The Best Pregnancy Books to Answer All Your Burning Questions

Whether you want week-by-week guidance or lighthearted advice, there's a book (or two) for you.

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Best Pregnancy Books

Parents / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

Pregnancy is an exciting and busy time as you plan the future of your growing family, but it may also be full of questions and worries. Changes to your body and surprising symptoms can come out of nowhere. For first-time parents-to-be, it’s an entirely new experience. Even experienced parents can be surprised by differences from previous pregnancies. Getting prepared for the nine months ahead is key to mental and physical health, so reading a pregnancy book (or several!) can help you learn more about your body and the changes to expect. 

"Opt for a book that has a variety of pregnancy-related topics with resources so you can refer to it along your journey," explains Gina Charles, D.O., a board-certified family medicine physician based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She also recommends seeking out books that are supported by evidence-based studies and written by credentialed experts in the field to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first, second, or third pregnancy—there are books for a wide variety of needs. The best pregnancy book is reputable, fits your needs, and suits your taste, whether you’d like something informational or more conversational. We considered all of those criteria when coming up with this list to get you started.

Our Favorite Pregnancy Books

Best Overall: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What to Expect When You're Expecting (Revised)

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Why We Like It: One of the most comprehensive books on the topic, with clearly marked chapters so you can skip around as needed.

But Take Note: The length may feel overwhelming.

What to Expect When You're Expecting tops our list because it's one book filled with all the information you need to know about pregnancy. Don’t be intimidated by the 600-plus-pages; you don’t need to read every single page.

The book includes chapters on specific information such as pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy lifestyle, info for non-birthing parents, needs of those carrying multiples, and week-by-week developmental information. There's also guidance on how to manage pregnancy complications and cope with pregnancy loss.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best Activity Book: 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver

"50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Guide"

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Why We Like It: This quick read gives expecting parents a to-do list that's both practical and fun.

But Take Note: The information is not as in-depth as other options.

Organized by trimester, this book will help expecting parents take things one step at a time. There’s specific guidance and activities tailored to every stage of pregnancy. The things to do include finding a doctor or midwife, downloading apps, and even planning special nights out to plays and movies.

Inclusive and logical, this book is bursting with real-life information that can be very useful for those who love lists and step-by-step guides. 

Price at time of publication: $15

Best Data-Driven: Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong

"Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong"

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Why We Like It: The calm tone and detailed research empowers parents to make their own choices.

But Take Note: The author is an economist, not a medical professional.

Written by award-winning economist Emily Oster, this book debunks myths and explains pregnancy by evaluating data. The author presents and examines data on nearly every decision pregnant people will need to make, like what to eat, what kind of screenings to undergo, and how and where the birth will take place.

We appreciate the calm and informative tone of this book that encourages parents to make their own informed choice when presented with so many confusing guidelines.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best Holistic: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

"The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth"

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Why We Like It: It's a helpful guide for parents looking for alternatives to traditional medical advice.

But Take Note: The claims are not always based in science.

The overall focus of this book is emphasizing that having a baby is a wondrous biological process, rather than a medical condition. Full of weekly advice for every stage of pregnancy, this holistic-focused book also includes nutrition tips, natural remedies, birth stories, and expert advice. 

Price at time of publication: $22

Best for New Dads: The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be

"The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide"


Why We Like It: Involves fathers-to-be, when they are so often the afterthought in pregnancy books.

But Take Note: Some may find the advice condescending.

Get dads involved with their very own expectant father book. Written just for them, this book will give expectant papas all the tools they need to support their partner, prepare for the new baby’s arrival, and take care of themselves during the exciting nine months ahead. 

Price at time of publication: $16

Best Modern: Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy

"Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy"

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Why We Like It: The lighthearted humorous style makes it more readable than a dry textbook,

But Take Note: It's not as in-depth as some other options.

Parents-to-be will appreciate that this choice is written in a frank and funny style. The modern guide includes clinical research mixed with practical advice from a bevy of experts, including OB-GYNs, therapists, doulas, lactation experts, pelvic floor therapists, and more.

