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The best pregnancy books to read when you’re expecting

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Which books should you read if you’re expecting your first baby? While you’re sure to be getting plenty of advice along the way (of both the sought-out and unsolicited types!), you’ll probably want a reliable source or two from which to seek out your own information as well. We’ve scoured the most popular bookshelves to find what’s highest-rated this year for pregnancy books, and brought you a few of our favorites to consider.

They are:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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This classic New York Times bestseller answers all your questions on pregnancy week by week, putting to rest many of the fears and worries of the newly expecting parent. As you flip through the pages of this iconic book, you’ll understand why it’s been read widely by expecting parents and their partners for over 25 years. Highly recommended for all expecting parents to read, this book has a section on nearly everything pregnancy-related you could imagine, including medications pregnant women can take and those they cannot, pregnancy challenges, nutrition, working out, sex, travel, skin care, all sorts of advice and tips, and a gentle guide on what tests and other types of appointments will be occurring during your pregnancy and when. This is a great resource to read in order to prepare for monthly doctor’s visits and consult for preparing questions for your doctor.

Get What to Expect When You’re Expecting here for $10. (Also available in hard cover, on Kindle, spiral-bound, and on Audible. When ordering be sure to specify that you want the U.S. version rather than UK to avoid confusion).

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

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This book isn’t just about preparing for a new baby; it’s about preparing for and honoring the shift to becoming a mother as well. A comprehensive guide to approaching pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, you’ll find thorough explanations of everything from fertility to conception, finding a doctor, pregnancy by the month and the four stages of labor, testing and potential challenges, relationships with others and possible shifts along the way, different forms of mothering (fostering, surrogacy, etc.), nutrition, how to deal with maternity leave, and much more.

Get your Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama in paperback form here for $20. (Also available on Kindle).

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

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Overcome your fears of pregnancy and childbirth while reading the memoir of a midwife, Peggy Vincent, who has successfully delivered over 3,000 babies. Enjoy the stories of various births and take note of the wisdom accrued along the way. The excitement and joy experienced and shared within these pages are a gift to all new parents, whether they anticipate ever working with a midwife or not.

The Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife discusses the author’s challenges over her career as a midwife, as well as an invitation to parents to participate in the joy of their baby’s birth more intimately. Get your copy in paperback form here for $17. Also available in hard cover and Kindle.

We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook

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Finally, there’s a pregnancy book for dads too! We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook provides all the answers a brand new father needs to participate fully in appointments, understand and help prepare for tests, and feel confident walking each step of the process with his partner.

It also provides a datebook for scheduling appointments, keeping track of milestones, jotting down things to remember each month and questions to remember to ask the doctor during visits or on the phone. Do you anticipate being a caregiver in this child’s life, and being alone part of the time with your child? This book gives you tips on caring for a newborn from taking their temperature to keeping the marriage or other family relationships positive and healthy as the baby grows.

Get your copy of We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook in paperback form here for $10.

The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start

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Not sure what to eat during your pregnancy to keep yourself and your baby healthy? Give this guide a glance! Author and OB/GYN Dr. Jennifer Lang details the importance of top notch eating for two while carrying your precious cargo, and describes how to maintain optimal nutrition, even while having morning sickness and strange cravings.

Try out over 100 simple recipes, created for everyone including vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free preferences. You’ll also get a foreword from world-renowned actor and model Jessica Alba. Try out such mouthwatering treats as pomegranate guacamole, homemade almond butter, vegan banana muffins, Waldorf chicken salad, butternut squash and quinoa salad, and salmon salad and collard wraps. You’ll want to make these dishes well beyond your pregnancy, especially when your baby is old enough to eat at the high chair with a fork and spoon!

Get your copy of The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start here in paperback form for $12. It’s also available on Kindle.

These pregnancy books should give you an idea of where to start your hunt.  Whether it’s the week by week breakdown of what’s developing for your baby and what nutrition is needed most, or a collection of light-hearted success stories on the delivery of healthy babies (even in the midst of the craziest situations!), a guide for the baby’s father on what’s necessary and how he can participate more fully to help things along, or a discussion of what it means to transition from pregnant woman to mother, you’ll find something brilliant and valuable in each one of these books. Perhaps try them all? We think you won’t regret it — you’ll just need to make the time! Which ones do you think you’ll read, or do you have your eye on something else?  Be sure to let us know in the comments below — and tell us all about your most exciting pregnancy and birth experiences!

If pregnancy books are not enough for you, or if you simply want a virtual community to turn to for those endless questions and needed guidance, then check out our favorite Facebook groups for expecting parents.

Editors' Recommendations

KJ Callihan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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