The best books about pregnancy and birth

pregnant woman reading

With so many pregnancy books out there, it can be hard to know what to choose. Browse our list of the most recommended books about pregnancy and birth on Mumsnet and discover the perfect one for you

The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book by Dr Maggie Blott

If you're looking for a practical and clear step-by-step guide with illustrations to guide you through your pregnancy, look no further. No other pregnancy book provides such extraordinary photographs, 3D scans, and illustrations which reveal exactly what is happening to you and your baby every day throughout your pregnancy.

day by day pregnancy book

What Mumsnet users say:

“It’s fabulous! Each day of pregnancy is covered with lots of pictures and info about how the baby is developing and how big they are at each stage. Also, there's great info about diet, exercise, upcoming scans/tests etc. and a section on childbirth and after baby is born. Would highly recommend.”

“It's good for looking up niggly things throughout the whole of pregnancy and it's great for explaining where baby is developmentally week by week.”

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The Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy – Vicki Iovine

Feeling swamped by medical and practical facts and stats? Try Vicki Iodine's book – it hilariously gives the lowdown on the minutiae of daily life throughout the pregnancy months. From the realities of morning sickness to the top 10 reasons why you'll definitely do it all again, Vicki takes a lighter look at pregnancy and birth.

best friend's guide to pregnancy

What Mumsnet users say:

“It's funny and entertaining, no horrible birth pictures to frighten you and I have read it loads of times. Highly recommended!”

“I laughed so much that I wet myself on several occasions – although that's not too unusual when eight months pregnant.”

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Birth Skills by Juju Sundin

Frequently cited on Mumsnet Talk as an absolutely essential guide to birth, Birth Skills offers sensible advice on childbirth with a focus on pain management

birth skills

What Mumsnet users say:

“It doesn't pursue a particular ideology, just gives you tools to cope and remain in control whatever happens and however you choose/have to give birth.”

“In many ways my birth wasn't ideal but I really think it was having read this book that got me through and able to say I enjoyed giving birth. I hope this helps someone else like the recommendation helped me.”

“I’ve heard quite a few people on Mumsnet recommend this book – it's practical, covers all bases, and doesn't pursue any particular ideology."

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Expecting Better by Emily Oster

Author Emily Oster combs through hundreds of medical studies to show that often the widely followed dictates of pregnancy, including alcohol and caffeine consumption, are wrong – or at least oversimplified. This groundbreaking guide to pregnancy will provide you with all the data needed to make informed decisions about your pregnancy.

expecting better

What Mumsnet users say:

“Completely up-to-date science, written with a no nonsense attitude. I can't stand all this unjustified scaremongering!”

“This is great if you actually want the reasoning behind some of the guidelines. It made me feel a lot more confident in myself and how to keep me and my baby healthy.”

“It's definitely the book for me as I like having all the information and making my own choice. I've become increasingly aware that most pregnancy advice is fairly low on its evidence base, and this book confirms it.”

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Pregnancy: The Mumsnet Guide

Our list wouldn't be complete without the book that offers advice from those at the frontline of parenting; Mumsnet users themselves. This guide is packed with the advice, wit, wisdom and reassurances of the thousands of parents who log onto the site each day, distilled and presented in a way that is both accessible and authoritative.

Mumsnet pregnancy guide

What Mumsnet users say:

“Indispensable. Found it in a second-hand bookshop and that was how I discovered Mumsnet.”

“I loved the Mumsnet pregnancy book for reassurance and funny stories!”

“I've been very much enjoying the Mumsnet guide to pregnancy (it's absolutely hilarious as well as down to earth and informative) so will definitely be investing in the baby and toddler books.”

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Your New Pregnancy Bible – Dr Anne Deans

Written by a team of specialists under the direction of a leading UK obstetrician, Your New Pregnancy Bible is filled with everything prospective parents need to know, including week-by-week images of the developing baby, in-depth chapters dealing with all aspects of antenatal care, and labour preparation.

your new pregnancy bible

What Mumsnet users say:

“This book has answered pretty much every question I've had for the last 37 weeks.”

