyone who finds out that they’re going to have a little boy, I highly suggest you purchase this gem for them as a gift.  That’s how it came across our laps and it is the SWEETEST book ever! It really gets you excited about being a parent and it’s beautifully written. Practical too!

9. The Vaccine Book – by Sears … now, for some reason, this also seems to be a really “controversial” book out there amongst parent reading. The book is kind of the ins and outs of vaccines and there’s a lot of academic literature out there against this book because some hypothesize that it’s the “Anti-Vaccine” book.  Being in the midst of this read currently, I can tell you that that is NOT the case at all.  Above all, I recommend this book because it’s a highly interesting read. I had NO IDEA what was in vaccines or how they made them and I admit I didn’t quite know what diseases we’re vaccinating our kids against either. So I figured, at the very least, if I’m going to inject my little baby, I ought to know all about it and this book has definitely filled in the blanks.


Filed under: First Trimester, Lists, Literature, Second Trimester

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