What to Pick Up After What to Expect: 7 Mom-Approved Pregnancy Reads

by Jennifer Ridgway

Photo credit: Photo and Co, Photolibrary/Getty Images

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is as synonymous with pregnancy as pickles and ice cream. But there’s a wealth of other fantastic pregnancy and childbirth guides on the shelves. So if you’re looking for something instead of or in addition to What to Expect, check out these recommendations.

  • The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

    by the Pregnancy Experts at Mayo Clinic

    This was my go-to guide during my pregnancy. It tells you what you should expect week-by-week and month-by-month in terms of the changes in your body, your baby’s development, prenatal checkups, testing, and more. There is also information for your partner, about diet and exercise, medications, postpartum care, and newborn care. And, of course, labor and delivery (including managing pain and cesareans) are covered. It’s written by doctors at the renowned Mayo Clinic, making it a trustworthy, medically sound book.

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

    by Ina May Gaskin

    Available from:

    Ina May Gaskin is considered by many to be America’s leading midwife. In this book, she shares her wisdom on how to have a more natural pregnancy and delivery by drawing upon her many years of experience. She covers everything from reducing pain during labor without drugs to the risks of anesthesia and cesareans. She includes many inspiring real-life birth stories in addition to practical tips and insights.

    Also available from:
  • The Baby Bump

    by Carley Roney and the editors of TheBump.com

    This is a fun supplemental book. It’s not technical, nor does it cover everything. But it does have lots of tips and advice and is written in a casual style – almost like talking to your best friend who has already been through it all. As a bonus, it includes checklists, graphs, and charts for each stage of the journey.

  • The Expectant Father

    by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash

    Almost all pregnancy books are targeted to the expectant mom, with maybe a chapter written for the dad/partner. Brott and Ash’s book is an expectant father’s go-to guide. It gives a month-by-month breakdown of not only what mom and the baby are going through, but also how this all affects him. Some of the other great information includes work-life balance, financial planning, and how to be involved in the pregnancy.

  • Heading Home with Your Newborn

    by Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

    When I was pregnant, I started becoming anxious about actually caring for my twins. By care, I mean basic care. I’m an only child and I didn't have much exposure to infants or newborns. A friend recommended this book to me, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I read the whole thing cover-to-cover and highlighted along the way. After reading it, I felt much more prepared and ready. Jana and Shu cover all the basics: what medicines to have, diapering, feeding, bathing, dressing; it’s a helpful resource to have on hand.

  • Raising Twins

    by Shelly Vaziri Flais

    For those of you expecting twins (or more!), this book, also published by the AAP, is great. It was my one dedicated “twins read” while I was pregnant with my twins. The author is a mother of twins and a pediatrician. She offers real advice in a friendly yet authoritative manner. She covers everything from preparing for twins to how to survive the first few days to the toddler years on through school.

  • The Belly Book

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

    Available from:

    This bestselling pregnancy journal has been around for a few years now, and it’s easy to see why. It has spaces for photos of your bump and/or sonograms, areas to write in, and guided questions. It’s a sweet keepsake of your nine-month journey.

    Also available from: