Due to the heavy marketing of the What to Expect series of books, and promo/sponsorship from special interest and lobbying groups (not always those who have mother/baby wellbeing at the forefront of their agenda), these are books that tend to be in every bookstore, every library, and on every shelf.
We spent some time talking with a Barnes & Noble manager in Iowa who said that their local store had all front-facing space in the pregnancy/baby section 'spoken for' by the What to Expect publishers. There simply were no other books to be found - and this was the only large bookstore in a 60 mile radius of the city's two hospitals. An expecting mother seeking insight at her local bookseller would be led to believe that this is thee book for her to read...
We visited a holistic health store in Virginia that had only two book options for pregnant women among their hundreds of books - guess what one of those two was? (We've since spoken with this manager as well to provide the store with many more holistic options for books that would fit better with the philosophies of the store).
What to Expect is everywhere. But it is far from being a 'good book' - or even one we'd recommend to anyone. In fact, there are much better options for a pregnant or planning-to-conceive woman who wishes to pick up a research-based, empowering book and discover what is going on with her body, and her baby. Don't let the ubiquitous nature of this series fool you -- instead, ask for one of the excellent pregnancy/birth books. You deserve it! And so does your baby.
Pregnancy/Birth Top 10:
Before Your Pregnancy
The Pregnancy Book
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Gentle Birth Choices*
Birthing From Within
Birth and Breastfeeding
Childbirth Without Fear
The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth*
* Indicates book contains research-based information on genital autonomy and intact baby boys.
Highly Recommended Pregnancy/Birth Books:
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition and Other Holistic Choices
Journey Into Motherhood
Hypnobabies Home Study
Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta
Your Best Birth
Born In the USA
Having Twins and More*
Homebirth and Other Alternatives to Hospital
Heart and Hands
The Birth Book
Birthing From Within Keepsake Journal
Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way
A Holistic Guide to Embracing Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood
Birth Without Violence
Back Labor No More
Creating a Joyful Birth Experience
Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood
Baby On the Way
On Mother's Lap
We're Having a Homebirth
Mommy Has to Stay in Bed
Angel in the Waters
Mothering the New Mother
Have a favorite pregnancy or birth book? We'd love to hear it!