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10 Books That Should Be Required Reading for Parents-to-Be

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is on your bookshelf. You’ve leafed through Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. You’ve even devoured The Happiest Baby on the Block. But what other books should you check out as a parent-to-be or new parent?

Well, there are lots of awesome new pregnancy (and beyond!) books out there now that are fresh, fun, ground-breaking, helpful — and some are downright hilarious.

Consider these required reading, whether you’re newly knocked up (congrats!), about to pop a baby out (go you!), or have an itty bitty at home already (it’s fun, right?!). Part helpful, part essential, part LOL — there’s a little bit of something for every parent on this list!

1. The Empowered Mama

Wife. Mother. Friend. Cook. Daughter. Nurse. Housekeeper. Driver. Dog walker. The list of roles for many women these days is long. Which is why Lisa Druxman wrote The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself While Raising a Happy, Healthy Family, a practical guide to help moms find greater success in both their personal and professional lives. This is an interactive workbook full of simple tools to help you reconnect with yourself — and not just rediscover who you are but also to fall in love with motherhood. From advice on how to have healthy relationships, beat stress, boost nutrition, and improve mindfulness, this guide helps mamas maximize the hours they have to accomplish what matters most.

Most recommended for: Working moms.

2. The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth

This first ever week-by-week natural pregnancy guide is penned by Genevieve Howland, known to more than one million fans as Mama Natural. Unlike some pregnancy guidebooks that tend to be fear-based and overly medical/technical, The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth follows a more empowering, uplifting, and (you guessed it) natural approach. Peppered throughout the book are positive birth and pregnancy stories from women of all backgrounds (and all stages of their journey), along with advice and evidence-based medical insights from a midwife, registered nurse, certified doula, and lactation consultant. From buying maternity clothes to self-care to what to really put on your baby registry, this book covers a lot.

Most recommended for: Moms-to-be who shop organic and are looking to go as au natural as possible.

3. The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting

A testament to the fact that raising kids takes bravery, grit, and a BIG OL’ sense of humor, The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting is is an honest guide that celebrates the fun and hilarity of being a parent. From what it’s like to take a shower with a newborn in the house (spoiler: crying is involved, always) to what happens when your toddler learns how to crawl out of the crib (oh, sh*t!), to the countless ways your partner will drive you crazy when you’re in labor, this book is full of honest-to-goodness truths that’ll have you laughing out loud.

Most recommended for: All moms who need a laugh. (So, all moms.)

4. Diastasis Recti: The Whole-Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation

Written by one of our favorite health experts EVER, Katy Bowman, Diastasis Recti: The Whole-Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation is a practical, must-read guide for moms. From understanding what diastasis recti is, to how it comes about, to how to help correct it, this is a whole-body solution to a problem that is really common in new moms.

Most recommended for: Any mom with diastasis recti — or looking for a strong core.

5. You’re Doing a Great Job! 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting

Parenting can sometimes seem like a thankless job — one in which all of your to-do list items don’t get checked off … because you were busy running around all day putting out fires (like: getting the right colored sippy cup, cleaning up a naptime diaper disaster, and the like). Which Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn, hosts of the One Bad Mother Podcast and author of this book, GET. This quick and light read is full of high-fives, laughs, and universal parenting truths.

Most recommended for: Parents who could use a high-five. (Again, all parents!)

6. Yeah Baby!

Jillian talked about this book when she was on our podcast, and it’s a really great resource for having a healthy and fit pregnancy — complete with robust exercise advice and even a trimester-specific fitness program. Written by herself along with her “dream team” of experts including doctors, dietitians and fitness specialists, this book has a lot of focus on nutrition, movement, hormones, and natural living (think in your beauty products, cleaning, home, etc.).

Most recommended for: Mamas who were working out before they got knocked up and want to continue to stay active.

7. The Toddler Survival Guide

The Toddler Survival Guide is a hilarious parody of Max Brooks’s The Zombie Survival Guide (and survival guides in general) that will make you crack up as it provides practical advice on how you can make it to the other side of toddlerhood intact. (Except of the book here!) Written by two parents who have studied toddlers up-close in their natural habitat, the book covers survival skills, including how you can outfit your home to outlast a toddler occupation (baby gate, cabinet locks, wine), how you can subdue an angry toddler (“Elmo’s Song,” mac and cheese, smartphone), and even how you can safely venture out in public together without your toddler — or you — bursting into tears.

