There is nothing quite like pregnancy to bring families together, test a marriage and discover the depth of love a mother has for her child. Our bodies go through massive changes that require surges of hormones to create this tiny new life inside. We grow a placenta which is the only temporary organ we have, and it is vital to the life of our unborn baby. We grow an umbilical cord which connects us to our baby and through which baby receives all the nourishment he or she needs to grow and thrive. Somehow our bodies know exactly what is needed to produce a perfectly healthy little baby⎯taking what is needed from our diet and natural reserves without actually depleting those reserves.
While pregnancy is amazing and definitely a unique experience, it can also be very overwhelming and⎯at times⎯scary. Advances in modern medicine have improved over the years, making some of the worst case scenarios much less likely to occur. We do still need to be on the look-out for signs of those worst-case scenarios while watching what we eat, do and don’t do. And some of us go on bed-rest as well which leaves us with a lot of time on our hands. For all of these situations, books come to the rescue. We can look up just about anything in books, and we can read them to while away the time waiting for baby to arrive. If anyone gets too irritating, we can say we are doing research or throw the book at them. It’s a win-win for us.
What To Expect When You’re Expecting
Almost every pregnant woman and her partner will pick up this book at least once throughout the course of the pregnancy. It is often called the “Bible of pregnancy” and with good reason. Within these pages is an amount of information that rivals the Internet⎯from normal pregnancy woes like morning sickness and swollen ankles to more concerning things like bed-rest and unexpected bleeding. The information provided is given in a calm and direct manner without opinions which can sway us in our hormonal state.
For those of us looking into a homebirth rather than a hospital birth, we will get the impression that this book is all for hospital births with no exceptions. We can just skim over those parts if we are already set on a home birth. For some readers, this book will come across as too dry to read straight through. Keeping it as a reference book and looking up certain topics rather than reading the whole thing will work much better. Once we are finished, we can look up the sequels and continue the research if we like⎯or get the fancy pregnancy journal to help us record everything that is happening during these brief months.
What To Expect: What To Eat When You’re Expecting
Eating is one of the most important things we will be doing while pregnant. Once we are finished with the horrible stage of morning sickness and can actually keep food down, the sky is almost the limit for what we can eat. Contrary to popular pregnancy myths, we don’t actually need to eat for two. With each trimester there is a certain number of calories needed and it isn’t as much as we’d think.
One of the main pieces of advice this book gives us is to eat when we are hungry. Our appetite will naturally increase as the pregnancy progresses. It also teaches us about which foods will pack the most punch in our day to day life to help get baby the most from each meal. And finally, there are loads of delicious recipes in here that should tantalize just about anyone. From smoothies to snacks and full meals, there is something for everyone here, and each recipe can be easily tweaked to suit different lifestyles and allergies. If, for example, we can’t have the smoothie with dairy in it, we can substitute almond or coconut milk with no problem.
What To Expect When You’re Expected
Want a break from all the seriousness of being pregnant and growing a baby? Then this book might just be the ticket! Written in a similar vein to the pregnancy essential, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, this book is designed to be from the baby’s perspective and features charts, graphs, side-panels and a Q&A section all for our own amusement as well as a section where baby checks in on other babies in the womb.
Written by David Javerbaum, this book has his signature sense of humor sprinkled throughout. The downside (if anyone was looking for it) is that this book is very profane with plenty of adult language strewn about. Logically, a new baby wouldn’t know any of these words, but sometimes, we don’t need logic in our personal reading space. We just want to relax and laugh a little on this emotional roller coaster ride. And for many of us, this book will do exactly that. Of course, if we are on bed rest and the doctor said we have to limit our excitement, we should probably pick something different, so we don’t end up laughing too hard.
The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having A Baby
If we are tired of all the What To Expect books or the humor in some of the books previously discussed doesn’t attract us, it might be time for a different sense of humor entirely. Pregnancy is one of the human experiences that connect us all⎯regardless of what we believe in. For those of us who identify as Christian, this book will be an extra bonus with plenty of tips for having a godly pregnancy and finding comfort on those dreary morning sickness days or when our backs are aching, and we can’t sleep for more than a compete of hours at a time.
On top of that, author Erin MacPherson has had her own babies and knows from experience what actually happens before, during and after. Her humorous stories and exaggeration of certain pregnancy woes will have us all laughing in a matter of minutes. And we all know that laughter is good medicine. According to GoodReads, “Filled with helpful tips (how do you quell that not-just-in-the-morning sickness?), humorous accounts (doesn’t everyone crave peanut-butter-and-olive sandwiches?), and supportive spiritual advice (what does a godly pregnancy attitude actually look like anyway?).”
What To Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding
From a guy’s perspective, us being pregnant and the impending arrival of fatherhood can be pretty scary. They don’t get to start bonding with baby before the birth quite like we do and they also don’t have to go through all the hormone surges, sleepless nights and intense food cravings. But they do have to supply the menu for those ever-changing food carvings and they do have to endure the wrath or tears or hysterical happiness that we endure. Except that they’re just trying to make us feel better and stay happy but not so happy that we crash again. It can be really exhausting for the soon-to-be new dads. Hence, this book.
