Pregnancy and childbirth

The 10 Best Pregnancy Books Of All Time (And Why You Should Read Them)

Written by Stephanie J Swarts, RMT and owner of Lakeside Prenatal Massage

Let’s be honest, how many pregnancy books can you really read during your nine months of pregnancy? There are so many books out there for soon-to-be parents and each one is influential in some way. So let’s start by thinking about what’s important to you and what you actually need to know.

Once you find out you are pregnant, you need to start considering some key questions:

Will you have a home birth or a hospital birth? Will you have an obstetrician or a midwife? Will you hire a doula? How can you best prepare? What can you do to make this pregnancy as healthy and enjoyable as possible? Or some of the more daunting questions: how badly will labor hurt and can I prevent tearing? You will experience different emotions that can affect your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Being aware of this can help you make the best decisions for a healthy pregnancy and your individual needs.

It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest information on pregnancy and labor, as research and medical recommendations are constantly evolving. Seeking advice from your healthcare provider or joining online support groups can help you gain access to valuable resources and provide extra peace of mind throughout your pregnancy.

However, although educating yourself will benefit you and your baby and also give you the tools to make informed decisions when it comes to labor and delivery, there is A LOT of information out there!

Ultimately, you only need to know the most important details. That is why choosing to read any of the pregnancy books listed below will set you up for success. Within, you will discover timeless information that has been helpful from one generation to the next.

Affiliate Disclosure – The links are Amazon affiliate links, if you follow a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for the referral.

The 10 Best Pregnancy Books are:



The Thinking Womans

1) The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

Compare all your birthing options and get clear and concise information on modern medical studies. “The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth” covers cesareans, induction, IV’s, epidurals, home births, midwives, obstetricians, hospital births, birth centers and more in a non-biased way.

Guide to childbirth2) Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May, the nation’s leading midwife, helps take the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth. “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is filled with inspiring birth stories and practical advice on topics such as reducing pain during labor, what happens during labor, episiotomy, anesthesia and cesarean risks, the best way to work with doctors and birth care providers, how to create a safe and comfortable environment in any birth setting, and much more.

Birthing from within3) Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Analyze your thoughts and face your fears with “Birthing From Within.” This book is all about helping you have a rewarding experience in each phase of pregnancy. This extraordinary guide to childbirth preparation is an act of self-discovery through exercises such as using a pregnancy journal for writing, painting, and reflection. It also gives you practical advice for coping with labor pain, as well as advice for the role of dad, doctor, or midwife during labor. Basics about caring for your newborn are also included, such as postpartum care, nursing, bathing your newborn, and other tips as you learn and adjust in the postpartum phase.

The birth partner 4) The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin

“The Birth Partner” is a guide for anyone who will be supporting a laboring woman. It is not always possible for parents to hire a doula, and in this situation, it is great for dad to know how he can step into this role of caring for his partner with confidence and consideration. It is a way to form a strategic alliance that will encourage the mother and promote her desired birth experience.

Simple guide having a baby5) The Simple Guide to Having a Baby by Janet Whalley, Penny Simkin & Ann Keppler

“The Simple Guide to Having a Baby” is exactly what it sounds like: just the facts and a guide to a healthy experience. It addresses how to stay healthy during pregnancy, labor pain, birth, and how to care for a newborn.

Mother of ALL6) The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between by Ann Douglas

This ultimate guide to pregnancy, and mother of all pregnancy books, provides you with all the facts on hot topics such as labor and pain relief, episiotomy, and circumcision. It empowers you to make informed choices and provides you with tools for emergency childbirth procedures. It also covers difficult discussions such as infertility, pregnancy and infant loss, or high-risk pregnancies.

Gentle Birth Choices7) Gentle Birth Choices: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions About Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth by Barbara Harper

“Gentle Birth Choices” informs, dispels medical myths, and reimagines birth without fear. It gives you information on hospital, home, and birth center options. It explores the ideas of hiring a doula or having a water birth, finding a primary caregiver who shares your idea of birth, and much more. “Gentle Birth Choices” is recommended by Lamaze International as one of the top 10 books for pregnant women and their families. It includes a 60-minute DVD of six live gentle births.

An easier childbirth8) An Easier Childbirth: A Mothers Guide for Birthing Naturally by Gayle Peterson

“An Easier Childbirth” is a preparation for the most positive natural childbirth experience possible. Journal writing, guided imagery, and visualization are used to help pregnant women feel less afraid and more comfortable and safe during childbirth.

Pregnancy and childbirth9) Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: the Complete Guide by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, April Bolding

“Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn” has been called “excellent” by the American Journal of Nursing. This book is more complete and up-to-date than most other guides on the market. It includes information on complications, infections the developing baby has, and advice on creating a detailed birth plan.

The complete book of pregnancy10) The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger

“The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth”  this baby book provides information on pregnancy and childbirth in a revised and updated way to reflect cultural trends and scientific advances. It uses pictures and diagrams to educate and includes labor positions, how to handle labor pain, postpartum care, and much more.

Why should you read three of the books listed?

According to DONA International, all the books in this article are highly recommended.  Each of them has stellar ratings and are typically described as extremely valuable and an excellent source of information. However, if you are unsure which books to read but want to have at least the necessary knowledge and tools to prepare for the journey ahead, below I’ve listed three that I believe you won’t regret reading.  These were the top three pregnancy book that were recommended to me by health professionals for my four pregnancies.

The outcome? My midwives noted that all of my labors were better than textbook births, and I can honestly say that these awesome pregnancy books set me up for success. Not only did they help me make decisions in a time where I was fearful and feeling vulnerable, but they empowered me with confidence, anticipation, and deep wisdom that I was forever changed by. They became a reference book I could look back on, over and over, answering pregnancy and baby questions. 

Although all pregnancies are different based on our individual genetics and situations, we can all start with essential information, gain similar knowledge, and be guided accordingly.

Top Three Books:

  1. The Thinking Women’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

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

  3. Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Affiliate Disclosure – The links are Amazon affiliate links, if you follow a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for the referral.

Maybe you don’t feel these books are the right one’s for you. In that case, simply choose something that excites you and resonates with your values!


By taking time to prepare for labor ahead of time, expecting mothers can gain a sense of control over the situation and relax knowing that they are informed and ready for childbirth. With plenty of resources and information available, there is no reason for expecting parents to feel overwhelmed. Preparation is key!

Gathering knowledge and being prepared for labor will help make your experience safer and more comfortable, regardless of what path you take. As long as you are educated on your options and listen to advice from medical professionals, you can trust in yourself that you have taken the necessary steps to prepare for a smooth labor and delivery.

So make sure to take time to read up on pregnancy books and seek advice and emotional support from health professionals. It will all be worth it in the end.

Remember: knowledge is power! Be informed, and you’ll feel more prepared for whatever comes your way on your pregnancy journey, labor and delivery.

I hope that within these 10 Best Pregnancy Books there lies treasure for you.  Happy reading!

      Similar Posts