Best Pregnancy Book: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

what to expect when you're expecting

My well-worn copy of What to Expect. A discerning eye will also notice my bedside Tums.

When I was pregnant the first time, my doctor told me to skip What to Expect When You’re Expecting because it would make me worry unnecessarily. I ignored him and listened to my older brother, who said he and his wife wore out their copy of the book during the pregnancies of their kiddos. I’m glad I trusted family over a doctor (who I ended up leaving) because I, too, have worn out my copy of the book. With four editions of the bestselling book and other What to Expect spinoffs, the empire surely doesn’t need my endorsement. But the book has been such a constant companion that it would seem weird not to discuss it here!

The book is truly a great resource for any expectant mom. Each chapter is broken down by month, which covers in detail the development of the baby each week. Even though I’m a “been there, done that” mom, I still like to be reminded of exactly what’s going on in there, so I keep the book on my nightstand for easy access. If you’re like me and count your pregnancy strictly by weeks (a month is too wide of a range!), this organization will help you tremendously for those people who ask “So how many months along are you?” The chapters list out symptoms that you may be having that month, and by golly, it’s amazing how they always nail exactly when they’re going to start. A mama cross-section image will also show you how the baby is developing in utero—and what your belly may be doing as well.

I also love that each chapter is broken down into a question-and-answer format. Not only does it help you cut to the chase regarding the questions you may be facing, but it reassures you that someone else, somewhere out there had the exact same problem or weird symptom you did. I’ve yet to come across an experience that the book didn’t consider. It’s also pretty amazing how accurately the topics go with the month of pregnancy, but with a super-extensive index, looking up a topic is super easy. If pages could talk, they would surely discuss my never-ending interest in heartburn and symphysis pubic dysfunction.

On the worry front, sure, the book does cover some of the less pleasant possibilities of pregnancy, and I’m not talking morning sickness and constipation. But the reality is that miscarriages and emergency situations do occur, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared and knowledgeable about them. The book didn’t strike me as doomsday about these types of topics, but frank and straightforward. Thorough coverage of labor, delivery and multiple pregnancies make this book a one-stop shop for information! Plus, you can always hit up the What to Expect website for additional pregnancy goodies.

Were you a loyal What to Expect reader during pregnancy? If not, tell me what the best pregnancy book was for you! —Erin

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1 Comment
  1. Jessica says:

    I thought about buying this book when I found out I was pregnant (since it was the one that everyone has heard of), but after reading reviews on Amazon about how scary it was, I didn’t buy it. One review was written by a husband saying that all pregnant women either buy or receive this book, and the husband’s job is to hide, destroy or lose it before his wife read it and become overly paranoid and scared about all the things that could go wrong and start to feel like a failure for not being able to follow all the diet and exercise guidelines. Since then, a co-worker loaned me a copy, but I have to say I have barely opened it. I have the Mayo Clinic’s guide to a healthy pregnancy (or something like that), and a pregnancy journal that gives brief descriptions of what’s going on with mom and baby for each day. I also read “A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” which was absolutely hilarious and made me feel much more at ease with all the changes I was going through. But I kinda figure most of the books give you about the same information. I stood in the bookstore for at least an hour when I decided to get some pregnancy books just flipping through them to decide which I liked. I don’t think there is one right book–pick whatever fits you best!