Whether we're looking for sources for stylish maternity clothes or trying to figure out which foods to avoid when pregnant, we often turn to expecting moms when it comes to navigating pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood. After all, who better to provide insight into everything from shopping for bump-friendly outfits to filling a grocery cart with nutrient-rich foods than women who are experiencing it all firsthand?
To gain some much-needed advice for stocking our shelves with insightful reads, we asked nine expecting moms to weigh in on the best pregnancy books of all time. From tried-and-true classics like What to Expect When You're Expecting and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth to more modern takes on parenting like Bringing Up Bébé and Nurture, these are the must-read books moms-to-be swear by.
Ready your Amazon cart—here are the books expecting mothers wholeheartedly recommend.
The talented woman behind the Valleybrink Road, a Los Angeles–based floral design and luxury gifting company, Barrett Prendergast knows a thing or two about being a mom with a young son and another baby on the way.
"I love Erica's thoughtful and flexible approach to pregnancy and motherhood. It is not just one way or the highway, which I really appreciate. She makes you feel confident about your journey and the choices you are making," says Prendergast.
"This book was everything when I had my son Costa. Something would be going on or he would be fussing for no reason, and I would turn to the book. Inevitably, it would reassure me that it was totally normal and that he was going through a natural phase of development. It really offers so much relief for first-time moms," recommends Prendergast.
"I feel like nourishing the mom back to health after the delivery is often an afterthought. But really, it is so important. This book offers recipes and tips for moms to replenish and recharge during those first few weeks after delivery," praises Prendergast.
"I actually have gone quite natural and hippy in my readings," confessed expecting mom-to-be Morgan Bogle, the founder of Freedom of Animals, a company dedicated to producing beautifully simple vegan handbags, when we asked her to weigh in on the best pregnancy books of all time.
"This book is a classic and is a very positive read. For me, aiming to have a natural childbirth is important, and this book is full of positive and loving stories of so many women who were able to comfortably deliver in the most natural way they could. Reading it helps ease fears and anxiety around giving birth and reminds me that being pregnant is a natural and normal thing to go through," says Bogle.
"This website and audio download are a really nice addition to my day-to-day, with calming meditations and a really lovely woman walking you through normal thoughts, feelings, and anxieties. I think the goal is to help you meditate and breathe through contractions and birth and keep you calm leading up to the big day! I put it on in the morning and at night and I almost instantly feel relaxed," explains Bogle.
There are "a handful of books I can recommend, which I have relied on throughout my pregnancy for education and inspiration," Katie Bihl says enthusiastically when we reached out for her go-to reads. Keep scrolling to see the founder of the lifestyle blog The Style Riot's pick.
"The books I've read while pregnant include Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method, Supernatural Childbirth, and my all-time favorite natural pregnancy bible: Mama Natural by Genevieve Howland. Not only did I read the paperback version, but I downloaded the audiobook as well and listened week by week to the encouraging, evidence-based, and relevant material, which I easily applied to my life—things like drinking red raspberry leaf tea (a natural uterine tonic) after the first trimester, and eating six dates a day leading up to my due date to help ease and shorten labor.
I learned questions to ask my doctor and became confident with my decision to have an out-of-hospital birth at a freestanding birth center attended by certified nurse-midwives! I recommend this book to any newly pregnant mama, whether or not she leans on the crunchy or more traditional side," says Bihl.
We must admit that we've been longtime admirers of style blogger Jenny O'Brien, so when we found out she was expecting her second child in March, we just knew we had to pick her brain for pregnancy book recommendations.
"What to Expect When You're Expecting is a must read. Pregnancy can be intimidating with your body changing so rapidly, but this book breaks down pretty much everything you need to know about what's to come. It definitely gave me peace of mind," says O'Brien.
Chicago-based interior designer Claire Staszak is known for her holistic approach to home design, so we couldn't wait to find out which books she's turned to as an expecting mom-to-be. Ahead she shares the three books that are on her nightstand right now.
"Great With Child is a unique collection of letters between a new mom and her friend who is pregnant for the first time. Very poetic and real, it offers insight into the daily life of motherhood while also elevating the beauty and wonder of raising a small child," explains Staszak.
"The Birth Partner is an excellent read for both you and your support person, partner, etc. Complete with illustrations, charts, and lots of helpful information, this book will help you prepare for labor and learn more about the anatomy of your body," recommends Staszak.
"Bringing Up Bebe is a cheeky read about the wisdom of French parenting and one American writer's experience mothering abroad in France. I found it very insightful and thought-provoking," says Staszak.
"My favorite pregnancy book is Cherish the First 6 Weeks by Helen Moon. This book is perfect for a new parent like myself. It takes you through the first six weeks and recommends things to help get your baby on a sleeping and feeding schedule right off the bat. It talks you through basic baby needs, which makes you feel more confident after reading. A must-read if you're feeling a little overwhelmed on what to do once your baby is home with you," endorses Harmeyer.
Houston-based lifestyle blogger Shay Sweeney is expecting her third child this year, and she recommends one laugh-out-loud book to get any expecting mama through pregnancy.
"My favorite pregnancy book by far is Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. It is an older book, but it definitely still applies to what women go through throughout pregnancy. The book puts a comical twist on everything that we go through during pregnancy and made me have a little sigh of relief that I am not the only person who has morning sickness, feels tired, and has random painful moments. The book even talks about sex, which can be the most uncomfortable topic of them all during pregnancy. The book makes you feel as if you are reading something from your best friend and makes every pregnancy topic feel okay," says Mone.
Chicago native Katie Cassman covers topics ranging from style and home to travel on her eponymous blog. When it comes to required reading, Cassman confesses that she turned to one (very French) parenting book when she was pregnant.
"This was the only parenting book I wanted to finish while pregnant. I loved the author's take on motherhood, while not fully losing yourself in all that comes with raising children. The book reads like a fictional novel while being entertaining and offering sound advice. Plus, don't the French always do it better?" says Cassman.
When we're in search of outfit inspiration, we often turn to Brianna Boylston, the found of the lifestyle blog Art of Style. So when we found out she was pregnant, we wanted to pick this stylish mama's brain for reading recommendations stat.
"Ina May's Guide to Childbirth has been my favorite pregnancy read thus far. It is full of inspiring birth stories and provides moms-to-be with invaluable information to assist them in deciding which type of birth is right for them. This book left me feeling empowered and confident in my ability to have a positive birth experience, regardless of what may happen," says Boylston.