Learn about pregnancy symptoms, baby movements and body changes with the best pregnancy books to answer all your questions
Pregnancy is such a miraculous experience. While feeling your bump growing and noticing those first kicks are tremendously precious moments, you’ll likely have many questions and concerns. Your midwife will obviously be your first point of call for professional advice, but an invaluable resource to turn to for all the ins and outs of gestation and postpartum comes in the form of the best pregnancy books for expectant parents.
Uncertainties during pregnancy are common, so preparing for the birth of your child needs a lot of thought and planning. From morning sickness to gestational diabetes, all women will encounter different paths during pregnancy. Speaking with your midwife to discuss your options and coupling this advice with a good book can help you pave a personal experience that leaves you feeling positive and empowered.
So which pregnancy books are the best? From books for first-time mums, to guides about positive birthing, hypnobirthing, home births, water births and the fourth trimester, there’s a huge variety on the market to choose from. We’ve reviewed some of the best pregnancy books around and also provide a brief guide about what to look for when shopping for them.
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Best pregnancy books: At a glance
- Best for first-time mums: The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Marie Louise | £13
- Best for empowering your choices: The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks by Milli Hill | £11
- Best for hypnobirthing: Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better by Siobhan Miller | £8
How to choose the best pregnancy book for you
What topics are covered?
There’s a large range of pregnancy books available on many different subjects. You may be interested in a book focusing on one main topic such as hypnobirthing, or perhaps an all-rounder is more your bag. First-time parents may choose a read covering lots of topics from morning sickness to birthing the placenta, whereas a second-time parent could be looking for something more specific: mental health during pregnancy, for instance, or how to deal with a new baby when you already have other children. The variety of books on the market allows you to browse for specific topics and choose one that caters to your needs.
What are the different formats?
Most pregnancy books come in traditional hardback or paperback print versions and are great for making notes on and putting Post-its in, but a lot of them are also available on an ebook reader, which is light and can be easily transported. Beyond that, pregnancy books are available in a range of writing formats and layouts. Some books are written in a much more formal tone, with a lot of scientific jargon, while others are more conversational and incorporate a friendlier tone. Some provide a detailed index, with lots of subheadings and chapters running throughout making it easier to go back and forth as desired, while others are written more like a novel or memoir.
How much should I spend?
A good book on pregnancy can cost anywhere from £5 to £20. Though first-time parents may feel they need to buy every pregnancy book on the shelf, the good news is that you don’t have to. Choosing one or two that speak to you and your concerns is a good place to start, and you can always add more along the way if you have more queries or other avenues you’d like to explore.
This price will also depend on whether you’re buying the physical copy of the book, or opting for the Kindle or Audiobook version.
How we test pregnancy books
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. So, when it comes to pregnancy books, we read all the books we’re reviewing, taking into account the intended audience and the concepts that are presented in each book. Where a book is recommended for a particular birth type or stage of pregnancy, it is reviewed by an appropriate reader to ensure we’re making an accurate recommendation.
In addition, we consider the topics covered and evaluate the accuracy of the information contained within each book. We also consider how easy the books are to read and understand. Finally, we confirm the length and available formats of each product.
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The best pregnancy books you can buy in 2023
1. The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond by Marie Louise: The best pregnancy book for first-time mums
Price when reviewed: £13 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
Many first-time mums have expressed how much they loved this humourous and relatable book. Written by senior midwife Marie Louise, this well-rounded read has plenty of advice and information on its binge-worthy pages. It features helpful tips and invaluable advice on creating a positive mindset and staying informed on key aspects of care during pregnancy.
It’s an easy read that offers insight not only into pregnancy and birth, but also on those early days of motherhood. This is a great book to help reassure any first-time mum about the subject of labour and any anxiety around the baby’s due date.
Key concept: A guide to support any woman, whether in the first or third trimester, helping to bring the science of pregnancy to real life. Louise covers complex subjects such as the nervous system during pregnancy, the journey a baby takes when passing through the birth canal and anatomical facts on breastfeeding.
Key features – Publisher: Vermillion; Date: 5 March 2020; Length (print): 368 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook
2. The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book (Dr Maggie Blott ed.): The best pregnancy book for daily expectations and personal experiences
Price when reviewed: £25 (hardcover) | Check price at Amazon
Mums-to-be will be left feeling informed and positive after reading this informative book. With a handy reference guide describing everything from emotions during pregnancy to talking about what’s to come, this book is one you’ll turn to again and again throughout those magical nine months. There’s plenty of information on changes to your body, the baby growing inside and a section at the end on the different stages of labour, too.
It’s a colourful read with lots of unique imagery and diagrams, and it also includes helpful tips on meal plans and exercises. We particularly loved that this book is littered with personal stories and experiences, which make it feel a lot more relatable.
Key concept: A non-stop, illustrated pregnancy guide, fully equipped with information from the moment of conception to the first weeks of a newborn’s life.
Key features – Publisher: DK; Date: 1 February 2018; Length (print): 496 pages; Formats: Hardcover, audiobook
3. Brain Health from Birth, by Rebecca Fett: The best pregnancy book to support the wellbeing of baby and you
Price when reviewed: £13 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
To feel more empowered during pregnancy, and to ensure that you’re really taking your pregnancy into your own hands, read this book by Rebecca Fett. You and your partner will have a better understanding of your baby’s brain development during pregnancy, alongside many other issues from the use of vitamins right through to your baby’s first year.
