Accessible, Comprehensive Books for First Pregnancy
July 28, 2018 8:56 AM   Subscribe

My baby sister is having a baby! Yay! She's asked me to help find a book or two to help her understand what her body is going through and what to expect. A little bit of snowflake after the fold.

This is her first baby. She tells me she feels kinda clueless. She's low income, but looking for a new obstetrician because her current one doesn't spend enough time answering her questions. I have no children, so I'm not the best source of info on my own.

She's just entering the second trimester, and she and baby are healthy and doing well.

She would like a book or two (more than that will overwhelm her). She has struggled with some minor learning difficulties all her life, so they need to be accessible and mostly easy to understand.

Everyone comes to me for book suggestions, but this time, I'm clueless. Is What to Expect When You're Expecting still the best? I'm sure she would also appreciate a book or two for after the baby is born.

Books should be up to date, not religious/spiritual, fairly easy to read, and comprehensive. If there is anything out there that fits, I know MeFites can point me in the right direction.
posted by MuChao to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What to Expect When You're Expecting still the best?

No, it's supposed to be pretty fear-mongering.

I liked apps that told you how big the little one inside was and what symptoms you might be experiencing this week, and /r/BabyBumps. But if a book is the thing, I think the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is reportedly good. Expecting Better is also good, but it's more like the icing on the cake ("here's some science to resolve questions where you're hearing conflicting or unnecessarily restrictive advice") and not the cake itself (the original advice).
posted by slidell at 9:05 AM on July 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Maybe “Expecting 411”? These authors have a great series of books. I agree that What to Expect is fearmongering.
posted by kerf at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2018

This Was the best comprehensive book i read. My neighbor’s midwife gave it to her, and she gave it to me. It’s very readable, and gives a good job of presenting options across the crunchy spectrum without sacrificing accuracy.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:19 AM on July 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I liked the Mayo Clinic book on pregnancy. I found it to be very matter-of-fact without any of the fear mongering.

That being said it was pretty basic and didn't give me what I wanted to know about delivery. I ended up watching The Business of Being Born, but right around the beginning of my 3rd trimester. That gave me enough time to to work on a birth plan and to talk about my concerns with my OB and hear her side of the story as to why she might order interventions. Once we'd had that talk I was very confident and comfortable going into L&D with her.
posted by vignettist at 9:42 AM on July 28, 2018

I’ll be the dissenter and say that what to expect was not fear-mongering enough. There was little on morning sickness, and said the chance of it being serious was slim, so just drink ginger ale and have saltines. This led me to ignore how sick I was until I ended up in emergency needing iv rehydration. I’m guessing it is too fear-mongering for a normal pregnancy, and not detailed enough for a risky one with actual issues.
So.., this doesn’t help you decide, but if she has any issues, look for a book with a chapter on that.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2018

Seconding the Penny Simkin book. If she is planning to breastfeed, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding contains a wealth of information; be sure to get the most current version, as breastfeeding medicine is rapidly evolving.
After the baby comes, Understanding Your Baby’s Sensory Signals and Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood are both extremely helpful and readable.
posted by sutureselves at 12:20 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

If she’s at all the anxious type, I recommend The Panic-Free Pregnancy, though it’s more of a reference guide to look up specific questions than a book to read cover-to-cover.

Seconding Expecting Better as icing on the cake and nthing the Mayo Clinic guidebook.
posted by bananacabana at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

also going thru my first pregnancy and my SIL recommended Your pregnancy bible and it's pretty darn comprehensive, if a little dry at times. I just skip to the stuff that really interests me and I've found it to be a pretty solid resource for a bundle of things that have had me mystified.
posted by speakeasy at 1:03 PM on July 28, 2018

Not a book but given “accessible” and “easy to understand” I have really liked reading week updates from various websites. They give a little background on what stage the baby is at, what symptoms you may be feeling and why, and flagging anything you should pay attention to or reminding you of tasks to do (they are usually lists of 3 simple things at most). Two sites I personally keep going back to again and again are the weekly updates from The Bump and Huggies (Australian site for some reason which hasn’t been an issue at all except they use metric systems for some stuff). (Those randomly link week 24 becuse that’s where I am.) I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like the Huggies one, they had a few instances where they spoke specifically about the mom’s mental well being, which was nice and not always addressed on these types of things that tend to focus mainly on physical symptoms.
posted by like_neon at 2:37 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

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