Most recommended for: Parents in — or about to be in — the toddler stage.

8. The Postnatal Depletion Cure

So many books focus on baby — and, don’t get us wrong, baby is important — but, so are you, the one giving birth. And A LOT happens to you after you give birth. From hormone shifts, to nutrient depletion, to sleep deprivation, to emotion shifts as you transition to a new baby-centered way of life, this book written by Dr. Oscar Serrallach helps guide you through those changes, naturally, with a plan to boost energy and overall health.

Most recommended for: Natural health-minded moms with kids under age 7 (yep, it can take you that long to recover from “baby brain!”)

9. What to Believe When You’re Expecting: A New Look at Old Wives Tales

Ever had someone tell you you’re having a boy or a girl just because you’re carrying them high or low? How about the fact that your baby will have a ton of hair because you have indigestion? Yep, those are old wives tales, and, Dr. Jonathan Schaffir breaks them down — one by one — in this informative book that explores how some and why this advice has been handed down from generation to generation — and, if there’s any scientific proof and research to prove it. It’s a dense read, but it’s a fascinating one!

Most recommended for: Pregnant moms who love their science.

10. My Sugar Free Baby and Me

We’re not ones to say you can never have sugar (non-diet, balanced eats and all good things in moderation, all the way, yo!), but this book is a really great resource for both mom and baby, once baby is done with the boob/bottle and is ready to share some of the good stuff on your plate. Written by registered dietitian Sarah Schenker, it includes more than 80 recipes plus loads of helpful tips on how to introduce your baby to solids. From making yourself a chicken avocado wrap while your baby samples avocado puree, to you munching on salmon with wild rice herb salad while your little one tries bites of sweet potato and salmon, this book will leave you both with a full and happy, healthy tummy!

Most recommended for: Moms who like to cook and have infants at home who are ready (or almost ready) to steal food off your plate.

Any other books you’d recommend to parents-to-be? I’ve really gotten a lot out of this one as well! –Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Rachel says:

    I recommend “Like a Mother” by Angela Garbes. Currently pregnant and re-reading it weeks before my due date. It’s a great take on pregnancy and motherhood!

  2. Raj says:

    Such a nice information..Excellent books collection…

  3. Thanks for the list. A friend of mine is a mother to be, and I’m just searching for the right book for her. 🙂

  4. Jenni Kim says:

    Hi Jenn & Kristen,

    I came across your profile at mom bloggers Network and though to drop you a visit. i am a mother of two beautiful angels and from Upstate New York. I have gone through a couple of your posts and really admired your style of writing especially your parenting tips. I wish I could be as good as you when it come to taking care of my kids overall well-being. I would be really glad if you could visit my blog and shower some love.


  5. Jhoei says:

    These are good book suggestions for parents-to-be. It is always better to be prepared for the coming additional member of the family.

  6. Beautiful books!
    I was looking for the non-diet, balanced eats and I found it here!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Jhoei says:

    These are definitely good reading materials for parents-to-be. Parenting is a challenging job so we must be prepared for it. Read and learn from others.

  8. I was looking for some books to support me during pregnancy and found them here. Thanks!

  9. Your books collections is inspiring. I have used those books for long time now and every book is a treat to read.

  10. I recommend “Like a Mother” by Angela Garbes. Currently pregnant and re-reading it weeks before my due date. It’s a great take on pregnancy and motherhood!

  11. Paul Kevin says:

    Great books recommendation! What other books should you check out as a parent-to-be or a new parent or how to kill your time during pregnancy days? This post is just amazing about mom’s to be and motivational for after parents how to stay fit pregnancy along with their new born baby. You can also learn about some gaming simulators here @coolbullsas and play along with your eight or nine (psst…! can be above fifteen years old!) years old ones.

  12. My wife read this book “When There Was Three of Us: A Memory Book for the Modern Family” and praised it very much!

  13. Essay Help says:

    Great List!!

    This list will help me to read in my leisure time and at the same time improve my essay writing skills as a writer. Thanks for sharing and keep writing!

  14. Peter Nobe says:

    I will love to know more about that My Sugar Baby and Me, it sounds interesting

  15. Thank you for providing this Valuable list. My friend is going to become a mother, and I will definitely refer this to her.

  16. Angel says:

    I recommend “Like a Mother” by Angela Garbes. Currently pregnant and re-reading it weeks before my due date. It’s a great take on pregnancy and motherhood!

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