8 pregnancy books that to-be moms (and dads) will actually find useful
Covering everything from nutrition to self-care and different birthing techniques
Women look way too cheery in pregnancy-motherhood-baby products advertisements. You just pushed a papaya-sized crotch goblin out of your vagina. And are probably suffering from incontinence, fatigue and hair fall, functioning with minimal sleep.
OK, you’ve just experienced the miracle of life, but come on, you can’t be this high off of the hormones. The reality of pregnancy and childbirth is far removed from this pristine image. Most IRL moms will tell you that themselves.
The lucky ones have a smooth delivery and bounce back with ease. Others have to put in the extra effort with unexpected complications, slow physical recovery and postpartum blues. Sometimes justl aughing too hard leads to an uncontrollable little trickle of pee in their pants. Not an “I laughed so hard I peed my pants” situation, but urinary incontinence, a common byproduct of the childbirth process.
Comic by Becky BarnicoatBut the gritty bits of pregnancy and childbirth aren’t always discussed beforehand, so it’s often left to the women themselves to figure out what’s happening to their bodies. That’s why we love pregnancy books. We’re textbook learners here at Tweak. We can bookmark all Youtube tutorials and Instagram reels we find, but at the end of the day, we prefer a hard copy, a written explanation which we can keep referring back to.
Pregnancy books become handy guides that can help you navigate the ups and downs of every trimester. But we get that it can be a little overwhelming to sift through the digital shelves and pick one to add to your carts.
Whether you’re looking for cold hard facts with expert explanations to understand why your favourite moringa-scented candle is now making you queasy, or are looking for a holistic approach for your self-care and a hearty diet, we did the digging and found the best pregnancy books to suit the various needs and moods on your journey. Coupled with the advice from your personal doctor, these guides could create a smooth ride for you and your baby bump.
Best pregnancy books for the modern mom
When you think you have a crisis and the doctor is unavailable: It’s Your Baby by Dr Saroja Balan
If ‘everything you ever wanted to ask your paediatrician’ was compiled into a book it would be this one by renowned neonatologist Dr Saroja Balan.
Her book covers all you need to know about infant care for the first two years of their life—from vaccinations and dietary choices to breastfeeding, sleep problems, the impact of pollution and parenting styles.
Balan’s book takes a no-nonsense approach for new and expecting parents alike, cutting through medical jargon (while still depending on the latest research) to create a comprehensive, simple-to-read encyclopaedia, of sorts, on parenting.
When you’re looking for facts: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Dr Myra J. Wick
This book comes from childbirth and childcare specialists at the Mayo Clinic, and gets straight to the facts covering fertility, prenatal care, birthing methods and medications.
Our favourite part, other than the expert knowledge of course, is that it comes with a 40-week pregnancy advent calendar.
Instead of Christmas-themed treats, each week comes with helpful tips, preparatory practices and medical tests and conversations you are likely to be having at this point, or should be.
Week 5 is when your prenatal tests will begin, you’ll need to stock up on baby gear and supplies from week 29 and the final countdown for labour starts in week 37.
It’s the perfect to assist Type-A moms-to-be who want to be over-prepared in all the ways they can, to assuage their worries about all the changes they can’t control.
When you need a hand to guide you through emotional and physical changes: Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
Written by doula Erica Chidi Cohen, this book is the comforting companion that will hold your hand, through your pregnancy. Cohen has an all-encompassing approach towards the process, marrying science with natural remedies and recipes, with a focus on overall physical and mental wellness.
Sometimes you’ll find pregnancy books that are too cold and hard in their drive for being rational that they don’t leave any room for alternative discussion. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the hippie-dippie granola bunch who shun any medication.
But with this book, you get the best of both worlds, with no judgement for whichever choice you make, whether you’re opting for a ‘natural’ home water birth or for a medically-assisted birth, epidural or C-section.
There’s also a great recipe for lamb meatballs and cucumber-yoghurt salad which are as delicious as they sound but not complicated to make.
When it’s an unexpected 2-in-1: What to Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz
You’re prepping for a little bundle of love until a sonogram gives you a surprise. You weren’t expecting this buy-1-get-1-free deal and now a greater panic sets in. What do you do when you’re suddenly expecting and preparing for twins?
This book will calm your mommy brain with its practical step-by-step approach. It will become your twin survival guide, making you ask the hard but realistic questions and giving you helpful answers as well.
How will you budget household finances now that you have two babies to think of? What do you do when your twins function on different schedules? Travelling with a young one is hard enough, what do you do when you have two grumpy travellers to manage?
Through this book, you’ll cover the many unexpected challenges having two babies can bring, to your body and household.
When you’re preparing for surrogacy: Successful Surrogacy by Susan Mz Fuller
There’s more than one way of becoming a parent. Surrogacy is still an unconventional way to start a family, mostly because it’s spoken about so little.
This book helps demystify the process. Written by a seven-time surrogate, it provides couples considering surrogacy a firsthand look at every stage, from the perspective of the surrogate. You will learn about the initial medical evaluations, and understand how doctors conduct the embryo transfer. The book also allows parents to understand what physical and emotional changes their surrogate is going through, allowing them to bond better.
While some of the procedural steps may be different from what we’d go through in the Indian context, this book gives you an intimate look at a process mostly hidden and discussed behind closed doors.
When you need a good laugh with a girlfriend: Say No to Placenta Pics: And Other Hilarious, Unsolicited Advice for Pregnant Women by Jillian M Parsons and Allison Baerken
This is a light-hearted pregnancy book by two best friends. When one gets pregnant, they’re both thrown into unchartered territories that they have to navigate together with a few bumps and (many) barf bags along the way.
With an irreverent tone and uncensored approach, reading this book almost feels like you’re sitting down with a friend to discuss all the awkward things that happen during and after pregnancy which no one gives you a heads-up about. For example, haemorrhoids. We definitely wish we knew about the haemorrhoids beforehand.
A tongue-in-cheek look at modern parenting that’ll have you laughing all the way, this is a reminder that you can only get through life’s milestones with a friend by your side.
When you’re ready for a cheeky take on pregnancy: The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People by Jordan Reid and Erin Williams
From all the pregnancy books, this is among our favourites. It also makes a great gift for new moms.
This hilarious activity book was put together by parenting bloggers Jordan Reid and Erin Williams. It’s a diary, colouring book and collection of brutally honest but equally hilarious tips and activities, all thrown into one.
With a ‘Make it from your desk to the bathroom without throwing up’ maze, ‘A kitten for you to colour while you sit around constipated’– this book is a must-have in your pregnancy reads that’ll make you laugh, cry and force you to take a break.
When your anxious partner needs calm: Expecting Daddy Delivers by Rakhi Kapoor
Few pregnancy books are solely focused on future dads. Rakhi Kapoor’s is an easy read that will put those jittery nerves at ease. Not too heavy on the mechanics of it all, it focuses more on how to be a good supportive partner through this time.
Through a conversational tone and easy to understand explanations of what she’s experiencing and why – the book offers up helpful tips on catering to women’s needs, for example, how to help her morning sickness but also understanding why she’s experiencing these things.
Presenting such a perspective can help partners understand what women are going through, the degree of it, and empathise instead of dismissing their pains.
A note of caution: Before making any dietary, lifestyle or medical changes please consult your health care provider to check if it would be safe and work for you.
With inputs from Vrinda Rawal