So when I found out I was  pregnant with my first child – I was of course incredibly excited, but suddenly struck with my complete lack of knowledge about what is about to happen to my body.  Maybe I should have read a bit more before hand – but hey I worked five days a week, went out at the weekends, slept as much as I liked, and just had a vague notion that I would get pregnant one day in the future.

So when my doctor comfirmed the pregnancy (she did not congratulate me – which was weird, surely everyone would be as excited as I was about my pregnancy!).  She recommended a book to me, called What To Expect When You’re are Expecting.  Unusually, I am going to start with this one. It is, in my opinion, the worst pregnancy book I read. It was the first one I brought, and I very quickly decided it was not for me, so I gave it  away to a Charity Shop.   Why?  Well one of the first things I read in it was that I should be very careful with what I ate and only think about treating myself to a slice of cake or a cookie maybe once a week! WHAT – really?  That seemed extreme to me, there was so much emphasis about weight gain, about how negative a woman feels about her body in pregnancy.  In another part of the book, it stressed that the first question most women will ask a pregnant woman is….

  • What are you having?  No not this one
  • Do you have morning sickness? No not this one either
  • It wasHow much weight have you put on?

Now no one asked me that during my pregnancy or after and I would never ask another woman that question, I don’t think I even thought about it. I remember my midwife weighing me regularly and despite having cake or cookies or both more than once a week (ha more like once a day), I put on some weight – but not too much and not too little!

Besides the weight stuff – the cover is naff and weirdly seventies-ish…. it now has a slightly updated cover but definitely does not fit in with the style of other pregnancy books.  I know we should not judge a book by its cover but the cover just reinforced my dislike of the book. It also has an obvious American slant, so a lot of the information was not relevant to me in Australia.

Anyway, after giving away this book, I looked around at other ones, and I did find many I liked.

So have a look at the list of books below – hopefully you will find a couple you like, or maybe you will like What To Expect When You’re are Expecting – it just did not suit me.

Sara’s Top 4 Pregnancy Books and one she did not like.

  1. Kaz Cooke’s Up the Duff – The Real Guide to Pregnancy
    This booked made me laugh, it had lots of useful information and a month-to-month guide. I particularly liked the tape measure showing the size of the baby each month, I had not previously heard of Kaz Cooke, but I liked the name of the book, which for some reason is called The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth in the UK – sounds far too serious!
  2. Birth – Conceiving, Nurturing and Giving Birth to Your Baby
    This book is much more in the vein of What To Expect, except it is much, much better.  It is Australian, so discusses the various options for private and public hospitals, midwife or Obstetrician-led births. It also has really nice cover picture of a newborn.  I used this more as a reference book, its a big book and seemed to cover everything. So I found ideas for my daily acid reflux or nightly leg cramps.
  3. Birth Right – A Midwife’s Guide to Getting the Best for You and Your Baby in Pregnancy and Birth
    This was recommend by a friend of mine who worked in a hospital. It is all about where you can have you baby, natural birth, expectations of labour.  “It is not a ‘how to have a baby’ book but a manual to help parents deal with doctors, health funds, hospitals and family members so that pregnancy and birth are the best they can be.”  I am originally from the UK, so I found this book very useful about the Australian Health Service.
  4. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
    My Doula lent me this book to read, its a pro-natural non-intervention book, which ideally most woman would want, it has some incredible stories (a labouring woman going for a hike!) and some eye-opening images of birth. It was a very interesting book and although I never wanted a home birth, I enjoyed reading it – but I still cannot see how birth could be a pleasurable experience – as described in the chapter “Orgasmic birth-making birth pleasurable“.
  5. What To Expect When You’re are Expecting
    I only read 5 books so I guess this is in my list… but definitely at the bottom!


Dominique’s Top Pregnancy Books

I on the other hand had a ignorance is bliss approach to pregnancy and birth. To put that another way, I was in denial about the pregnancy and I was scared s$%£-less about the birth so I actually didn’t read a thing. Actually, I tell a lie, I read the Blokes Guide to Pregnancy by Jon Smith.

Only because my husbands uncle bought it for him and it was left lying in the bathroom for 9 months. This book takes a ‘warts and all’ humorous look at the many stages of pregnancy. It explores the changes, physical and emotional, that any man can expect to see in his partner and in their relationship over the coming months. I liked its tone and style. It suited me because it didn’t go into too much detail!