If we read it, we can get a better idea of what they are going through on their side of things while if he reads it, he’ll hopefully feel more reassured about everything that is happening. Plus, this book is hilarious, and we all need a little humor with this whole pregnant thing. It helps considerably more than that alcohol we are carving and can’t have. According to GoodReads, “Originally conceived as a little parody, just something funny and helpful for the expectant man, the book is now a classic gift, passed knowingly from one generation of first-time papas to the next.”
201 Organic Smoothies And Juices For A Healthy Pregnancy
Back to food for a minute, one clever and amazing way to sneak in extra nutrients and water (because we need to drink insane amounts of water now) when we are pregnant is to indulge in frequent smoothies. It helps immensely to have a blender or a food processor to make the smoothies. Otherwise, we just have weird tasting water with chunks of stuff floating in it. The second most helpful thing is this book of delicious recipes! There is something here for everyone, whether smoothies are breakfast, lunch or a lovely snack. They are versatile, very forgiving and easy to tweak for personal preference.
On top of that, there are also plenty of fresh juice ideas in here that just might win us over to their lack of alcohol. The best part is that once we have the baby, we can keep making smoothies to boost our milk supply, stay hydrated and sneak extra servings of vegetables in our picky toddler’s daily diet. We can give our children and ourselves these yummy drinks without worrying about additives, preservatives or any hidden sugars and other ingredients because we will know exactly what is in each and every glass.
The Breastfeeding Book
For the brand new mommy out there who has her heart set on breastfeeding her baby, this is the perfect book to get. This is the book of breastfeeding and covers everything we need to know plus extra. From clogged ducts to fertility and toddler nursing, it really does cover everything! Plus, there are photographs and clear pictures to help us get baby latched on properly to avoid strained backs and sore, cracked skin as well as a hungry baby. Of course, breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and about 2% of moms can’t do it⎯as much as we try and strive to do it anyway. And this is perfectly okay.
The point of the matter is that we make an informed decision with our baby’s best interests at heart and if that decision is breastfeeding or formula feeding, we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. According to GoodReads, “Breastfeeding contributes to nurturing a smarter and healthier baby, and a healthier and more intuitive mommy. Isn’t that what every child needs and every parent wants?” This book can and will serve as a great reference, but once that second or third baby rolls around, we likely won’t need it any much. That is when we can give the book new life and pass it onto another brand new mama somewhere.
The Complete Book Of Pregnancy And Childbirth
For those of us not sold on the whole What To Expect franchise but still in need of solid pregnancy information, this is the book for us! The title says complete and it really is. Each month and trimester is covered in detail with tips, facts and photographs, and a whole section on the birth by itself. It is a bit dense with a textbook feel, but once we are in the swing of it, it is pretty easy to read through.
Of course, like most pregnancy books, we can just keep it on hand as a reference and use the index to look up anything that we have questions on. One of the best things about this book is the comfortable writing style used to describe the different types of birth options available to us without pressuring us to pick one over the over. All of the facts are presented and we⎯the person who will actually be giving birth⎯gets to make the final informed decision on what we want. This is the type of attitude we want from all our books when we are pregnant and gearing up to give birth.
Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth
For the reader who might be on the fence about a home-birth or just childbirth in general, thus is a must-read book. While it is written primarily with a homebirth situation in mind, the deeper underlying theme is that our bodies were meant to give birth. If we take away all the fear and superstition around giving birth, we are left with facts and the fact is that women have been giving birth to babies since the dawn of time.
With the advancement of modern medicine combined with ancient wisdom, we have the option of a safe home delivery. There is nothing as soothing as being in the comfort of our own home during a stressful time, and childbirth is often very stressful. Besides, if we are already on the path of organic, all natural and healthy, it makes sense to take the next couple of steps and have a home birth. Regardless, every expectant mother and father should take the time to read the positive birth stories which take up the majority of the book. Doing so will help calm the fears lurking at the back of our minds⎯doubtlessly put there by reading birth horror stories. It is never a good idea to read or listen to birth horror stories with our own story approaching.
What Is Happening In Mommy’s Belly?
Finally, our pregnancy doesn’t just affect us and our spouses⎯it also affects any older children we have. Toddlers by nature are very inquisitive little people and ask tons of questions every day on just about every subject imaginable. So our growing bellies will definitely feature in some of those questions at some point. Most of us will be able to roll with the majority of the questions, but we will all end up with a few sticky ones that we just don’t know how to answer without confusing our toddler or inviting loads more questions that we aren’t fully prepared to answer.
Enter this delightful little book, written specifically with those inquisitive toddlers in mind. This book is designed to answer their questions satisfactorily enough to where there shouldn’t (hopefully) be any more questions. At least, no more on the subject of what is going on with our growing bellies. According to the summary at GoodReads, “There is a baby growing in her belly. That’s right, a baby! It takes a lot of time and work from your mommy, and she might be tired and upset sometimes. That is perfectly normal though, and she is going to be okay.”
Sources: What Is Happening In Mommy’s Belly, What To Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding, The Breastfeeding Book, The Christian Mama’s Guide To Having A Baby, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, What To Expect When You’re Expected, What To Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting, 201 Organic Smoothies And Juices For A Healthy Pregnancy, The Complete Book Of Pregnancy And Childbirth, Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth