minutes per mile blog

pregnancy books & podcasts: my top 5

Good morning! I thought I’d take a break from the usual running/cooking lineup today and do a pregnancy-related post since you guys requested more of them :)

I’ve heard numerous times that babies don’t come with a manual… and I’m sure I’ll find this very true when our little one arrives! However, I’ve still spent the past eight months learning as much as I can through books and podcasts in an effort to be prepared for the big changes ahead! Here are some of my favorite pregnancy books and podcasts to date. Let me know what you recommend reading or listening to in the comments!

BOOKS

1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: This book gives you all the basics on pregnancy, without any fluff or strong opinions. Obviously since it’s authored by Mayo Clinic, all of the information presented is backed by organizations like the ACOG and CDC — so you can trust that you’re getting the facts. I actually finished this book a couple months ago but recently started re-reading sections of it because I found the information so relevant.

2. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: This book was a bit of a beast, but overall I found it informative and hopefully useful in the future (we’ll see!). Because I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, I read every.single.page… but looking back, I think that skimming and spot-reading certain chapters would have been a better choice. Although the author goes into a lot of detail, I found his overall approach and philosophy practical and (hopefully!) manageable. 

3. The Baby Sleep Solution: Unlike Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, this book is as no-frills as it gets when it comes to tackling the topic of sleeping and feeding. The author, Suzy, basically presents a black-and-white, step-by-step formula for sleeping and feeding in under 200 pages. Her approach is quite similar to the one described in Healthy Sleep Habits, but drilled down to the basics. I’m glad I read both books back-to-back because I thought they complemented each other quite well.

4. Mayo Clinic Guide to Baby’s First Year: Similar to the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy book, this one is a straightforward read with a bunch of sound information. I’ve only read up to the first six months (because how much information can my brain retain at this point?) but so far have found the information solid.

5. Parenting, MD: Guide to Baby’s First Year: This is a quick read and reminded me a lot of The Baby Sleep Solution in terms of style. Author Natasha Raja, MD (who is also a mom!) lays out the quick facts you need and nothing else. I love how she structured the book into week-by-week and month-by-month chapters. Although this wasn’t my favorite book to read during pregnancy, I imagine it will become a go-to resource in the future because it’s so straightforward. 

PODCASTS

1. The Birthful Podcast: I’ve listened to a LOT of different pregnancy and birth podcasts, and keep coming back to this one! The host, Adriana, has a bit of a pitchy voice but if you can get past that then you’ll hear some pretty good information. She tackles a lot of interesting topics — some of which were really useful and informative for me, some of which I wasn’t interested in at all — so filter through the hundreds of episodes she’s done and choose which topics are relevant to you. 

2. The Birth Hour: I went through a phase in the second trimester where I became really interested in the whole labor process (because I hear, you know, that it’s kind of a big deal). This podcast series is straightforward and simple — it’s real women telling their birth stories, and nothing else! I also appreciate that the host, Bryn, doesn’t bombard the listener with ads, endorsements, or opinions. She also doesn’t focus on a certain birth “style” or promote a specific birth plan. Each episode gets straight to the story within a few minutes.

3. PregTASTIC radio: I loved this podcast and have listened to dozens of episodes! The hosts do a nice job of mixing up light chit chat with pregnant women panelists and also tackling more serious and in-depth topics related to pregnancy and birth. The only “catch” with this podcast is that the PregTASTIC team stopped recording in 2012… so while the information presented in the podcasts is still mostly relevant, I feel like parts were outdated. If it wasn’t for the five-year time lag, though, this would be my favorite podcast of the bunch! 

4. Common Sense Pregnancy: Similar to Birthful, I feel like you have to filter your episode choices carefully when it comes to this podcast series — but there are some real gems if you look hard enough! The host, Jeanne, is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience delivering babies. So, she has some great stories and insight and also tracks down some very qualified and experienced interviewees. She does tend to ramble a bit about politics and social issues in between interviews, so be prepared for a few detours in each episode! And ps, be sure to listen to her first episode, where she interviews the founders of Another Mother Runner! 

5. Informed Pregnancy Podcast: Dr. Elliot Berlin has one of the dryest, most monotone voices on the planet, but his podcast is good nonetheless! Unfortunately he doesn’t record episodes often, but some of the episodes he has produced have been my favorite to date. I especially recommend listening to his series of episodes on vaccines, where he has two highly qualified pediatricians argue the issue back and forth. He also has a fun three-part series on pregnancy and postpartum fitness!

Hopefully this list will help other moms-to-be! Pregnant ladies and mommas: What other resources should I dig into over the next five weeks? Right now I have Happiest Baby on the Block on my list!