When I found out I was pregnant, I didn't really know what to do with myself. As someone who likes to be prepared and avoid procrastination, the first few weeks of pregnancy are tough. There are so many risks during the first couple of months, and I didn't want to get ahead of myself until I was fairly confident that I would have a healthy pregnancy. I used the time to read up on the months ahead. These were the books I found most helpful.
Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy - This book was both informative and humorous (as in laugh out loud funny). I read this book within the first week of having a positive pregnancy test. It was the perfect first read because it gets into the nitty-gritty, non-medical aspects of pregnancy but is lighthearted enough to not completely freak out a fragile, newly pregnant mama. When I started cracking up in laughter at part of the book and then immediately started sobbing, it confirmed my pregnancy test. The tears lasted for a solid 10 minutes, and I was grateful nobody was home except for the dog, who didn’t seem concerned about the outburst.
What to Expect When You're Expecting - This is the most comprehensive guide to explaining symptoms and the baby's development on my list, and it breaks down pregnancy month by month. There are also “For Dad” tips sprinkled throughout, and I conveniently leave those pages open for Jay to see, especially ones like “be patient when your partner is cranky” and “help out with more household chores.” While I've skimmed the entire book, I'm reading each chapter month by month because there are a LOT of details. I wish they would redesign the cover to something a little less loud, but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover.
Bringing up Bebe - Written by Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist, who delivers and raises three children in Paris, this book provided a perspective into French parenting. It explains the French healthcare and childcare systems, but it also gives insight into how French parenting techniques lead to kids sleeping through the night, having adventurous tastes, and directing themselves in play. There are definitely some techniques I plan to use, and it was interesting to think about the cultural and behavioral differences between American and French families.
Expecting Better - Being pregnant for the first time, I wasn't sure what pregnancy "rules" I needed to follow. I'd heard that I should avoid cheese and lunch meat, give up my morning cup of coffee, and avoid taking medicine. Luckily my doctor is pretty laid back and gave me a fairly short list of off-limit items and recommendations. However, I didn't want to do anything that might cause harm. This book is written by an economist who digs deep into conventional pregnancy wisdom and uses evidence-based research to break down the real risks of "off limit" items and different medical tests and practices. While it wasn't the most fun book to read, it did put me at ease. Essentially, you can continue drinking your morning coffee, but don't smoke or do drugs.
Let's be honest, you can read hundreds of pregnancy and child-rearing books, and learn something new with each one. There were a couple more books that I read and still more that were recommended to me, but I honestly got burnt out on reading pregnancy books. After reading these and talking with my doctor, my mom, and girlfriends, I feel like I have a good handle on what's to come. I do have a two more books that I plan to read in my third trimester to prepare for the first few months of motherhood. These come highly recommended by some of my girlfriends.
Do you have any pregnancy or parenting books that are must-reads?