The author also shares her knowledge on the importance of the essential nutrient choline during pregnancy, and other subjects including diet, supplements, toxin reductions, day-to-day care and breastfeeding. Parents felt that the information and statistics provided in this book are ones that are not widely discussed elsewhere, making this a unique read.
Key concept: Scientific research covering practical, evidence-based recommendations and advice from paediatricians and obstetricians, on everything you can do during pregnancy and the first year.
Key features – Publisher: Franklin Fox; Date: 27 August 2019; Length (print): 306 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook
4. The Positive Birth Book, by Milli Hill: The best pregnancy book for empowering your choices
Price when reviewed: £11 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
A lot of pregnant women, especially first-time mums, can feel isolated and unable to make choices for their growing and changing body. Encouraging women to acknowledge and use their voice is imperative, and even more so during pregnancy. Author Milli Hill breaks all those barriers down in her positive birthing book and totally changes the narrative of the approach to birth.
This is a warm, informative and funny read that’s designed to help you understand the process and journey of pregnancy, in order to help you have as positive an experience as possible. From the questions to ask the medical professionals looking after you, to what medical interventions might be available, this book will leave you feeling more confident about your body choices in a world that can sometimes feel too systemised.
Key concept: Positive birthing, hypnobirthing, information to help mothers understand the process of pregnancy and how to make their own choices.
Key features – Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd; Date: 16 March 2017; Length (print): 320 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook
5. Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways To Make Your Birth Better, by Siobhan Miller: The best pregnancy book for hypnobirthing
Price when reviewed: £8 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
Hypnobirthing has been around for over 30 years, with methods and techniques evolving over time. Plenty of women swear by this movement, with some even claiming that childbirth can be euphoric. Whatever your journey into motherhood, this book on hypnobirthing is a great read and can apply to all types of births. It’s a fun, informative read that touches on, among other things, the science behind labour.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about it all, joining the hypnobirthing club could be the way to make you feel more confident, and possibly even excited, about giving birth. Whether you choose to embark on a hypnobirthing journey or not, this book provides a lot of advice for you and your birth partner to help each other feel relaxed and supported during the stages of labour. This is also one of those books that you’ll want to gift to all your pregnant friends after reading it.
Key concept: A form of antenatal education; an informative guide to hypnobirthing with evidence-based examples and logic to change the birthing approach and experience.
Key features – Publisher: Piatkus; Date: 4 April 2019; Length (print): 272 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook
6. Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan, by Rebecca Schiller: The best pregnancy book for reassuring, unbiased advice
Price when reviewed: £15 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
If simplicity is what you’re looking for, this book is broken down into three simple sections: Pregnancy, Birth and Afterwards. Let’s face it, up-to-date, unbiased information and advice is what mums-to-be crave the most during pregnancy, and this book provides all that and more.
This is an easy, approachable read with each part separated by subheads, boxouts and quotes from mothers. This means you can jump back and forth through the book, referring to birth plans one minute and exercise tips during pregnancy the next. With this book in tow, you’ll feel educated and ready for each stage of pregnancy.
Key concept: A timeline of the pregnancy journey using images, boxouts and listicles to help describe possible pregnancy symptoms, exercise techniques and much more.
Key features – Publisher: Penguin Life; Date: 3 May 2018; Length (print): 384 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook
7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff: The best pregnancy book for month-by-month coverage
Price when reviewed: £13 (paperback) | Check price at Amazon
Some parents-to-be enjoy having a month-by-month rundown of what’s happening to their body and baby, and that’s just what you get in this book. We love it for its detailed index, which makes it effortless to browse through and find specific sections when you need them. It also has a week-by-week guide on the baby’s development, all written in a conversational tone that makes it feel as though you’re having a chat with your best friend.
Each chapter covers a great deal of information, including outlines on what to expect during doctors’ appointments, every possible pregnancy symptom that could occur, helpful tips for partners, exercises with diagrams and a whole lot more. There’s also a lot on mental health and how to make the best choices for you when dealing with a variety of issues that may arise.
Key concept: A month-by-month guide through pregnancy, including a week-by-week rundown on baby’s development, and other lifestyle trends such as the lowdown on vitamins, baby bump posting, multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding.
Key features – Publisher: Simon and Schuster; Date: 12 January 2017; Length (print): 656 pages; Formats: Hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook, audio CD
8. Mind Over Mother, by Anna Mathur: The best pregnancy book to prepare you for the fourth trimester and beyond
Price when reviewed: £10 (hardcover) | Check price at Amazon
There’s already enough to complete on your neverending to-do list before the baby arrives, and the last thing you want is an overload of information that could leave you more confused than before. Anxiety can take over at any time, which is why we recommend reading Anna Mathur’s Mind Over Mother during pregnancy. This book is aimed at helping mothers get a better understanding of mental health during pregnancy, before meeting their new bundle of joy.
Preparing to become a mother, or a mum-of-more, is never easy. In this helpful book, Mathur hones in on her own personal experiences and covers definitions of anxiety, examples of intrusive thoughts, and preparing for the whirlwind of emotions that comes with parenting, as well as how to deal with them. The author, a psychotherapist and a mother herself, immediately draws you in with her knowledge in this relatable must-read.
Key concept: Conversations and examples around mental health, anxiety, effects of anxiety and mindfulness techniques during pregnancy.
Key features – Publisher: Piatkus; Date: 14 May 2020; Length (print): 272 pages; Formats: Paperback, Kindle, audiobook