Pregnancy: What to Read

July 8, 2021

Pregnancy can feel overwhelming with all of the preparation involved, and a very real deadline within which to accomplish it all!

In addition to purchasing items for baby, deciding on a place to give birth, and so on, there are also so many resources out there to read written on the subject of pregnancy itself.

Below are a few of the titles that I read prior to my son’s birth, and my thoughts on each resource.

Please note: this blog post uses affiliate links and may earn a commission from certain links. This does not affect your purchases or the price you may pay.

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies was one of my favorite reads!! It contains all kinds of information on “the surprising science of pregnancy”, including answers to questions such as:

Can mom’s diet affect baby’s genes? Will the baby look more like the father? Does classical music really impact fetuses? And much more.

“Chocoholics” like myself will also enjoy the answer to one of the silliest questions.. do chocolate lovers have sweeter babies?

This book is not the usual month-by-month pregnancy companion, and instead is the perfect read for the curiosity-driven who want to know how genetics work, whether it is possible to influence baby in the womb, and what factors can affect baby’s personality.

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

The Panic-Free Pregnancy

As someone who has experienced multiple pregnancy losses, I know firsthand that it can be challenging to have a “panic-free” pregnancy.. but The Panic-Free Pregnancy helps alleviate some of the anxiety for pregnant women by answering numerous common questions, such as..

Are tea and coffee safe during pregnancy? If I have high blood pressure, should I continue to take my medication? Will bedrest help prevent preterm labor? Can I sleep on my back while pregnant? Is nail polish safe while pregnant? And so on.

This book aided me in making many informed decisions during my pregnancy, and to avoid spending too much time on Google, or stuck in my own head!

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

Expecting Better

I cannot tell you how many times I referred to this book!

Expecting Better is broken into sections: conception, the first trimester, the second trimester, the third trimester, and labor and delivery. Each section contains specific information on topics relating to that part of pregnancy.

I appreciated that the content is data-driven, and enjoyed the charts and information on topics such as miscarriage, induction, coffee-drinking, deli meat, and many others.

It can be a reassuring resource to help sort out people’s opinions on pregnancy vs. what matches up with research studies.

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a well-known classic, and with good reason!

The book contains all kinds of detailed information on frequently-asked questions about pregnancy, organized in a month-by-month format.

My favorite part was the description of common monthly symptoms, as well as the drawings of baby’s size each month.

If you are on a budget, it can be helpful to know that a lot of the information found in the book is also available online via the website.. however, personally I like having something in paper vs. spending endless time on the internet.

I also have a copy of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting Journal & Organizer, which was a great help for organizing my birth plan, and providing a place to keep track of my symptoms week-by-week!

To purchase: (US) (Japan)


Bumpology is yet another excellent title for the mom-to-be who has loads of curiosity.

It addresses all kinds of common myths about pregnancy, labor, and babies, and helps sort fact from fiction on numerous topics, including:

Is stress during pregnancy bad for the baby? Can the shape of my bump predict the gender of my child? Can curry or anything else trigger labor? Are babies born in the summer any different from babies born in the winter? And so on.

There are answers to SO many questions that I frequently came across in online pregnancy groups, and even some I didn’t think to ask!

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

If you plan on breastfeeding your child, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League International is a must-read.

I truly believe that reading this book before my son was born was part of the reason why I was able to avoid so many common issues with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is NOT always intuitive – and having a resource like this one to answer common questions, provide troubleshooting ideas, and connect the reader with possible real-life assistance and community can be essential!

This book provides: useful data about breastfeeding that can help in the case that you need to advocate about your desire to breastfeed with your healthcare provider(s), excellent information on common ways to hold baby while feeding, information on latching and common latching problems, explanations about breastmilk supply and how to maintain/increase it, realistic expectations about feeding, baby weight gain information (what is normal and what isn’t for a breastfed baby), how to hand express, all about pumping, weaning, tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant, breast health, and much more.

Although some women cannot lactate for medical reasons, many others struggle with breastfeeding because they are not provided with breastfeeding-positive resources and assistance in the beginning of their breastfeeding journey. A book such as this one can help provide the confidence, tools, and information on outside assistance to help avoid many common difficulties.

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

You can also connect with the La Leche League International’s Japan branch here. And check out my post on baby stations and breastfeeding in Japan, here.

In addition to reading books about pregnancy itself, during pregnancy and postpartum I also read a few books about childbirth (see here), as well as infant care (titles which I plan to share in a later post!).

Do you have any must-read books to add to the list above?

Please leave a comment below.

Post featured photo credit:

To read more about pregnancy in Japan, check out these articles: 

We’re Expecting! – Pregnancy in Japan

Japan’s Pregnancy Freebies: A How-To Guide

10 Pregnancy Must-Haves

Maternity Clothes: Best Brands

Preparing For Childbirth

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