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Pregnancy Books

Pregnancy books are a great way for expectant parents to learn about and achieve a healthy pregnancy, and what symptoms accompany complications. You may also keep a pregnancy journal, follow your pregnancy week by week, learn of birthing options, and more...

Most pregnant women, and their partners, have a lot of questions, and pregnancy books can be a great resource to answer questions and help pregnant women know what's normal during pregnancy. Expectant moms should be aware, however, that pregnancy books don't cover every situation, and their doctor is still their best source of personal advice.

There are several types of pregnancy books available for expectant moms:

  • Pregnancy journals, which allow you to record your feelings and day to day or week to week changes in your body, as well as the details of doctor visits. These books also help you to keep track of questions or concerns you may want to bring to your doctor's attention at visits.
  • Week by week pregnancy books that walk you through pregnancy by trimesters, discussing changes in your body and your baby's development throughout the pregnancy process.
  • Childbirth education materials that help you prepare for the big day when your baby is born. Women who can't attend childbirth classes, or just want a refresher course, often turn to books and videos to help them understand the birth process and know what to expect on delivery day.
  • Pregnancy books with special topics like pregnancy nutrition, working during pregnancy, pregnancy for expectant fathers, or pregnancy for single women and teens.

Some pregnancy books combine one or more of these features. Reliable pregnancy books are usually written by doctors, nurses, midwives, or other medical professionals, often with additional input from experienced parents. Many obstetricians and hospitals give expectant mothers pregnancy books, and there are many more pregnancy books that expectant parents can buy.

Some of the most popular general-purpose pregnancy books include:

  • What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. This book is intended to answer common pregnancy questions. It contains a variety of types of information for pregnant women and their partners, including information on diet, fetus development, changes in your body, doctor's visits, and labor and delivery. It also has space to keep a short pregnancy journal. It has been criticized for scaring pregnant women with too much information about what can go wrong.
  • The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know From America's Baby Experts, by William and Martha Sears and Linda Holt. This book is a month-to-month guide with information about fetal development and changes a pregnant women may experience during pregnancy. Possible complications are covered in an appendix. Some women find the book judgmental or overly idealized.
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, by the Mayo Clinic. This is a very comprehensive week-by-week guide dealing with many aspects of pregnancy, including reference guides on pregnancy complications and decisions expectant parents may face during pregnancy and childbirth. It also offers some post-pregnancy information about breast feeding, diaper changing, circumcision, and going back to work. Some pregnant women find the book too dry and technical.

While pregnancy books are great for giving expectant moms more information about pregnancy, there are a few important things to remember:

  • Every pregnancy and delivery is different, so a pregnancy book may not reflect your own pregnancy experience.
  • If a book is giving you a lot of "mom guilt" or worry, or doesn't seem to fit your particular circumstances or philosophies, try a different book. There are many pregnancy books out there that offer similar information with different tones and focuses.
  • Your doctor is still your best resource for your pregnancy because he or she is familiar with your individual circumstances and medical history. If the advice given by your doctor and your pregnancy book differ, talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you don't feel your doctor is giving you the best care you may be able to get a second opinion or find another doctor.
  • Reading books that cover a lot of pregnancy complications can worry an expectant mother needlessly. It's good to know which symptoms mean that you need to call your doctor, but you may not want to read about everything that can possibly go wrong in pregnancy if you worry easily.
  • If you think you are having a medical emergency, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Buying a lot of pregnancy books can get expensive, but you can check out books from your local library, borrow them from friends, or, if you and a friend are pregnant at the same time, buy different books so you can swap.

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