10 Great Baby Books Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Read

Pregnancy is one of the most special times in the life of any woman.  Her body goes through a myriad of changes–a full-on, non-stop  package of changes for 9 months.

It comes with both anxiety and the unbounded joy of bringing forth a fresh new life into this world.  We also find out the growing discomfort of all the body changes presents an additional set of challenges throughout the pregnancy.

No woman will forget these 9 months of her life  ( I know I never will!),  no matter how many times she goes through it.  This can also be a time filled with questions, anxiety, and nervousness for the father-to-be.  So what’s the best way to deal with all these changes to your physical and emotional body?  The answer is simple: Information.  You’ll want to be backed with all the information and support you can get.  Now, the online revolution has made everything, including pregnancy information, very “digital”.  But I’m still going to say, nothing can beat a good old book, packed with wisdom and advice of childbearing.  So grab a copy, curl up with your partner, and settle down for a peaceful evening with two steaming mugs of coffee  (decaf, of course for the mom to be)!

To help you with some great information, we’ve put together our Lil’ Baby Cakes list of the 10 great pregnancy bestsellers (definitely not to be missed):

1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi E. Murkoff

What to Expect When Your Expecting

This one just had to make it to the top of our list.  It’s a book for the new moms of the new era.  It’s THE most thorough pregnancy book written in a friendly voice.  Dozens of questions like week-by-week fetal growth, pre-conception, and carrying multiples are answered.  Even issues with current trends in lifestyle like belly piercings, tattooing, and aromatherapy, are discussed in relation to your growing baby.

2. Your Pregnancy Bible by Anne Deans

Your Pregnancy Bible

It’s been around for years, and now it’s available in a new and revised version! It’s been written by an accomplished team of specialists and is filled with basically ALL that parents-t-be need to know – from the first trimester right down to the birth and care of your beloved newborn.  Emma’s Diary calls it, “The most comprehensive pregnancy manual on the market.”

3. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Lovine

Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy

In this one, the gun-loving author shares with her readers her personal experiences with pregnancy and also relays parts of her friends’ pregnancies. Definitely a good read if you’re looking for something a little toned down, yet still informative. She believes the best way a woman can learn and cope with all the challenges that come with pregnancy is through a fellow woman who has gone through the same process. Any questions an expectant mother may have from morning sickness to tender breasts have been answered.

4. Maitland Maternity by Marisa Carroll

Maitland Maternity

This is a fictitious and exciting story about a a mother and her pursuits for love. If you’re looking for a change from the regular informational tone, you should try this novel.  It tells the tale of a stubborn protagonist who ignores letters and heartfelt mementoes from a mother who gave her and her brothers and sisters up to adoption, 25 years too late. Simultaneously, Lana’s tribulations with raising her child with a foreign lover teach her how the decisions made in love aren’t necessarily easy all the time.

5. Baby 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Brown M.D.

Baby 411

This book is in its’ 4th printing. It contains over 500 pages of useful information to guide the new mom in the care of the newborn . Tips about health, sleep, and nutrition are covered using a question and answer format which makes it easy to maneuver through the book and pick out the most timely topics. You’ll keep this as a ready reference as you begin the transition from being pregnant to becoming a mom. Lastly, the book features a decent glossary of terms and some reference pages that contain growth charts and additional recommended reading material.

6.  Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy

Belly Laughs

You’ll simply adore this Jenny’s tone of writing. Fun, yet jam-packed with everything you need to know about pregnancy and child birth. Furthermore, this book has made it possible for women to discuss issues problematic issues such as hemorrhoids and bowel movements that occur during childbirth. Such topics have always been left unspoken in the dark ages, as it was not “lady like” or proper.

7.  The Pregnancy Journal; a Day-to-Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy by A. Christine Harris

The Pregnancy Journal

This book gives mothers the opportunity to write down their experiences right from conception to birth. You get to see the physical changes as well as those of the unborn baby on a daily basis. I know women have different opinions about keeping a journal so this may not be the best choice for everyone. But for me, I personally think over the years, this can be a timeless resource to go back and read to revisit some years down the road.

8.  The Bloke’s Guide to Pregnancy by Jon Smith

Bloke's Guide to Pregnancy

Finally something for our expecting daddy! If you or your partner are looking for some information and advice from a male point of view, this is your book. It’s been based on real-life stores and interviews from more than a 100 fathers. It’s going to teach the father-to-be what to expect, how to deal with it, and maybe even love the experience along the way.

9.  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

In this book, Ina May Gaskin, one of America’s top midwives, shares with you all the hidden secrets and wisdom relating to childbirth. Sharing a treasure box full of information that only comes from 3 full decades of experience, Ina gently takes you through everything from why the natural birth method is preferred to realizing the beauty of the experience. It tells you the true facts about what happens during labor and gives you invaluable tips. If you’re looking for those things your doctor didn’t necessarily tell you, this is a must-read.

10.  What to Eat When You’re Expecting by Dr Rana Conway

What to Eat When You're Expecting

With the help of this book, women learn more about the best foods to eat during pregnancy, not only better for her, but also to the advantage of the unborn baby. I know that nutrition can be hard to focus on when your body is doing “flip-flops” all the time but with some effort this book can really help with a critical part of your pregnancy.

I hope that these fantastic top-selling pregnancy reads help you and your partner to make your pregnancy journey as smooth and easy as possible. Maybe your favorite book is not on the list. If not, feel free to add a comment with your favorite and let’s make this post grow to be a resource for all the new moms-to-be out there. I know I had plenty of resources to read when I was pregnant, so I wanted to at least try to offer a starting list based on today’s most popular reads. Happy reading!

Third Trimester Pregnancy Tips: What to Take in Your Hospital Bag

Getting Ready for Baby
Getting Ready for Baby

As your third trimester rolls around and your due date gets closer and closer, you need to start thinking about packing your hospital bag for the birth of your baby. It is important that you do this early enough as it is possible that you may go into labor a few weeks before your actual due date. Here is a list of items that I came up with that you should pack in your hospital bag so that you are prepared to welcome your little one into the world.

Camera – You don’t want to miss having pictures of the big event. Also be sure to pack an extra set of batteries for your camera as they always seem to go dead at the most convenient times.

Clothes For You – Some hospitals allow you to wear your own clothing while others will only have you wear the gowns with a robe. Be sure to bring along comfortable clothing such as pajama pants, sweatpants, t-shirts, and sweatshirts, as you are not going to be wanting to wear any tight or restricting clothing. Don’t forget plenty of undergarments and socks as well. You will also need clothes to wear home when you are discharged from the hospital. You will still be in maternity clothes, so don’t try to bring your regular clothes as they may not fit and leave you frustrated.

Going Home Outfit For Baby – Choose a cute outfit or sleeper for baby to go home from the hospital in. It is a good idea to have a newborn size as well as 0-3 months size to choose from. If it cold outside, be sure to include a coat or blanket to cover baby up with.

Toiletries – After giving birth most women like to be able to shower to freshen up and get a little rejuvenated. Remember to bring shower supplies and other toiletries as well.

Snacks – You don’t want to have to rely on the hospital to provide you with food, especially since you get quite hungry after giving birth. Pack a few healthy snacks for you and your partner.

Car Seat – Although you can’t pack this in your bag it should be installed in the car and ready to go as a hospital will not release a baby unless you have a car seat.

Some other items to include in your bag are:

  • address book
  • cell phone
  • insurance paperwork and cards
  • change for vending machines
  • slippers
  • hat for baby (if not provided by hospital)
  • baby blanket
  • cord blood kit

If you follow these tips you should be all set when it’s time to leave for the hospital.  Maybe you have some other ideas to share.  Feel free to leave your comments so that others readers can benefit .

9 Months Pregnant: The Home Stretch

Youre Almost There
You're Almost There

The 9th Month!

There are a few ways to look at the ninth month of pregnancy. First, just think…you’re almost done! This is, by far, one of the most comforting thoughts of childbirth, so celebrate knowing that you have made it this far. Another way to look at the ninth month is through the eyes of a new parent. Pretty soon, you will have the most euphoric feeling of joy that may ever have in your life when you see and hold your baby for the first time. Positively magical is the best way to explain that feeling. Having gone through this with my two boys I can say it is like no other experience in life.

Finally, there is the…”Oh my gosh, what have I done, what am I going to do, and what in the world is going on with my body” feeling that you are almost sure to experience…especially if this is your first child. But, stay positive, stay focused, and stay calm. You will make it through this. Here are some things that you can expect during this third, and final, trimester.

You doctor will most likely want you to start making weekly visits for your prenatal check-ups. This is a great time to ask any questions or share any concerns that you may have. Your doctor will check your abdomen, as more attention is going to be paid to how the baby is presenting (whether head up or head down) and the baby’s position (whether facing front or back). These could be significant factors in determining whether you will be able to have a vaginal birth or whether you should consider having a Cesarean section. Either way, your doctor will be instrumental in helping you to make a decision that will work best for you and your baby. He will also check the baby’s heart rate. Of course, your urine, blood pressure, blood (for low iron/anemia), and steadily climbing weight, will be checked also. Expect for him or her to examine you for signs of vaginal infection, also. Your practitioner should be a key supporter for you. In these final days before baby, your doctor will also check for any pre-labor symptoms, such as a thinning cervix, that could require you to go on bed rest or, even, get admitted to prepare to have the baby. Do your best not to get alarmed or stressed out as you go through these final exams. Many are simply routine and will give your practitioner the information that they need to be handle your pregnancy.

You may have also been wondering what those infamous contractions would feel like. Now’s your chance to find out. You should be getting your fair share of the pre-labor kind called Braxton Hicks contractions. This is a tightening of the uterus similar to the contractions of labor. However, truth be told, these are just the “prep” contractions. The real ones will be much more intense and will last longer. They will also be instrumental in the movement of your baby. While they will most likely be painful, take some comfort in knowing your body knows what it is doing. It needs those contractions to bring forth your little darling. So, don’t fret. Despite the discomfort, they are a very good thing!

Your weight may increase a bit in these last few weeks. (I know you are probably tired of this part of your pregnancy as well. I know I was) When it is all said and done, your baby bump will typically increase your weight by twenty to thirty-five pounds. After your delivery, much of that extra weight will be gone, as the baby and amniotic sack are significant contributors to that weight gain.

As the time nears, you may experience edginess, moodiness, disturbed sleep (just your body getting your ready for what is to come), back pains, and, of course, fatigue. Try to keep moving. Prenatal exercise, even if you do just a little walking, can help your body to better handle the changes of labor and delivery. Since we are in the middle of the summer here is a link for some tips to help with summer time pregnancy.

By the end of this period, your baby will be fully developed. Things are bit cramped in your uterus at this point, so your baby may move a little less than before. Baby will have times when he or she is sleeping like a little angel, and other times when you will feel lots of thumps and bumps. I remember laying in bed at night marveling at the movement of my boys. It’s really amazing.

Most likely, your baby is starting to have his own sleep pattern now. Baby is just as ready as you are (actually it is usually the other way around when you are late!), and will slip into position in your lower abdominal area. So, you should expect to feel an additional heaviness in your pelvic area. Just think, your baby will be as happy to see you as you are to see him or her. The instant connection that will happen is absolutely magical when you first meet. If you plan to nurse your baby you may be given the opportunity to start nursing shortly after the baby is born. You will be completely amazed at how fast your baby learns to nurse.

The home stretch is here. Relax. Believe that you can do it and let your body do the rest. Whether natural or cesarean, your baby will be here before you know it. Be confident. Your child knows nothing about anyone else, but you. You will be the best mom!  You have so much to offer a baby, and now is the time to accept, celebrate, and marvel at this beautiful new life!

Prepare as best you can for your little one. Pack for the hospital visit for both of you. This will be the first of the thousands of times that you will pack for your child! Your baby will need clothing, blankets, and a car safety seat for the trip home. Also, make the finishing touches in the nursery. But, if you can’t get to everything, don’t worry. Your baby will not really notice that there are only two shelves instead of three or that the lamp is two shades darker than the paint. As long as your baby has a safe bassinet and crib, love and attention, your child will feel right at home.

You’re almost there. Before you know it you’ll be a new mom. Let me be one of the first to congratulate you on the upcoming birth of your baby.