“There's a section about baby's development week by week – we grab the book every Saturday morning before we get up and have a read at what's happened over the last week and what's coming up in the week ahead. It was great – particularly for my partner who found it difficult in early days to actually believe that we were having a baby!”

“I found it invaluable and had this book by my bed throughout the entire nine months. I also purchased it for a close friend of mine who found equally useful.”

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Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan – Rebecca Schiller

Rebecca Schiller, who is both a doula and the CEO of Birthrights, has written an empowering guide that helps you decide what is right for you – throughout your pregnancy, labour and birth, and the first few weeks with a newborn.

your no guilt pregnancy guide

What Mumsnet users say:

“I found Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan really good. Lots of practical advice and very non-prescriptive.”

“So useful, so non-judgemental – just pure info and encouragement to make your own choices. It's lovely. Can't speak highly enough of it!”

“It sets out all your options for every stage of pregnancy, rather than telling you the best way.”

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Your Pregnancy Week by Week – Lesley Regan

Professor Lesley Regan, world-renowned obstetrician, draws on her professional expertise and personal experience to guide you through pregnancy. She demystifies complex medical jargon, enabling you to make educated choices about your pregnancy and birth.

pregnancy week by week

What Mumsnet users say:

“This has been the best book I have read so far. I got it out of the library about two months ago and keep renewing it. I feel very informed now.”

“It depends what type of person you are but I like the fact that she backs everything up with medical facts, rather than providing information in a generalised, over-simplified way.”

“If you want something very impartial and full of practical information, I'd recommend Your Pregnancy Week by Week. I found it contained everything I needed to know, and lacked the preachy tone of some other books.”

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Birth and Beyond – Yehudi Gordon

Also written by one of the world's leading obstetricians, this book looks at all aspects of life, through the nine months of pregnancy and the following nine of the baby's life after birth. It is both a practical handbook for pregnancy, birth and the early months of a baby's life, and a stimulating exploration of this period of enormous transition.

birth and beyond

What Mumsnet users say:

“Birth and Beyond by Yehudi Gordon ended up being the only book I needed during and after pregnancy. It's HIGHLY informative, but the tone is that of empowerment, reassurance, and understanding. It's excellent. You truly don't need anything else.”

“Covers pregnancy, birth, and first nine months of baby's life, plus has big medical reference section in the back that covers all ailments and conditions that could affect mother and baby. Very non-judgmental and non-prescriptive – it lays out all the different options available for you without being biased.”

“Dr Yehudi Gordan's book is, in my opinion, the most fabulous book – informative, covers pretty much everything you can think of, not patronising and still useful after my son was born.”

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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin, America's leading midwife, shares her birthing wisdom in this intuitive guide to childbirth. With a focus on natural birthing, it offers advice and tips to maximise your chances of an unmedicated labour and give you the confidence to have the best birth experience, whether in a hospital or at home.

Ina may guide

What Mumsnet users say:

“This is the only book I would recommend to a fellow expectant mother. The birth stories are incredibly inspirational and moving.”

“I am a massive fan. That book helped me SO much during my pregnancy and galvanised my decision to have a home birth.”

“I find her approach interesting and inspiring. This book is a real support to my decision. It makes a nice change from the usual negative view of childbirth that filters through from society.”

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Pregnancy for Men – Mark Woods

And here's a book for expectant fathers, covering what men need to know – from how the baby is developing month by month to how to support their partner throughout pregnancy.

Pregnancy for men

What Mumsnet users say:

“I bought my DH Pregnancy for Men: the whole nine months. It's quite funny in places but also has good medical details and practical preparation for the baby.”

“Pregnancy For Men is great. It's sensible, informative and witty.”

“I wasn't sure about getting DH a book initially, since it felt a bit patronising. But he really liked it – it seemed to be written in a way he could identify with and gave just the right amount of information to make the pregnancy seem real to him, and help him feel part of it. He even said (unprompted!) that he wished he'd read it earlier so he could have been more supportive early on (I gave it to him at about four months).”

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Need more advice? Ask fellow Mumsnet users on Talk.

All prices correct at time of publication