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Top Five Books for Expectant Moms

Sometimes I feel vastly under-qualified to blog about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. After all, this is my first child and I’m learning as I go. I can only hope, as you read my posts, that you’ll be learning along with me, that my questions and concerns mirror those of other first-time expectant mothers.

As an avid reader, freelance writer, and former bookstore employee, one thing I do know is books! There are several titles I’ve added to my already-overstuffed bookshelves in the past few months that I now consider indispensable titles for an expectant mom.

Here they are, in no particular order. I hope they help you, too.

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting – This definitive pregnancy title by Heidi Murkoff is available in a newly-revised fourth edition for 2008. calls the book ‘America’s Pregnancy bibles’ and USA Today voted it one of the 25 most influential books of the past 25 years. It’s been read by 90 percent of all pregnancy women who read any pregnancy books, so if this isn’t your first child, chances are you have a copy. However, the updated edition reflects the latest research, changing attitudes and current lifestyle trends, so it may be time to update your dog-eared copy. If this is your first baby, you will read this book cover-to-cover and refer to it often.
  • Baby Bargains – When I first got engaged, Bridal Bargains was one of a handful (okay, more like a box-full!) of wedding books I purchased. I later passed it on to a friend, and still consider it one of my best wedding investments. Therefore, it made sense to pick up Baby Bargains when we first began shopping for our little bean. In this informative, straightforward and fun-to-read volume, not only do authors Denise and Alan Fields offer a realistic assessment of the price of having a baby, they show you how to save hundreds or thousands of dollars. Most appealing is the money back guarantee, if you don’t save at least $250 on baby products by using the book, the authors will refund the cost of the book. I’m sure I’ll use this book a lot in the coming months and then pass it on, as well!
  • What to Expect the First Year – As Week 40 approaches, an expectant mother’s worries begin to shift from what’s going on inside her body to how she will care for the new baby. What to Expect the First Year, by Heidi Murkoff, will answer many of your questions and concerns before you find them staring you in the face. The chapters on fatherhood are great, too! (Alternatively, Babies Online has great section on Baby’s First Year, a week by week breakdown of expectations and baby development, and it’s totally FREE)
  • A Child is Born – I remember browsing through this book as I stocked the Pregnancy and Parenting section of Barnes & Noble, years before I dreamed of having a child of my own. The gorgeous photography by Lennart Nilsson is moving and informative. Like What to Expect, this 40-year-old classic volume was recently updated to reflect new advancements and updated research. More than 350 new photographs, including photos created using new 3D ultrasound technology, bring the miracle of childbirth to life.
  • Best Baby Gear -This new book by Sandy and Marcie Jones came to me straight from Sterling Publishing. I opened it with the skepticism required of a book reviewer. I already have Baby Bargains and Consumer Reports: Best Baby Productswhat additional information could this book provide? After a night of perusing the 369-page resource, which is part of the Great Expectations series, I was pleasantly surprised by the in-depth information, easy-to-read format, and full color images of many popular baby products. The book also goes beyond the products to provide ‘quick tips’ for tasks such as bathing an infant or changing a diaper. This one will stay in my bag with me when I go shopping for everything from a breast pump to a stroller. (Note: You’ll have to wait ’till August to pick up this one… the book has not been released yet.)

There are many other books you may want to add to your collection, depending on your own level of knowledge and reading preferences. A baby name book might be a good purchase, but, honestly, I’d save my money and use the many online resources devoted to baby names and their meanings.

You may want a pregnancy journal. I picked one up through Freecycle. The previous owner never wrote on a single page. I’ve had it three weeks and in spite of lugging it to my OB for my most recent appointment, I haven’t used it, yet, either.

On the other hand, you may revel in chronicling every moment of your pregnancy and writing down every milestone, in which case a pretty pregnancy journal is a great keepsake. For me, a pocket calendar to keep track of doctor appointments and a notepad to jot down questions for my doctor works just fine.

How about you? What pregnancy and parenting titles do you consider “must-reads” and why? I’d love to see other expectant and new moms’ “top five” book lists, too, as well as your top five picks for babies. Because, you know, I see a little tiny corner of empty space on my bookshelf, and we can’t have that, can we?

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