Books are a great way to educate yourself on the pregnancy journey, and life as a parent. While there are seemingly endless supplies of prenatal and parenting books to choose from, this list compiles top recommended books by moms.
To make best use of your time - and maximize what you retain - it's a good idea to be strategic about what you read, and when. You'll find tips for books to read throughout your pregnancy, and those you should leave to the last trimester.
Books to Read in Your First Trimester
Best Month-by-Month Pregnancy Guide: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth
Written by Genevieve Howland, of the mom-adored Mama Natural YouTube channel and brand, The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide is an enjoyable and informative view of the entire pregnancy journey.
Each chapter focuses on a given week of pregnancy, and offers a rundown of what's happening for mom and baby, as well as healthy recipes, natural remedies for common pregnancy ailments and birth stories.
Best Evidence Based Pregnancy Resource: Expecting Better
Make informed decisions during your pregnancy, by understanding the facts vs fiction behind well known pregnancy myths. Should you avoid alcohol? Coffee? Sushi? Answers to these questions, and more, can be found in this entertaining science-backed resource, written by award-winning economist Emily Oster.
This book is a must!
Books to Read in Your Second Trimester
Best Birth Stories Book: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Packed with birth stories from renowned midwife Ina May's thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth offers an eye opening yet glorious view of natural childbirth. This is a must read for anyone attempting an unmedicated birth.
Best Pregnancy Nutrition Book: Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition
Now that morning sickness is (hopefully) behind you, it's time to focus on nutrition. Real Food for Pregnancy is an evidence-based resource, packed with information on what to eat (and why) to support a healthy pregnancy and your baby's development. Written by registered dietitian nutritionist, Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, you can rest assured knowing you're getting quality nutrition advice.
Best Pregnancy Workout Book: Yeah Baby! The Modern Mama's Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, and Bouncing Back Better than Ever.
Written by the world's leading fitness expert, Jillian Michaels, Yeah Baby! is an awesome resource for anyone wanting to stay in shape during pregnancy. With multiple home workouts for each trimester (with minimal or no props required), this book will motivate and challenge you to stay strong throughout your pregnancy.
Books to Read in Your Third Trimester
Best Baby Sleep Resource: Taking Cara Babies
While not technically a book, Taking Cara Babies wins hands down for best sleep resource. Cara is a neonatal nurse, mom of four, wife to a pediatrician and certified pediatric sleep consultant. With a wealth of knowledge under her belt, she's assembled virtual sleep programs for moms and moms-to-be - with highly effective results.
The newborn class provides tips you need to set a healthy sleep foundation for your baby in the first 12 weeks of their life. Cara's virtual classes are easy to watch, digest and implement - you'll learn a ton without feeling like you're in school! Follow Cara on Instagram to be part of the mom community striving for (and successfully getting) more sleep.
Best Baby Sleep Book, Honorable Mention: On Becoming BabywiseOn Becoming Babywise was written over three decades ago by distinguished pediatrician Dr Robert Bucknam, M.D. and sleep expert Gary Ezzo, and has since been updated with new research.
On Becoming Babywise is a thorough and effective sleep resource. With specific baby feed / wake / sleep schedules and answers to just about any sleep question, this book is a highly recommended resource for type A planners.
Best Baby Sleep Book, Honorable Mention: The Happiest Baby on the Block
The Happiest Baby on the Block, written by famed sleep expert and SNOO founder Harvey Karp, is a practical and informative book. Harvey shares his proven framework (the 5 S's), the science behind sleep (and why it's so important for developing babies) and insights into bedsharing, SIDS risk, breastfeeding and more.
Best Evidence Based Book for New Parents: Cribsheet
Like Expecting Better, Emily Oster's Cribsheet dissects hot parenting topics, like breastfeeding, sleep training, potty training and more, bringing scientific evidence to the surface to help new moms make the best choices for their family.
For moms who are faced with (and tired of) mixed messages, this book is a must.
Best Labor and Birth Book: The Birth Partner
The Birth Partner is the essential handbook for all pregnant women and their partners. This book covers each stage of labor thoroughly, outlining options (medicated or non-medicated, Cesarean or vaginal, etc), potential complications, tips and techniques to aid parents-to-be from early labor through birth and newborn care.
Other Standout Pregnancy and Parenting Books
Best Book For Moms Expecting Their Second
While most pregnancy books focus on new moms, Waiting for Birdy is written for moms expecting their second. Written by beloved babycenter.com columnist, Catherine Newman, this book tracks the pregnancy of her second child, while coping with the realities of raising a toddler. This witty, warm and honest recount will resonate with many pregnant moms, who can relate to the challenges and joys of raising a family.
Best Book for Dads-to-be: Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
Written by Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, Home Game is a hilarious and frank record of life as father. Lewis provides a refreshing and real recount of life following the birth of his three children, recounting funny yet ordinary moments from daily household life. It's a great book for partners who are about to make the transition to fatherhood.