Best Pregnancy and Childbirth Books



We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to arm yourself with knowledge about your pregnancy and childbirth options. There is a wealth of information out there on these topics, but how can one choose among the many pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum books? The quality of information and value of guidance vary greatly. Some better known and more popular books contain plenty of misinformation and poor advice, while less well-known books offer excellent information and guidance.

The Childbirth Connection staff has carefully evaluated stacks of advice books to find ones with accurate information and guidance to help you make informed decisions for you and your baby. Below is a list of books we highly recommend, listed by topic.
To learn more about or to buy any of these books, just click on buy pregnancy book to go to the Amazon.com website. When you buy through this website, Amazon gives back a portion of each purchase to Childbirth Connection so that we can continue our mission of promoting safe, effective and satisfying maternity care. Enjoy reading and thanks for your support of our work. 



All-in-One Overviews


Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley and Ann Keppler


Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn (Revised, Expanded Edition): The Complete Guide (2010), by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley and Ann Keppler.

Comprehensive in-depth resource manual with clear and accurate information, helpful illustrations and tools, and solid practical advice.

Learn more about about Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn from Amazon best pregnancy books

Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sandy Jones, Marcie Jones, and Claire Westdahl

Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy and Childbirth (2004), Sandy Jones, Marcie Jones, and Claire Westdahl.

Friendly, accessible guidebook providing solid information and advice about many topics from pregnancy testing to early weeks of life with a newborn.

Learn more about about Great Expectations from Amazon best pregnancy books


Culture and Politics of Childbearing and Maternity Care


Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Mothers and Infants First by Marsden Wagner

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Mothers and Infants First (2006), by Marsden Wagner.

A physician with decades of experience blows the whistle on how the U.S. maternity care system works, who benefits, the high cost to mothers and babies, and what childbearing families and concerned citizens can do about it.

Learn more about about Born in the USA from Amazon best pregnancy books

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
buy pushed: the painful trush about childbirth and modern maternity care
Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care (2007), by Jennifer Block.

A journalist reports on her investigation to understand why maternity care in the United States is poorly suited to needs of most mothers and babies. Includes voices of mothers, health professionals, researchers and advocates.

Learn more about about Pushed from Amazon best pregnancy books


Planning for Pregnancy


Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day GUide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception by Am Ogle and Lisa Mazzullo

Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception (2002), by Amy Ogle and Lisa Mazzullo.

Comprehensive manual to help couples understand and influence the many factors before and shortly after conception that affect the developing embryo and fetus. Covers lifestyle habits, nutrition, exercise, body weight, gynecologic and overall health, fertility, work and home environments, genetics, preconception care, and financial planning.

Learn more about about Before Your Pregnancyfrom Amazon best pregnancy books


Having a Healthy and Comfortable Pregnancy


The Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know From America's Experts

The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know From America's Experts (1997), by William Sears and Martha Sears.

Comprehensive guide to your physical and emotional changes, fetal development, having a healthy pregnancy, and planning for birth.

Learn more about about The Pregnancy Book from Amazon best pregnancy books


Continuous Support During Childbirth by Doulas and Others; Postpartum Doulas


The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positie Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant by Rachel Gurevich
The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant (2003), by Rachel Gurevich.

Learn how labor doulas and postpartum doulas can make a big difference for women in diverse situations, and how to find and work with these women who provide essential support to childbearing women. With many women's stories.

Learn more about about The Doula Advantage from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin

The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (3rd edition, 2008), by Penny Simkin.

Wise resource to help your spouse/partner, friend or another companion give you the special and powerful gift of continuous support as you give birth. Includes many labor "comfort measures" and strategies for difficult labors that can make all the difference for you.

Learn more about about The Birth Partner from Amazon best pregnancy books


Giving Birth


The Birth Book: Everything You Ned to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by William Sears and Martha Sears

The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (1994), by  William Sears and Martha Sears.

Helps you make informed choices about your birth, including your maternity caregiver, place of birth, help with pain relief and other decisions. Emphasizes safest practice. Includes many birth stories.

Learn more about The Birth Book from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries

The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence (2005), Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries.

Supports you in enhancing your body's own ability to give birth and avoiding side effects of unneeded interventions.

Learn more about about The Official Lamaze Guide from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin

The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (3rd edition, 2008), by Penny Simkin.

Though directed to birth companions, this excellent guide can help pregnant women prepare for birth.

Learn more about about The Birth Partner from Amazon best pregnancy books


Effects of Maternity Interventions, Making Informed Decisions


A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth

 A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy & Childbirth (3rd edition, 2000), by Murray Enkin, Marc J.N.C. Keirse, James Neilson, Caroline Crowther, Lelia Duley, Ellen Hodnett and Justus Hofmeyr.

Widely-respected and -consulted overview of best research evidence. Complete (and free) online version is available from Childbirth Connection on this website.

Learn more about about A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy & Childbirth from this website best pregnancy books

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (1999), by Henci Goer.

Identifies concerns with applying labor and birth technologies developed for special circumstances to healthy birthing women, based on extensive review of medical research. Includes many practical tips for making decisions and reaching goals.

Learn more about about The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth from Amazon best pregnancy books


Cesareans, Cesarean Recovery, and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)


Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions (The Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living) by Nicette Jukelevics

understand ces danger nicette jukelevics cesarean section books
Birthing Normally After a Caesarean or Two: A Guide for Pregnant Women; Exploring Reasons and Practicalities for VBAC (2011), by Hélène Vadeboncoeur.

Part 1 focuses on the decision to plan a vaginal birth after cesarean or to plan a repeat cesarean, and Part 2 focuses on preparing for a safe, successful VBAC.

Learn more about Birthing Normally After a Caesarean or Two from Amazon Buy The Birth Partner, a pregnancy book

Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions (The Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living) by Nicette Jukelevics

understand ces danger nicette jukelevics cesarean section books
Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions (2008), by Nicette Jukelevics.

Has sections on impact of cesarean section on women and babies, common reasons for cesarean, reducing risks for cesarean, and changing the status quo.

Learn more about Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth from Amazon Buy The Birth Partner, a pregnancy book

Cesarean Recovery by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy

Cesarean Recovery (2004), by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy.

Helps with physical and emotional recovery from surgery while in the hospital, during the initial days at home, and over the first six months after birth. Topics include breastfeeding, nutrition and exercise.

Learn more about about Cesarean Recovery from Amazon best pregnancy books


Breastfeeding

 
The Nursing Mother's Companion

The Nursing Mother's Companion (6th edition: 25th Anniversary Edition, 2010), by Kathleen Huggins.

Information, support and practical troubleshooting to help you through all the phases of breastfeeding: planning, first week, first 2 months, months 2-6, months 6-12, and nursing a toddler. With appendices on medication safety and nursing mother resources.

Learn more about about The Nursing Mother's Companion from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Jack Newman

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solution Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America (Revised & Updated Edition, 2006), by Jack Newman and Teresa Pitman.

Breastfeeding support: why breastfeed, how to deal with many specific challenges, how to work breastfeeding into your life.

Learn more about about The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers from Amazon best pregnancy books


New Mothers' Health and Wellness


The Year After Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
The Year After Childbirth (1994), by Sheila Kitzinger.

Support for your physical and emotional well-being, your mothering, and your relationship with others (including any older children and your partner). Helps you get support and care for yourself.

Learn more about about The Year After Childbirth from Amazon best pregnancy books

Mothering the New Mother: Women's Feelings and Needs after Childbirth, a Support and Resource Guide by Sally Placksin

Mothering the New Mother: Women's Feelings and Needs after Childbirth, a Support and Resource Guide (revised and updated 2nd edition, 2000) by Sally Placksin.

Helps you understand the special nature of the postpartum period, get needed support, have a successful breastfeeding experience, recognize and address depression, make the transition back to your employment or settle in at home, and help any older children adjust to your changing family.

Learn more about about Mothering the New Mother from Amazon best pregnancy books

Cesarean Recovery by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy

Cesarean Recovery (2004), by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy.

Helps with physical and emotional recovery from surgery while in the hospital, during the initial days at home, and over the first six months after birth. Topics include breastfeeding, nutrition and exercise.

Learn more about about Cesarean Recovery from Amazon best pregnancy books


Newborn/Infant Health and Well-Being


Your Amazing Newborn by Marshall H. Klaus and Phyllis H. Klaus

Your Amazing Newborn (1999). Marshall H. Klaus and Phyllis H. Klaus.

Helps you understand and appreciate the exceptional capabilities of newborns, especially as they interact with parents and other family members. Includes many moving photos. See also Amazing Talents of the Newborn, a 30-minute video illustrating highlights from Your Amazing Newborn, (available from Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute).

Learn more about about Your Amazing Newborn from Amazon best pregnancy books
 
The Baby Book by  William Sears and Martha Sears

The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two (revised and updated, 2003), by William Sears and Martha Sears.

Comprehensive overview from preparing for your new baby to newborn care and family adjustment to meeting your baby's nutritional, sleep and emotional needs. Covers infant and toddler development, employment and parenthood, health and safety.

Learn more about about The Baby Book from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Attachment Parenting Book by William Sears and Martha Sears

The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Child (2001), by William Sears and Martha Sears.

Makes the case for the value of a nurturing parenting style emphasizing physical and emotional connection, and provides guidance for parents who choose this path.

Learn more about about The Attachment Parenting Book from Amazon best pregnancy books


Fatherhood


Fathering Right from the Start by Jack Heinowitz

Fathering Right from the Start: Straight Talk about Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond (2001), by Jack Heinowitz.

About fathers' experiences of expectant, new and continuing parenthood. Thoughtful discussion about feelings, involvement, partner and parent relationships, and adapting to changes in family life.

Learn more about about Fathering Right from the Start from Amazon best pregnancy books

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin

The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (3rd edition, 2008), by Penny Simkin.

Wise resource to help your spouse/partner, friend or another companion give you the special and powerful gift of continuous support as you give birth. Includes many labor "comfort measures" and strategies for difficult labors that can make all the difference for you.

Learn more about about The Birth Partner from Amazon best pregnancy books


Survivors of Early Sexual Abuse


When Survivors Give Birth by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus

When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women (2004), by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus.

Helps the many survivors of sexual abuse (and health professionals who work with them) understand how this experience can impact pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum experience and helps them address challenges of childbearing.

Learn more about about When Survivors Give Birth from Amazon best pregnancy books


Loss, Grief, Trauma


Empty Cradle Broken Heart by Deborah L. Davis
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby (revised and expanded edition, 1996), by Deborah L. Davis.

Information, coping strategies and personal stories for bereaved families experiencing loss throughout the childbearing cycle. Covers interaction with and memorializing your baby, emotions and physical recovery, and subsequent pregnancy, birth and parenting.

Learn more about about Empty Cradle, Broken Heart from Amazon best pregnancy books

Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses, by Claudia Panuthos and Catherine Romeo

Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses (1987), by Claudia Panuthos and Catherine Romeo.

Covers with sensitivity the full range of childbearing losses, including infertility, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, traumatic birth, adoption, newborn with disabilities, and sudden infant death syndrome. Includes many personal stories.

Learn more about about Ended Beginnings from Amazon best pregnancy books


Most recent page update: 7/10/2012


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Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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