I’m a big reader & I love looking at a wide range of books on a topic. Preparing to start a family & eventually becoming pregnant were obviously no different. But I didn’t want to go too overboard with books, blogs & articles. So I tried to pair down the reading to good quality rather than insane quantity. I thought it would be useful to keep an ongoing list of the resources I read during my pregnancy(ies) (i.e. 3 miscarriages) that helped to center me and prepare as much as one can prepare for such a monumental shift. https://babylist.com/baby-jessica-furiosi
*Note: this is absolutely not meant to be a comprehensive list, just the things I read & my personal thoughts on them.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on items for purchase I can receive some compensation.
Mayo Clinic: Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy (Second Edition) by Myra J. Wick, M.D., Ph.D.
There are a million “catch all” pregnancy books so pick the one that suits your fancy. I personally like the work of the Mayo Clinic & I prefer unfiltered medical information, rather than a feel good fluffy book. This is a great all around resource for the entire length of pregnancy & through the newborn stage. I would read about a section a week, whatever struck my fancy & whatever stage I was at that week.
Husband Coached Childbirth (Fifth Edition) by Robert A. Bradley, M.D.
Actually didn’t end up reading this. My labor & delivery was stupid fast and Will was an excellent coach!
Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception by Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D. & Lisa Mazzullo, M.D.
I read this book a few years ago when we started thinking of having babies but not yet ready. I wasn’t obsessing but wanted to just get a read on simple things I could do, and basic science things I should know, before we embarked on our journey. Little did I know, I would continue to lose pregnancies, thereby making our journey much longer and bumper than I first envisioned. This book stayed with me each time we were open to trying again.
Read more: I wish I was the 99%
Strong As a Mother: How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and (Most Importantly) Sane from Pregnancy to Parenthood: the Only Guide to Taking Care of You! by Kate Rope (audiobook)
I actually really really liked this audiobook a ton! The parts I enjoyed the most were the snippets of real life stories the author sprinkled throughout the text. It was a reminder that everyone’s journey and every family is different so there is little you can say that pregnancy has to be a certain way. This book also gave me a confidence boost that I didn’t realize I was needing.
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes (audiobook)
This was a big fat NO for me for MOST of the book. I felt like I was being yelled at the whole time (probably more the audiobook’s fault rather than the author’s) but I just disagreed with how the message was being related. It’s not the feminist part, I am a feminist, it was the “no one should tell me what to do ever, including doctors” bit that I didn’t love. The only redeeming factor was that I learned a lot about the placenta and weird postpartum stuff I never could have imagined so that was cool.
Read more: Journey through Pregnancy: Month 1
Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth by Mary Haseltine
I had Will read this book in 2018 & he was not a fan but I loved it. I think it was exactly what I needed to hear to feel empowered at the beginning our our fertility journey. Now, it is a “religious” book that has a lot of Catholicism in it so probably not for everyone. However, I am not a touchy feeling mystic person, not even close, but this book spoke to my soul at moments when I felt that I was not “made for this.”
*Note: the author started posting a lot of anti-mask incorrect science on her social media so I decided to unfollow her & honestly, I do not want to financially support her work. If you want to read this book, you can borrow it.
Burning Bright, Not Burning Out: Notes from a Decade of Surviving Motherhood by Haley Stewart (ebook)
This book was the perfect balance I needed after listening to Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy. It’s not these books were opposites of each other, they actually attacked the same problem in two very different ways. They’re essentially both about reclaiming the joys, sorrows, challenges and importance motherhood but I preferred Hayley’s style more. It’s a quick read (only took me like 45 minutes) but it made me feel at peace.
The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
Although this is not a “pregnancy” book, I picked it up because I admire the Finnish (& in general European) outlook on family life. This book was a super quick read (like I finished one weekend) and easy. I mean the book is common sense: American obsession with excesses and consumption is terrible & Europeans have a much calmer, more balanced look at life. Luckily, Will & I live a little in tune with our “continental cousins” but I liked to book to remind me that simplicity is key to a happy life.
