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Pregnancy Book Reviews

Pregnancy Book Reviews

When I was pregnant with Luke, I read everything I could get my hands on.  I wanted to know what to expect and how to create the best possible environment for my baby.  And I was in luck because there are a ton of pregnancy books out there.  Some of them are really great and some are absolutely terrible.  One of the first books I picked up was the classic What to Expect When Your Expecting.  That’s the one you always see in movies and you just assume you’re supposed to read.  My advice to you is not to bother with this book.  It did have some good advice but it was presented in such a negative way that it made me feel like pregnancy was a disease.  It also used so many scare tactics it creates a sense of paranoia that you can’t do or eat anything without consulting a doctor first.  There are much better options available!  On the other end of the spectrum, I also read Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra which was an equally difficult read but for totally different reasons.  It was focused on the mind, body, spirit aspect of childbirth and just got too mystical for my taste.  I already know pregnancy is beautiful, thank you.  I’m looking for real life pregnancy tips, not philosophy about the miracle of life from a dude who’s never carried a child…

So I continued reading and eventually found some real winners.  My favorites have a holistic spin but are full of practical, common sense advice.  Here are reviews for my top three:

The Whole Pregnancy Handbook by Joel M. Evans:

This book strikes a good balance between a holistic and a medical approach to pregnancy.  It was written by a classically trained obstetrician who evolved into practicing integrative medicine.  It’s a comprehensive book that’s based on science but still honors women and the natural process of childbirth.  The book addresses a wide variety of topics: preconception health, fertility issues, prenatal care, pregnancy timeline, common issues, prenatal testing, preparing for birth, stages of labor, postpartum and more.  It’s full of Q&A from real moms, specific advice and helpful insight on a ton of different topics.  He comes across as knowledgable and informative without being scary or talking down to you.  For a long time pregnancy and birth were treated as medical events and women were perceived as helpless patients fully dependent on their doctors.  But while doctors are important, Joel quickly recognized that labor is a partnership and moms must be given due respect.  He believes in empowering women to become informed, active participants in their pregnancy and labor.  This book provides a good foundation to help you work together with your doctor (or midwife), to understand what’s happening in your body and how to listen to your bodies cues.  This education takes a lot of the fear out of pregnancy.  It’s helpful, well researched and reassuring.  I’d recommend this book to almost anyone.

Further information on Amazon:


The Official Lamaze Guide by Judith Lothian and Charlotte DeVries

I thought Lamaze was just funny breathing.  I had no idea that it encompassed an entire philosophy of childbirth.  Had I not received this book as a gift, I probably wouldn’t have looked at it twice, and I would have missed a really good book.  Fortunately I did read it and recommend it highly.  Lamaze believes that birth is normal, natural and healthy.  It’s critical of today’s birthing culture that overuses medical interventions and downplays women’s intuitive wisdom about birth and motherhood.  This book is full of research, statistics and testimonials that explain the risks of unnecessary interventions and the benefits of natural birth.  It’s tone is encouraging and positive.  It normalizes the birthing process and gives you confidence that your body is built to give birth – you have what it takes to give birth simply and naturally.  Covered topics include the history of childbirth, changes you’ll experience during pregnancy, how to choose a caregiver, creating a birth plan,  preparing for labor, welcoming your newborn, etc.  It’s loaded with practical tips, advice and stories from real moms.  This is a refreshing and empowering book.  If you’re considering natural childbirth, it’s a must read.  However, any mom to be can benefit from this education and the message that we are strong, capable women.

Further information on Amazon:


The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm

This book caters to women who want to have as natural a pregnancy as possible.  It gives good information about what to expect during pregnancy and ways to naturally promote good health for you and your growing baby.  She occasionally goes off on some hippi-ish tangents that not everyone will relate to but for the most part it’s really good.  The first half of the book focuses on the importance of nutrition, herbs, exercise and rest during pregnancy.  She also discusses the physical and emotional changes that take place.  The second half of the book I found more helpful.  It provides a guide to common pregnancy issues such as morning sickness, minor illnesses, stretch marks, etc.  She discusses each issue and gives recommendations about how to address each issue naturally.  Most recommendations include foods, herbs and/or lifestyle advice that will help your situation.  This book has the most extensive information on herbs of any that I read, a topic that is glossed over or left out of many pregnancy books.  It included herbal recommendations (and contraindications) for general pregnancy well being as well as common issues.  If you’re interested in using herbs and natural remedies during pregnancy, this is a helpful read.  Otherwise I’d stick to the previous books listed above.

Further information on Amazon:


For reviews of other books I love (and have learned a lot from!), click here:

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