pregnant woman reading pregnancy book

The Best Pregnancy Books To Read In 2020

You know what feels amazing?

Curling up in a soft blanket, hot cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other.

Hi, I’m Suzzie, the creator of She Births Bravely. I help thousands of moms prepare for birth every month. Enjoy the free resources here on the blog and my birth course Healthy Start Birth Prep. This class helps you feel more confident and prepared for birth. It also helps you make birth safer both you and baby.

I often get asked, where do I start learning about birth?

Well, I know exactly which pregnancy books to read. These books will help ease your mind, release your stress, and help you prepare for a not so average, (read: totally awesome) birth. 

This is where you start!


IT’S SO MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT

Do you want to be prepared for the most surprising and uncomfortable things that happen during labor? then you NEED our guide:

11 Surprising Things That Might Happen During Labor

+Exactly What To Do About It


Pregnancy Books For First Time Moms  

pregnancy books for first time moms

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. I participate in the Amazon associates program as well as others.

A decade ago, every new mom was handed a copy of the book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. This book takes you through the stages of your baby’s development and what to expect during each week of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, it also reads as somewhat of a disaster guide, telling you exactly what could go wrong the whole time. A great book for first time moms will have three things. First, a month to month guide. Second, cute birth stories. Thrid, information about labor and delivery. These books have them all.

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth

This book is a beautiful collection of what is happening with your baby’s development. You will learn how you can prepare for birth. The birth stories that will leave you feeling super empowered.  It is an amazing pregnancy book for first-time moms. .

What People Are Saying: “This book has been extremely helpful. I read the chapters one week at a time while I’m at that week. There is sooo much helpful information in this book that you just can’t find on Google searches. Not to mention tells you multiple options from different women” 

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey

This book is a powerful guide to approaching pregnancy and birth with your whole heart, mind, and body. It starts with an amazing section on conception and getting pregnant. Followed with information of what happens in each moth of pregnany. And lastly, gives a strong foundatin of what you need to know about birth and postpartum. Its beautiful illustrations will have you even more amazed by how powerful and beautiful your body is. 

What people are saying: “This book is really well written. It covers all the topics you need from before conception to postpartum. The topics were exactly what I was looking for. The book’s presentation & chapters made me feel relaxed & calm while being informed.”

Pregnancy Books That Will Help You Gain Labor Skills 

woman reading pregnancy book about labor

The books above will give you an overview of what to expect during pregnancy, birth and postartum. The books below will help you develop the skills you need for labor and birth.

Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way: Revised Edition

I will be 100% honest, I do not love the style of the writing in this book. But, on the other hand, I do not think there is a better book that prepares women start-to-finish for a positive birth. This book is heavily focused on preparing for natural childbirth. However, the exercises and positions are a great benefit to moms planning on getting an epidural as well. The knowledge imparted here simply make birth easier and safer, especially the exercises and meditations she recommends. So while I think the way the author speaks is a little…. annoying. This book always makes it to the top of my must-read during pregnancy lists. 

What people are saying: “Reading this book was one of the most important ways I prepared for birth. I highly recommend it to all women :)”

HypnoBirthing, Fourth Edition: The Natural Approach To Safer, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing

What if you had a birth that wasn’t a total pain fest and was actually pretty special? This is what hypnobirthing helps moms achieve. It’s true that severe pain is not a part of every birth and that in the absence of fear and tension, birth can be a safe and normal process. I do not think that this is the ONLY way to have a positive, natural birth or that a quiet birth is more desirable than a more primal birth. But, I have seen enough moms have success with hypnobirthing that it has become a dear part of my collection and some of its teachings have intrinsic value for all expecting moms. If you’re a reader of all the books, you definitely need to add this one to the list.

What people are saying: “Life-altering book on birth. And it’s super practical for other situations besides birth – see below. My first two were hospital births, one with an epidural after four hours of labor and the second with an epidural after twelve hours of labor because I wanted a “natural” birth. But I had no method of dealing with the pain. With my third, I used a birthing center and turned to this book.

My husband was skeptical, but I practiced the relaxation and listened to Rainbow Relaxation, and that third birth was extremely fast (two and a half hours active labor) and much easier in most senses. Painful, yes, but less painful than the other two labors before I had the epidural. My recovery was faster, and I had so much energy after the birth, whereas the first two I was exhausted. My husband became a firm believer in this method too; he says I made no noise at all during labor except a couple of moans when “pushing.” We had a fourth child and the same labor repeated itself.”

Birthing From Within

What if preparing for birth was more than a medical event but a time of transformation, growth and self-discovery? This book will help you understand the process of birth, help you develop labor coping skills and help you find your inner strength and power along the way.

What People Are Saying: “ I was given this book by my midwife. It basically tells how birth is an entirely natural process. The majority of births are more traumatic than they need to be because women are scared! It then goes through the normal concerns. You will learn how to put aside your fears to give birth as naturally as possible.

