Suggestions for good pregnancy books please

When I was in college, I wrote a chapter of my thesis (entitled Managing Birth: Hospitals, Mothers and their Meaning in the United States about my work as a volunteer doula) on the best-selling pregnancy book What to Expect When You’re Expecting. In brief, I wrote about why it is terrible, and scares women, and should really be called What to Be Scared of When You’re Expecting. Not to mention that it is very much based on the doctors are better paradigm (my favorite quote, from the introduction, was something to the effect of how modern medicine had moved birth from the kitchen table to the hospital. wtf).

What I didn’t do when I wrote that chapter was recommend a good pregnancy book alternative. Now I’m looking for suggestions from you all, for good not scary midwife and doula friendly pregnancy books. Suggest away!


11 thoughts on “Suggestions for good pregnancy books please

  1. TinaH November 27, 2007 / 12:15 pm

    The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler

  2. N1Nj4G1rl November 27, 2007 / 1:38 pm

    I really enjoyed Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin. Also Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper was pretty decent, lots of information on waterbirth which is really hard to find elsewhere.

  3. radicaldoula November 27, 2007 / 3:22 pm

    I know a lot of good birth books, but any one know one that focuses on pregnancy specifically? Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. cocoschmoco November 27, 2007 / 8:37 pm

    How about the Dr. Sears Pregnancy Book? They are pretty hippy-dippy, considering. I’ve only glanced through it myself, though.
    I also like “A Child is Born”, though it’s more a reference guide than a “how-to” guide. “From the HIps” is good, too, but again, it talks more about the emotions involved with pregnancy, instead of being a weekly/monthly guide to what’s going on.

  5. Kate November 28, 2007 / 11:53 am

    I like “The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth” by Sheila Kipzinger. It’s not perfect (none of them are), but this one is more informative and less scary than any other I could find.

  6. Rachel December 2, 2007 / 12:29 pm

    Any chance of getting you to share that chapter with us? I’d love to read it.

  7. radicaldoula December 2, 2007 / 3:28 pm

    I’ll think about it! It’s quite long, and kind of written in anthro-ese but maybe I’ll post some of the highlights. Thanks for your interest!

  8. Tara December 14, 2007 / 11:41 pm

    I just picked up “From the Hips” by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris. I would recommend checking it out. It includes birth and postpartum too so it is not strictly pregnancy-related.

    I have grappled with the what to expect series to the extent that I sometimes wish that I could buy all of the copies at the Goodwill just so that unknowing moms-to-be won’t be subjected to their fear-mongering!

    Thanks for the great blog!

  9. Nina March 23, 2009 / 1:28 pm

    As part of my doula training I am reading “Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn” by Penny Simpkin, Janel Whalley, and Ann Keppler. It’s an amazingly informative book with lots of pregnancy coverage as well as options for birth, birth plan structures, pre and post partum exercises, newborn plans, nutrition, etc. It’s really quite wonderful.

    Good luck!

  10. Janelle July 11, 2010 / 10:41 am

    Thanks to Nina for her recommendation of our book, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. I wanted to let everyone know that there is a new, fully revised edition available. The authors have been working on it for two years, and we think it does a great job of maintaining all of the strengths of past editions while also being more visually appealing, more user-friendly, and, of course, thoroughly up-to-date with the latest research. It can be found at or ordered in bulk (at a discounted rate) from

  11. Janelle July 11, 2010 / 10:43 am

    One more note: on our book’s companion website,, we also include several resource lists with pointers to all of our recommended books, websites, and videos about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborns.

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