The combination results in a useful book that gives trimester-by-trimester overviews, pregnancy symptoms and relief, important decisions to consider, registry tips, exercises, and so much more.

Price at time of publication: $18

Best for LGBTQ+ Pregnancies: The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians

"The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians"

Barnes and Noble

Why We Like It: It's easy to read and comprehensive, covering both legal and medical information.

But Take Note: Some material is dated.

An easy-to-read guide, women will appreciate that this pick focuses on the specific needs of lesbians starting a family. From pre-conception through newborn life, the helpful book includes information on fertility, sperm banks, conception, pregnancy, legal rights, and more. Inclusively written, there’s relevant and specific content for both coupled and single women.

Price at time of publication: $23

Best Humorous: Say No to Placenta Pics

"Say No to Placenta Pics"


What We Like: It's a quick, relatable read, and makes a great gift.

But Take Note: Doesn't provide a lot of traditional information

If a light and funny guide will put you at ease during your pregnancy, choose this book. Co-written by friends Jillian M. Parsons and Allison Baerken, this funny pick is an uncensored tell-all guide to pregnancy. It makes a great gift, and will have most expectant people cracking up, although it’s not as full of traditional information as some of the other options. 

Price at time of publication: $15

Best for Multiples: What to Do When You’re Having Two

"What to Do When You’re Having Two"


What We Like: It's a lighthearted source of first-hand info on the very different experience of carrying multiples.

But Take Note: It's not comprehensive or written by a medical expert.

Finding out that you are expecting twins can be a big shock. Calm some nerves with this well-loved twin survival guide, which includes information from pregnancy through the first year.

The twin-specific info will help parents plan for the unexpected and accept the changes (and challenges) that two babies will bring. 

Price at time of publication: $18

Best for Intended Parents: Successful Surrogacy: An Intended Parent's Guide

"Successful Surrogacy: An Intended Parent's Guide"


What We Like: It demystifies surrogacy process for parents-to-be and gestational carriers.

But Take Note: Some may not like the discussion question format.

The path to parenthood is different for everyone. For those who choose surrogacy, this title is a guide that helps intended parents and gestational carriers create a rewarding relationship through their pregnancy journey together. Written by an experienced gestational carrier, Susan MZ Fuller, the guide helps to demystify the process.

Price at time of publication: $15

Best Eating Guide: What to Eat When You're Pregnant

"What to Eat When You're Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby's Development"


Why We Like It: It includes 50 recipes as well as information about babies' development.

But Take Note: It could use more vegetarian options.

Whether you’re already expecting or contemplating a journey to parenthood, What to Eat When You’re Pregnant doubles as a weekly food guide for expecting parents. Readers will learn dozens of new recipes while learning about a baby’s development.

We love the book’s easy-to-understand diet breakdown, including what foods to eat each trimester and how to keep food safe. Plus, author Nicole M. Avena, PhD, has additional advice for those who plan to nurse, so you can use the book even after birth.

Price at time of publication: $17

Best for First-Time Parents: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

"Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy"


Why We Like It: With clinical expertise, it details common pregnancy symptom and includes a 40-week pregnancy calendar.

But Take Note: Some information feels repetitive.

The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is a favorite among many new parents and caregivers thanks in large part to the book’s 40-week pregnancy calendar. Soon-to-be parents can track their baby’s development each week while learning about their own body’s constant changes. 

The book explains the benefits and risks of different types of childbirth, like home births, C-sections, and more. There are also several chapters on postpartum topics, including breastfeeding and contraception, to help you troubleshoot any issues you may have.

Price at time of publication: $22

Best for Plus-Size Pregnancies: Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant

Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant: Expert Advice and Comforting Wisdom for the Expecting Plus-Size Woman


Why We Like It: It's co-written by a medical expert and a plus-size mom, giving both practical and emotional support.

But Take Note: Some of its material is dated.

There is an underwhelming number of resources for plus-size pregnant people, who face unique challenges and stigma during pregnancy and after childbirth. Co-written by an obstetrician who specializes in plus-size pregnancies and a plus-size mom, Big, Beautiful, and Pregnant delivers practical and reassuring advice for expecting plus-size parents on everything from maternity clothes to potential medical risks to fatphobic doctors.