It is not unrealistic. This book does not suggest you drink herbal tea and go and live in the woods for 9 months. It is common sense advice that should have been passed from mother to daughter and has somehow got lost in amongst the gas and air and other medical interventions. I gave this book to a friend of mine who had a horrific first birth and was scared of her second. In the end, she had a short and easy labor and birth at home and she said this book was an important part of that.”

Pregnancy Books For First Time Dads Or Other Birth Partners

pregnancy books for first time dads

Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions

If there was one book that could get your partner ready for birth it is The Birth Partner by Penny Simpkin. This book will teach your partner everything they need to know about birth from the perspective on someone that is going to coach or be with you through the process. It is a great book if you are preparing to have your partner or spouse be your main support person through the birth experience. 

What people are saying: “Excellent book, no nonsense, to the point and complete. It works both for general reading and as a reference guide for labour. If you want to prepare for labour, this is the only book you’ll need. (Mind you, it does not deal with all of pregnancy, but rather focuses on labour (pre-, during, post-).”

First Time Dad: Pregnancy Handbook for Dads-To-Be (What to Expect for the Next 9 Months)

This book is a great guide for what to expect during pregnancy, but for dads. It goes through what to expect at each stage of pregnancy, what to expect during the birth and what to expect when you come home with a newborn. It is an amazing guide to prepare first time parents with what to expect and how to show up in this new role as father. The author is funny, and speaks off the cuff, which makes the information easier to digest. 

What people are saying: “Pregnancy can be a scary thing for those who haven’t gone thru it before. This book is a funny take on being a new dad from the moment of orgasm to birth and beyond. You really do have to have a sense of humor during this time.”

Pregnancy Books That Will Help You Transcend Pain 

Painless Childbirth: An Empowering Journey Through Pregnancy and Birth

This book is a beautiful first-hand account of one mom’s journey through birth and how she was able to turn pain into power. Through her story, the author teaches moms 9 steps they can take during pregnancy to better understand themselves and the baby they are growing.  The beautiful thing about this story is that you are sure to grow in your own confidence about birth and take charge of your own wellbeing, prenatal care, and emotional states at a deeper level than before. It is truly an eye-opener and game-changer. Painless Childbirth promotes self-confidence, urging women to take charge of their well-being as they make informed decisions about their prenatal care, their life choices, and their emotional state.

What People Are Saying: “I found this book to be such a help working through any feeling I had about the pregnancy (anxiety, fear, expectations.) By the time I had the baby, I felt much more relaxed and confident.! Do the work, dive in, and you won’t regret it.”

Supernatural Childbirth

I often get asked if there is a book about birth specifically told through the lens of faith, God, and Christianity. If there was a perfect book to challenge the stigma of pain and birth and bring a woman closer to God, it is Supernatural Childbirth. 

What people are saying: “This book is the reason I was able to have a natural birth. I had my daughter in the car on the way to the hospital and I would have not been able to stay calm, cool, and collected had I not read this book. I didn’t experience nearly as much pain as the horror stories women have told me about birth. My labor was short and it was the most incredible experience”

Prengnacy Books That Will Help You Understand The Dynamics And Challenges Of Birthing In The 21st Century 

Birth Matters

Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin is my absolute favorite book on birth. Not only will midwife Ina May get you totally prepared for birth, but she will help you understand why our healthcare system is so disjointed and hard to navigate. She will restore your faith in your body’s ability to birth while also giving you some very practical tools that will help you get through labor. 

What people are saying: “I am inspired by the way Ina May Gaskin fights for women’s right to have the babies they want how they want. Reading her books has helped me overcome my fear of getting pregnant again after my c-section. I have learned so much about pregnancy and childbirth from reading her books! 10 out of 10!”

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

This is one of the most eye-opening and jow dropping books I have ever read on childbirth in America. Journalist Jennifer Block set out to find out, do women have the right to an optimanl birth experience? If not, why? While it is not a fluffy or easy book to read, it is probably one of the most important books that moms should be reading as they prepare for childbirth.  

What people are saying: “Wow, what a fantastic read. I’m glad I managed to finish it before labor hits (currently 39 weeks!). Eye-opening, and full of citations. If you enjoyed the documentary “The Business of Being Born”, this is very similar but way better and more extensive.”

Pregnancy Books To Fill Out

Are Childbirth Classes Covered By Insurance

Are you the kind of person that likes to journal, color or interact with your books? These books are powerful ways to connect with inner emotions and track your pregnancy.

As You Grow

This is a sleek and modern approach to creating a baby book. It has places for you to journal, record milestones and save all the sweet and silly moments with your little one from pregnancy to year five. If you wanta pregnancy book to fill out, this one is perfect!

