There are a ton of books about pregnancy and raising babies and it can be overwhelming, stressing a lot of new moms out more than it helps. During my pregnancy with Mitchell, I was all about the basics. Every week I dug into the weekly updates: what was baby doing, what part of the body was developing, what changes were happening to my body. The books helped to ease my mind and connect me to others when I felt unsure of the neverending changes that were taking place.
During my second pregnancy, I focused on health and postpartum literature. Having experienced some post-partum blues and isolating feelings, I wanted to arm myself with tools and books to have a health experience from start to finish. Granted, we are two weeks into our lives with Amelia, but I feel much better this time around.
I’ve found several amazing books that have helped me organize my thoughts and get me in the right mindset for motherhood. While there are several books about baby, these books focus on you, the mom. Self care is so important and highly underrated during this time.
I can’t recommend these books enough!
1. Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
I recommend starting with this book if you can. At the beginning of pregnancy, you don’t need to worry about breastfeeding and sleep schedules… in fact it’s better if you don’t even think about these things yet. What you do need to focus on is taking care of your body for the next nine months. Real Food for Mother and Baby breaks down what your body needs nutritionally in each trimester and even for fertility if you want to start it earlier.
What helped me the most in the beginning was that it got rid of my guilt about not being able to eat fruits and vegetables in the first trimester. I was so sick that toast and seltzer were the main staples of my diet. The book made me feel ok about it when it explained that all I really needed during this time was calories. As long as I was taking my prenatal supplements to get folic acid and other nutrients to the baby, I was golden.
2. Yeah Baby! by Jillian Michaels
When I first heard about Jillian’s book on pregnancy, I wasn’t sure what she would offer having never experienced pregnancy herself. But, as an avid fan, I picked up the book and could not love it more or give it a higher recommendation. Jillian teamed up with experts to bring a comprehensive view on pregnancy, including her partner Heidi’s anecdotes on her pregnancy with their son. Her commentary is some of my favorite as she shares some ‘realities’ of pregnancy, mainly her anger with Jillian for doubting her lack of energy to workout or interest in vegetables. It is honest.
Jillian includes a ton of real tips, not fluffy ‘your baby is a lemon’ information. She also maps out each trimester with a workout and eating plan. This alone made me open the book every day. The delicious recipes kept me fueled with amazing foods and the workouts were effective, safe and easy to follow. The book also includes postpartum and adjusting to your new life, so I am still digging in daily!
3. The Fifth Trimester by Lauren Smith Brody
This is probably the most recommended book… for you.
Maternity leave, mom guilt, child care and self care are some of the not so subtle topics Brody tackles in this book that is beyond amazing. We all know about the fourth trimester (three months after the baby is delivered is called the fourth trimester), so what is the fifth? The fifth is all about change. Change with you, change for your family. If you are a working mom, get your hands on this book asap. Brody covers important information regarding your rights at work, how to manage returning to work, how to dress as though you aren’t a milk machine, and managing expectations in the work space once returning to your career.
This book is a must.
4. The Honest Life by Jessica Alba
I read this book when I was pregnant with Mitchell and have returned to it several times over. Alba is real in her book covering ways to prep for baby in the healthiest, safest way. She offers tips to build a positive environment for your little one and also how to continue on the path once they arrive. There is something about this book that feels like you are talking to a friend, granted, a very smart, enviro-savvy gorgeous friend. But someone you would call for the best advice.
5. Balancing In Heels by Kristin Cavallari
Kristin was once a wild child on the Hills and has since turned to an organic, healthy momma of three. She has made a huge transformation and it all started with her first pregnancy. She shares awesome tips on how to manage cravings, fuel your body and keep active. What I love most about Kristin is she truly loves being healthy and her kids, balancing it all isn’t easy, which she acknowledges but shares ways to bring your kids into activities or carve out time for yourself. Her bottom line – a healthy, happy mom is the best kind of mom. Something I complete support.
What were your favorite books to read during pregnancy? I’d love to know!