Price at time of publication: $17

Best for Pregnancy After Loss: Rebirth: The Journey of Pregnancy After a Loss

Rebirth: The Journey of Pregnancy After a Loss

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Why We Like It: A therapist addresses physical, emotional, and psychological considerations for parents.

But Take Note: These topics may be triggering and hard to read about.

Written by an expert therapist and licensed social worker, Rebirth provides insight and support for people who are expecting a baby after experiencing pregnancy loss. From advice on how to handle the emotional fallout of a loss to how to talk to your doctor, this book offers a roadmap for pregnant people and their partners in the immediate aftermath of a loss, through the grieving process, and beyond.

Price at time of publication: $18

Our Review Process

To find the best pregnancy books, we studied best-sellers and well-reviewed books on the topic, using customer reviews and competitor reviews to help us determine the most useful to read. We aimed to include a variety of books that address certain issues that can arise during pregnancy, making sure that the information they provide is helpful, inclusive, and reputable. We also spoke with Gina Charles, DO, a board-certified family medicine physician based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about some of her favorites and how to choose the best pregnancy books.

Factors to Consider When Looking for Pregnancy Books

Reputable Information

Make sure that the book you are relying on bases its information on science, medical research, and reputable sources. While the book doesn’t need to be written by a doctor to be helpful, it is important to check out the author's credentials to make sure they have expertise in the area. 

“[There is] currently a plethora of pregnancy books on the market,” Dr. Charles says. “I typically recommend books that are supported by evidence-based studies and written by subject matter experts who are credentialed in the field.”

It is important to note that a pregnancy book should not take the place of medical advice. Be sure to consult with your doctor before making significant lifestyle or health-related changes.

Tailored to Your Needs

Whether you're an expectant twin mom, an LGBTQ+ parent-to-be, or experiencing pregnancy after a loss, there’s a pregnancy book out there to accompany you on your journey. There are also several types of books depending on what you're looking for, from thorough, scientific guides like Expecting Better to options that provide lighthearted relief, like Say No to Placenta Pics.Choose a book that suits you and your taste—you’ll be more likely to read it and absorb the information if you connect with the content. 

Your Questions, Answered

What books should I read when trying to conceive?

When you're trying to conceive, books about fertility and conception are the way to go. If you think you may need help conceiving, it may be wise to read books on what to look for in a fertility clinic and fertility specialist. Whether you're trying to conceive with or without fertility assistance, books that contain specific questions you should ask your healthcare provider are the most helpful.

“For those who are interested in learning how Western and Eastern medicine can be employed to increase chances of fertility, I recommend Making Babies by Dr. Jill Blakeway and Dr. Sami David,” Dr. Charles says. “And for anyone who is looking for a fertility book that uses non-clinical language, Rebecca Fett's It Starts with the Egg does just that.”

What are the best books on pregnancy?

The best pregnancy books are based on the latest medical guidelines and scientific research. They provide thorough information on all aspects of pregnancy, from conception through delivery and caring for a newborn. They should also be easy to read and written in an understandable way, as well as supplement and support your relationship with your healthcare provider.

“Choosing the right book can be overwhelming, especially during these sensitive periods of life. I recommend Mayo Clinic's Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Myra Wick, M.D.,” says Dr. Charles. “This book provides detailed information about fertility, prenatal care, common pregnancy symptoms, stages of childbirth, and much more. It also has a 40-week tracker to document your progress along your entire pregnancy journey.”

Dr. Charles does warn that there are some types of pregnancy books you may want to avoid. “The number one thing that I caution everyone [about] is searching the internet and relying on non-credible sites for answers,” she says. “I also caution [against] any books with absolute claims in their titles. For example, 'Guarantee pregnancy in three months,’ or, ‘Everything you need to know.’”

Who We Are

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of two sons and a daughter. Maya prepped for her first pregnancy by reading a few different books, but nothing could have prepared her for reality. Her oldest was born in a taxi cab, in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, on the way to the hospital! 

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