Updated March 1, 2022
When you’re pregnant for the first time, it can be really hard to know what to expect over the next several months of pregnancy, during the birth, and once you are responsible for raising a newborn. Even if you’ve had a child before, every pregnancy and baby are different, so you may be having new issues this time around or you may want to be better prepared for this birth.
Thankfully there are plenty of excellent resources to help be more informed about your pregnancy, more educated about your options for birth, and better prepared to raise your baby.
Below are some of my favorite books for pregnant and new mommas. Get ahold of some of these books in early pregnancy so that anytime your body is telling you to slow down and take it easy, you have some reading material on hand.
Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Keppler
This is an extremely comprehensive book that is a great reference for pregnant mommas! It is an excellent tool for helping parents know what to expect during pregnancy, labor, and post-partum. It details how to have a healthy pregnancy and how to properly plan for labor and post-partum period. It also discusses the basics of caring for your new baby in their early days.
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon and Thomas Cowan
A personal favorite, this book focuses mostly on the health of mom & baby. It has a large focus on nutrition during pregnancy, post-partum, and in early childhood. It also has some very through and helpful information on various newborn interventions, vaccines, common newborn illnesses, and allergies. There are plenty of recipes for babies and pregnant or breastfeeding moms included. This is a great reference book that I would recommend all mommas have on their book shelf.
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
This was one of my favorite books that I read while I was pregnant. The first half of the book is birth stories from women who gave birth in the community in Tennessee where Ina May Gaskin was a midwife. I found reading these positive birth stories quite helpful as I mentally prepared for childbirth. After these stories, there is a section “For the Parents” with basic information about caring for yourself during and after pregnancy and newborn care. The final section is “Instructions to Midwives,” which details more of the technical information about birth. I found that section interesting as well because it explains the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and childbirth.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Theresa Pitman
Written by three La Leche League counselors, this book covers all things breastfeeding. It is a fantastic resource for moms who will be breastfeeding for the first time and aren’t sure what to expect. It has lots of information about common breastfeeding issues and how to solve them, making a great book to reference whenever lactation questions arise.
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed
This was probably been the book I most often referred to during pregnancy and post-partum. It’s discusses caring for yourself while pregnant and after childbirth, including information about nutrition and herbal remedies for common pregancy and post-partum woes. It also has tips for caring for your newborn naturally.
Placenta: the Forgotten Chakra by Robin Lim
This book was so eye opening for me when I read it for the first time while I was pregnant. It focuses on the placenta and it’s role during pregnancy, birth & the post-partum period. Lim discusses what the placenta is and what it does. She decribes modern & traditional treatments of the placenta. She also details how to keep and utilize your placenta and how to have a Lotus Birth. If you think the idea of keeping your placenta sounds gross, this book is definitely a must read for you! Placentas are truly amazing and are so much more than medical waste!
Nature’s Children by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
A classic book on natural pregnancy, birth, and child rearing. The author, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, is a respected herbalist who has always lived in remote places and has spent time traveling with the gypsies. Her recommendations are simple, including lots of good nutrition and herbs. This book details basic natural remedies for common physical issues of pregnancy, birth breastfeeding, and childhood, as well as considerstions of the emotional needs of mom & baby.
Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley, MD
I unfortunately did not discover this lovely book until after my pregnancy, but it is now one of my favorite resources on natural birth and child rearing. It really delves into the physiological processes of labor, birth, and mothering describing how to best work with your body and it’s natural ability to give birth and raise a child. This is a very empowering read that I whole-heartedly recommend to all birthing mommas.
The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
This is a great read for dads and birth companions. It explains the labor process, detailing what the birthing woman is experiencing physically and emotionally. It also gives lots of great tips for how to support the mother during labor and the post-partum period.
Do you have a favorite book on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, or post-partum that I didn’t include? Let me know in the comments below!