3 Great Reads for Before, During + After Pregnancy
Regardless of where you are in your journey of becoming a parent, one thing is certain. The amount of information available on pregnancy, birth, postpartum and infants is abundant. So abundant that at times, it can be overwhelming to choose a source. Here are three great books that can be read before, during and after your pregnancy to help you gain valuable information that’s both credible and current.
BEFORE:Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn – The Complete Guide By Penny Simkin, PT; Janet Whalley, RN, IBLCL; Ann Keppler, RN, MN; Janelle Durham, MSW, ICCE, LCCE; and April Bolding, PT, DPT, CD, CCE
When the authors called this book “the complete guide,” they weren’t kidding. For starters, it was written by a powerhouse team of five individuals with credentials including doula, registered nurse, lactation consultant, childbirth educator, physical therapist and social worker. The book covers common concerns, special circumstances, differences between types of prenatal care, how to make a birth plan, stages of labor and coping methods, breastfeeding, postpartum mood disorders, and so much more. There’s also full color photos, graphs and charts, short anecdotes that provide real life perspectives, and additional resources riddled throughout. This is an awesome book to read before becoming pregnant or in the early stages of pregnancy – for those pregnant and their partners, as it includes valuable information written specifically for them.
DURING: The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother By Heng Ou, with Amely Greeven & Marisa Belger
In today’s world things are fast-paced, convenience driven and sometimes inaccurately portray reality. The First Forty Days works to set all that aside when it comes to the postpartum period specifically. The author Heng Ou discusses her own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi – which is the Chinese practice of new mothers “sitting out the month.” Readers gain perspective on how Chinese and other cultures honor the mother and baby during the fourth trimester in a way that is easy to read and allows you to take away what calls most to you. There’s a portion of the book dedicated to teaching mothers how to slow down and embrace the art of rest, something many new mothers struggle with. In addition to providing a glimpse into the postpartum experience outside of the U.S., The First Forty Days is also a wonderful cookbook. There are 60 recipes created specifically for those who are recovering from giving birth and setting the foundation for a strong breastfeeding relationship. Soups, snacks, drinks and some heartier meals are all included, as well as a list of suggested pantry items and an explanation for some of the less common ingredients. This book is a relaxing read that can easily be enjoyed together by expecting families, perhaps as you near the nesting phase of pregnancy and begin the work of postpartum meal planning.
AFTER: Touchpoints – Birth to Three: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development By T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
Dr. Brazelton is considered to be one of the world’s foremost experts on infant and children development. Along with his practice as a pediatrician, researcher, and work as a professor of pediatrics at Harvard University, he also wrote prolifically – publishing 30 books, many of which are continuously revised to include the most current information. Touchpoints – Birth to Three does an excellent job of providing an overview of each stage of development during the first three years of a child’s life. Areas including feeding, communication, sleep, fussy phases and more are covered in the first part of the book. The second section of the book is an alphabetized guide to some of the most common concerns parents may have, such as feeding problems, illness, and spacing children – to name a few. The book concludes with chapters dedicated to parents, grandparents, childcare and others who are allies in your child’s development. Perhaps what’s best about this book is that you don’t necessarily need to read it cover to cover to gain the information most important to you. It’s detailed table to contents allows you to turn straight to what you need to know, making it a great read for after your baby is born.
Each of these books are also available as audiobooks and can be found at many local bookstores.