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Finding out you’re pregnant for the first time can be filled with many mixed emotions. Both you and your significant other can expect to feel anything from excitement to fear, confusion, love and anxiety, sometimes all at once and even a couple times a day.

The best way to manage these emotions is to read and get educated on what to expect during your pregnancy. Many first-time mothers have said reading certain books on pregnancy and what to expect, made them feel anxious and unprepared for the journey ahead. Through my research, I can understand why many women feel that way. There are multiple books out there that speak too clinically to the reader, so the reader feels talked down to. Some authors may also offer a biased opinion on a specific subject on pregnancy that can make the reader feel uncomfortable or uncertain as to whether they got all the facts. There are also many soon-to-be fathers, who have had a difficult time finding helpful reading material to support their mixed emotions and need for direction, before their first child is born. While there are many books written on the topic of pregnancy, how to get pregnant, preparing for the birthing process, and the adjustment period once the baby is born, here are five books that have a good mix of hard facts, humor, compassion and a dose of reality.

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who are Parents too by Roger W. Harms M.D.

This book is unlike any other pregnancy related book you will read, because doctors and nurses, who also happen to be parents, authored it. While the book is written with some scientific jargon, don’t take this to mean the author is being condescending; they are merely trying to give you all the facts on how to handle your three trimesters, how to change your eating habits in order to nurture your developing child’s body and brain, appropriate exercises to manage your weight gain while keeping yourself and your baby healthy, and most importantly the book displays charts that illustrate signs and symptoms to watch out for and how to handle them. Many readers have also enjoyed the series of “decision guides,” which discuss the dilemma of whether or not to breastfeed, the decision to circumcise, and when is it appropriate to go back to work once your child is born.


The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths by Susan Magee and Kara Nakisbendi M.D. (Contributor)

This book is for first-time mothers, who want to get the facts without all the fluff. Magee is great at explaining the trials of pregnancy in a realistic manner. For example, she explains the first trimester as being hard-hard, the second is hard and the end is hard. She also isn’t afraid to answer questions some mothers are afraid to ask including dealing with varicose veins, what to cut down on eating or drinking during your pregnancy, when to stop air travel, how to sleep comfortably and safely for yourself and baby, to not worry to much if you don’t feel emotionally attached to your baby in the first couples weeks or months after you give birth, and to not freak out when breastfeeding is difficult for the first month and much more. Magee also delves into positive ways to interact with your significant other during stressful moments. This book doesn’t have all the answers, however, it is full of encouraging wisdom rooted in scientific facts, and great humorous moments along the way.


The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts by William and Martha Sears, Linda Holt (Contributor) and BJ Snell (Contributor)

For women who are interested in the latest super foods and health crazes, here is a book that gives you authoritative facts on how to workout when you’re pregnant, how to manage stress, sleep, the super foods every pregnant woman should consume, choosing the right healthcare provider and birth plan, plus, personal pregnancy and birth stories too. The authors of The Healthy Pregnancy Book have years of experience in the medical and nutrition profession. William Sears has practiced pediatrics for over 40 years and is an associate clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Martha Sears is a registered nurse and parenting and health consultant. This is one of 30 books the Sears have published. They understand the hormone swings pregnant women go through, and keep the tone of the writing positive and uplifting, in order to make the process of pregnancy fun for their readers. They even offer cute baby bubbles with little factoids to make you smile with every page you read.


From Dude to Dad: The Diaper Dude Guide to Pregnancy by Chris Pegula, creator of Diaper Dude and Frank Meyer

Women aren’t the only ones who need guidance, first-time dads also need advice on everything from getting pregnant, how to manage their emotions and their significant others emotions too once they become pregnant, what to expect over the next nine months and other parenting advice. I applaud the author for being bold and hilarious in his writing. Pegula lays the facts and emotions of pre-fatherhood on the line. This book has already received 23 five-star reviews from Amazon since its 2014 release. Men who have read this book said they read this book cover-to-cover, and loved how much Pegula made them laugh, and how the tone of the book made them feel at ease about fatherhood. The chapters follow in a similar humorous fashion including chapters titled Dude, your life isn’t over, Ultrasound- the must-see movie of the year, Your role during labor, Baby-proofing and It’s all about we, not me.


Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin

If you’re interested in having a natural birth, you will love reading this book by Ina May Gaskin, the nations leading midwife. Gaskin has been a midwife for over 30 years, and she draws from her personal experiences to write this compelling childbirth book. She understands the fears some mothers have of natural childbirth, and she is great at putting those types of readers at ease, by showing the reader how to trust their body and the joys of natural childbirth that many women have experienced since the beginning of time. Some topics Gaskin covers in the book are the importance of mind-body connection during the birthing process, what really happens during labor, reducing the pain of labor without drugs but with massage and touch instead, the risks of anesthesia and cesareans that your doctors won’t always tell you, how to avoid postpartum bleeding and depression, and how to create a safe, comfortable environment for birth in any setting, including a hospital.

I hope you enjoyed the short synopses of these books, and hopefully it has inspired you to pick one or even all of them up, so you can get educated about your exciting pregnancy journey ahead.