I have always been a big reader, however I was reticent to read too much too soon and overfill my book case during my pregnancy.
After a while, I thought I should seek out the answers I required from those in the know, those who have some experience and medical knowledge.
The first trimester really dragged with morning sickness (hello bathroom floor and a nightly dinner of spinach and ricotta tortellini from a packet – no sauce, just plain…more on that later). However once we had had our first scan, the weeks really marched on and my due date was becoming imminent.
It is so tempting when you are awake at 3am to randomly Google phrases such as ‘odd pain in left side when 28 weeks pregnant’ … What did I expect to find.
Well I will tell you, load of forums with scary, scary stories. Stories that are not helpful and make you feel even more do lally. So from me to you… Put down the Google.
These books were really helpful for me- I haven’t included others that I didn’t connect with.. Who has that kind of time? There is another water birth book by Janet Balaskas but I don’t have a picture of it but you can find more info here.
Again some may not be in keeping with your preferences, these are simply my faves.
This was the first book I purchased. I really wanted something that would give an overall picture of the whole pregnancy- morning sickness, what to eat, what to expect etc. The book is great at giving an overall picture of how pregnancy can effect you physically, emotionally and psychologically. It’s broken down into digestible chapters- I read the book as a whole but then it was great to dip into as and when I needed to.
This was kindly given to me as a gift. Some of the stories may seem completely removed from your NHS ‘Give me all the drugs, you’ve got’ preference however the inspiring stories of natural, non invasive births reminded me that the birthing process has been experienced by millions of women for thousands of years. Sometimes pregnancy can be isolating and a little overwhelming so reading positive, empowering stories kept my mindset in the right place.
This was a lovely gift by my mother in law where you can note your weekly updates, how you are feeling and include pictures. There is a space for you to write but fortunately it is not massive so no pressure to write an essay (good job as my mushy brain found it tricky to write my own name by the end of my pregnancy it is a miracle I can write this).
Lots of excellent feedback from this book from my partner and he shared some excerpts as he read. We both wanted to have a chilled approach to pregnancy and turn off the drama of ‘One Born Every Minute’ so this friendly rational narrative was very calming.
During my midwife appointments there was a lot of emphasis on breastfeeding and its benefits. However many friends had said it had not been the glorious, immediate bonding experience they had envisaged. Sooo I read up on it and found lots of the ‘science’ bits really helpful i.e. the more you feed the more milk you produce. This cream is a great accompaniment and I have lived in thischair
Although I didn’t end up having the ‘Glasto dippy, hippy’ experience that I had planned- our baby was delivered by emergency C section, the contents of this book really stuck with me. It offers lots of information on the biology of ‘pain’ and how you can manage your own adrenalin to ease the pain. There are also lots of great tools and exercises to work through and refer back to, plus some audios to relax you. In the days leading up to the due date and in labour itself, there are lots of questions about your birth plan- you start to make lots of decisions, many of which you may not feel equipped to make because you are making them hypothetically. There is one particular exercise ‘BRAINS’ which is great to follow as your labour progresses.
During pregnancy, it is easy to get distracted by the cosiness of being pregnant. After around week 30, I suddenly had the notion (duh!) that hopefully I would have a healthy baby in ten weeks who would need me to care for him or her with unconditional love. I felt very lucky that I had got to 33 years old and never spent a night in hospital- only during my own birth and so therefore I had many questions. The books details what happens straight after birth (I love an itinerary) and how to survive those precious, beautiful, delirious first hours and days that follow.
Since our baby has arrived this has been great reference (plus a good tool to remember how old he is and what day it is!). It is supposed to be just a guide- often on the sleep recommendations, we both look at each other and say ‘Nah, he’s definitely no where near that!’ but there is lots of really useful information on development, tips and reminders (e.g. when to book stuff).
Whatever you read, I hope it makes you feel good. If it doesn’t, put the book down. That also goes for ‘helpful’ friends and family who pass comment in a non supportive way or question your preferences in a judgemental way. Block out any unnecessary noise and keep the vibes high.
By Nicky Raby