by Stephanie Greunke, R.D. and co-creator of the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program
We live in a world with access to unlimited information. Sometimes the abundance of information can feel almost paralyzing. Where do you start? Who do you trust? What happens when two of your favorite experts disagree?
I remember having FOMO during my pregnancy. I was afraid of “missing out” on important information if I didn’t read ALL the information what to eat and how to have a healthy pregnancy.
This was one of the many reasons Melissa and I decided to create the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby program. We wanted to offer women a safe place to educate themselves without feeling overwhelmed. We wanted to provide facts and allow moms to make their own decision. Because when it comes to all things motherhood, you know what’s best for you. Our HMHB program offers short videos, helpful handouts, and our go-to resources for exploring each of the topics in more detail. We answer your questions about supplements, common concerns during pregnancy like morning sickness and heartburn, what discussions to have with your partner prior to conceiving, how to get your baby in an optimal position for birth, and so much more!
If you’d like to expand your knowledge on certain topics regarding pregnancy, here are a few great book options myself and women in our HMHB community have found helpful. Grab a cup of Organic Stress Less Tea, a cozy blanket, and let Amazon deliver some brain candy.
Note: These books recommend foods excluded during Whole30 (sugar, legumes, grains, dairy), but as always, you can adapt the recommendations to your personal preference.
Dr. Avena, a research neuroscientist and mom, walks you through practical ways to meet nutrient needs with whole foods. She outlines the importance of certain nutrients during each stage of pregnancy and your baby’s development. It’s full of new research on topics that are often missing in other pregnancy books, such as epigenetics and weight gain.
Written by a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, these books provide current evidenced-based recommendations to support a health pregnancy and manage blood sugar. Both of these books question current recommendations including diet therapy to manage gestational diabetes and controversial foods (fish, raw eggs, deli meat). If you want an alternative approach for managing your blood sugar during pregnancy, read Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. If you’d like a more comprehensive alternative approach for optimizing your prenatal diet, read Real Food for Pregnancy.
Black, Pregnant and Loving It: The Comprehensive Pregnancy Guide for Today’s Woman of Color
by Yvette Allen-Campbell and Dr. Suzanne Greenidge-Hewitt
Most books geared toward pregnancy are written by white women. While many of these books are great resources, the unique needs of women of color are often left out of the discussion. Research shows that there are racial and ethnic disparities in women’s health care, including pregnancy and childbirth. That’s why it’s important to seek out the voices of women of color.
The authors (a black OBGYN and a black leader in education), address that void in the industry by providing information about your rights as a pregnant woman in the hospital and workplace; navigating healthconcerns that are higher in the African American population (such as hypertension and fibroids); and a month-by-month guide to pregnancy that includes beautiful pictures of pregnant women of color.
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
by Genevieve Howland
For those interested in more alternative recommendations than the traditional “What to Expect,” here’s a great guide for you. It includes insights from a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), a registered nurse (RN), doula, lactation consultant, and moms of various backgrounds. You’ll find weekly advice and tips on various topics such as nutrition during pregnancy, natural remedies for common symptoms, alternatives to hospital interventions, and more!
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, and April Bolding
From conception to early infancy, this book will walk you through your journey. Inside you’ll find fun charts and visuals that help you understand and remember key points. It provides questions you can ask your provider and child’s pediatrician and helps you understand your rights during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. With an emphasis on informed decision making, this book provides research and recommendations that ultimately help readers make the best decisions for their family.
Emily Oyster is an associate professor of economics who started questioning conventional pregnancy recommendations during her own pregnancy. She provides insight into why certain recommendations were made (e.g., such as limiting caffeine and avoiding deli meat), discusses research studies and statistics, and allows readers to make their own educated decision based off the information she shares. If you’re a questioner, this is a great book for you!
Preparing for Labor
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
by Ina May Gaskin
Written by a well-known midwife with over thirty years of experience, this book showcases positive childbirth stories. Members of our HMHB community agreed it helped them trust their body and embrace the journey, while other books felt discouraging and invoked fear. Expect inspiring birth stories, insight about hospital interventions, practical advice on how to work with your provider and ways to make your birth setting feel safe and comfortable, regardless of where you labor.
The Birth Partner
by Penny Simkin
While this is written with the birthing partner in mind, it’s a great read for both partners. By reading this book your birth partner(s) will understand their role during the birthing process, what labor looks like, how to help you feel comfortable during labor, and possible interventions your provider may suggest. It’s practical, concise, and helps partners understand what may be helpful or distracting to a woman in labor. It also helps a partner understand what the birthing partner is going through on multiple levels, which is really helpful.
Stay tuned as I’ll share my favorite books for postpartum! Check out my favorite books for preconception, miscarriage, and pregnancy loss here.
Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice, RockYourHormones.com.
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