Read more: Journey through Pregnancy: The Clothes
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 4th Edition: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night’s Sleep by Dr. Sears
Like the Mayo book, this is a scientific reference, not necessarily the guide I reach for at 4am. I really dig the graphs & research into why sleep is so important for babies & children. This is a book that’ll grow with our baby so we are reading it bit by bit.
50 Things to Do Before you Deliver: The First-time Mom’s Pregnancy Guide for Your Baby, Your Body and Your Sanity by Jill Krause
I was given this book by a friend, it was a quick read but I don’t really feel the need to recommend it to others. Not that the book was bad, I mean it had good ideas, but I didn’t didn’t “need it” nor did I connect to it. It’s a cute book to get as gift though I guess. And maybe if I read it early on in the pregnancy I would feel differently about it.
Read more: Journey through Pregnancy: Month 4
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster
I borrowed this book from a coworker. I thought, based on the title, I would hate this book as some hippy-trippy anti-medicine book BUT IT WAS NOT THAT! This book was written by an economist who went through each chapter discussing how to go through decision making. She does not tell you want decision to make, but how to feel comfortable weighing your options. It also discusses how the studies out there sometimes do not support the general list of “do’s and don’ts” said by doctors. By all means, listen to your doctor (especially someone high risk like me!) but feel empowered to ask about statistics, risk, costs and benefits.
Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum by January Harshe
Just like the last book review, I got this from a coworker & thought I was going to HATE it! However, it was fantastic & really helped me think through things I hadn’t really given time to process. The chapter on creating a Birth Philosophy, rather than a Birth Plan, was so helpful. Similarly to Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth, this book helped me feel empowered to feel like an equal partner to my medical team, family & husband through this process. (not that anyone was putting me down!). Especially as my high risk pregnancy tumbles into a possibly high risk delivery, this book is helping me feel the calm in a situation that is largely out of my control.
Blogs, Podcasts & Websites
This Instagram account & blog has changed my pregnancy life! If nothing else, follow her on Instagram for an incredible wealth of information, options, and advice. I never feel preached to or put down, but it has just opened my eyes to options, things to research, and guidelines before I dive headlong into unfamiliar territory. As the momma of a Florida babe, her blog post on summer care for babies was so helpful! And just in time for me to use it she published the ultimate Karing for PostPartum Baby Registry! I also purchased her newborn course bundle. Unfortunately the baby came before I could watch it but it was still extremely helpful.
Ok so this woman’s voice drives me insane. (I’m sorry to say that in print.) BUT her information is fantastic. I am really enjoying the weekly podcasts episodes on a variety of topics covering pregnancy, labor, and family life. A new episode drops every Monday and they’re not overly medical or long. Perfect for the drive to/from work. There is also a course you can take on her website, I haven’t done it so I cannot recommend it, but based on her podcast content, it’s probably great.
Read more: Journey through Pregnancy: Month 6
This was my clear go to for my registry & I loved their articles! Even the articles that I decided weren’t “for us” still gave me a lot of information to make solid decisions. But even if you don’t read a single thing on their website (which you should) I think they’re the best registry option around. You can add stuff from anywhere and link other registries to it to maximize the free registry perks and welcome boxes.
Read more: Journey through Pregnancy: Month 8
I really liked this website for pregnancy-safe workouts and a “real” view on pregnancy from someone, who like us, values a balanced, healthy lifestyle. I didn’t access all her stuff, nor did I workout like crazy but it was a nice bookmark when I wanted to get a different, less polished view on this stage of life.
This is course is a MUST!!! Every parent with a baby will deal with lack of sleep so there is no one out there that has thus part “in the bag.” All my friends with kids recommended her Instagram & course bundle and it absolutely lives up to the hype. There is some overlap with Karing for Postpartum but I think both are worth it. However, if you can’t spend $200 between both for the newborn stage (0-3 months), pick Karing for Postpartum IMO.