What People Are Saying: “This listing does not even do this book justice: this is my first pregnancy and so I really wanted a baby book that was in-depth from beginning to end and with the modern look…. I’ve seriously never seen a more sweet baby book. This book goes all the way from a family tree, to find out about the pregnancy, milestones, first holidays, and seasons up to five years old!! It has pockets every so often and little spots for pictures. I am obsessed. The calligraphy and modern pictures are beautiful on the pages.”

Divine Birth

I am totally partial to this book because I wrote it. Divine Birth helps you find your center, and move into the more emotional and spiritual side of birth. Personally, I felt like there is already a wide array of excellent suggestions for books that will help you develop the knowledge of what happens when and what to do when during birth. However, there are few resources that help you move through the rite of passage in a way that leaves you feeling empowered, strong, and calm. This is that resource.

What people are saying: “As a pregnant mother and lover of all things birth, this book was so wonderful! I’ve enjoyed reading through and being encouraged with each page. The coloring pages for mothers are gorgeous and so cathartic to use. I’ll certainly be using this as a gift for all of the newly expecting mothers in my life!”

Sacred Pregnancy Journey Deck: Inspirational Guidance for Your Pregnancy

While technically not a book, but a set of Oracle type cards, these cards have wisdom, encouragement, and guidance that you won’t find in other places. The card deck invites women to contemplate, celebrate, and meditate every day throughout the pregnancy and beyond. The accompanying 126-page booklet book offers short but powerful explanations for the meaning of each card, encouraging expectant mothers to live with purpose and integrity while seeking clarity on any issues they may be struggling with. 

What people are saying: “I love this deck and Annie Daulter’s book, Sacred Pregnancy. I pull a card nearly every day of my pregnancy, sometimes 2; one for me and one for my baby. The pictures are beautiful, titles are awesome. And the book is easy enough, although it could be easier if the cards were numbered or if they appeared in alphabetical order in the book. Otherwise no complaints, and love the product. Great design, swift delivery” 

Pregnancy Books That Will Help You Eat Right 

It’s true that not all food is equal. It is never more important to pay attention to what you eat than when you are pregnant. These books will help you understand what your body needs at each stage of pregnancy. 

Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition

This is a groundbreaking book when it comes to nutrition and pregnancy. You will pick up dozens of ways to make your pregnancy safer for both you and your baby. If there was ONE area I think all moms needed support, it would be here. Nutrition is the easiest and quickest way to improve the safety of your birth. 

What People are saying: “The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT book if you want to get pregnant or are already pregnant!”

Pregnancy Books For The Toddler In Your Life

pregnancy books to read with sibling

Are you specifically looking to help a sibling adjust to a new baby? There are some amazing books that will help make this a special experience for your little one as well.

You We’re The First

This book is guaranteed to make you cry as you remember the first moments with your little one who is now becoming a big brother or sister. It is a great way to help your little one understand the cherished place they have in your heart and what it means to become a sibling.

What people are saying: “This is a very sweet book. I was not prepared, so I would like to warn you: you will probably cry on your first read.”

Mamas Belly

If your little one seems to have a bit of anxiety about becomming a sibling, this is just the book for them. From learning to share a lap, to understanding why mama can’t play as much as she used to, this book addresses a little ones fears and helps them embrace the changes that come with a new baby.

What people are saying: “Such a lovely, lyrical, beautifully illustrated book about waiting for a baby sibling and the questions that arise. Not in terms of anatomy or anything (my son actually corrected me when I read it and said, ‘the baby isn’t in your belly; she’s in your uterus!’) but more in terms of ‘will there be enough love to go around.’ It’s as reassuring and funny in parts as it is beautiful to look at, with new things to notice on every page. “

Where Do Babies Come From?

This board book is so fun for toddlers to read. My kids personally love this style of lift-the-flap books and can’t get enough of this one in particular. From baby kittens, caterpillars, kangaroos, and humans, this book will teach them about what babies need and how they grow. It’s a great age-appropriate introduction to a new baby.

 What peole are saying: “My 4-year-old loves this book. She used to ask where babies came from and I think this book answered a lot of her questions in an age appropriate way.”

Welcome With Love

If your toddler or small child will be at your birth, this is the book for them! This is a beautiful story of a home birth where the entire family supports the mama through labor. One of the most amazing things about this book is that it takes all of the shame and negativity out of birth and reveals how incredible this experience can be. It is a beautiful book to prepare a toddler for birth.

What people are saying: “This is a superbly illustrated book that tells the story of a homebirth in a rural setting from a child’s point of view. It is relaxed and introduces the idea of birth free from fear ~ something this culture desperately needs more of. 🙂 It truly is a joyous read, and extremely touching for those of us who have experienced this particular wonder ~ peaceful, warm, and life-changing. “

What Books Should You Be Reading During Pregnancy?

There are a million books you could read during pregnancy. The ones you should read are the ones that will address the fears and concerns you have in your particular pregnancy. I hope this list helps you find what you are looking for!