Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been reading up on the matter. Besides the many blogs and forums I’ve been visiting, I’ve also managed to build up a pregnancy library at home! These are the books I’ve been reading:
What to Expect when you’re expecting
by Sandee E. Hathaway, Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff
This was the very first pregnancy book I bought and I quite like it. It has a lot of useful information in a Q&A format and it’s divided up my months (at the beginning of each month it says from which week until which it goes, e.g. 6th month, weeks 24 to 28). It is very useful for reference, but maybe not so much if you get obsessed or paranoid with possible complications (fortunately not my case) because it does describe just about everything that can go wrong. It also has a chapter for dads-to-be (which R has not even looked at yet!) and other useful info. I definitely recommend it for reference.
Cuidados Naturais na Gravidez
by Zita West (a Portuguese translation of Natural Pregnancy)
I have Claudia to thank for this book and the next! 🙂 This book also gives useful information on the various stages of pregnancy, but is more focused on a natural approach, meaning alternative therapies, nutritional information, etc. It’s very interesting and backed with practical and useful tips. It is not bible size like what to expect, so it is easier to consult. I love the natural approach to pregnancy symptoms (and pregnancy in general) and I think it gives a very good introduction to alternative therapies that can be used, such as homeopathic remedies, massages, osteopathy and hypnotherapy.
Agenda da Grávida
This book was lent to me by Claudia and I believe it was the main one she used during her pregnancy last year. It is a week by week guide to pregnancy, with a calendar section each week that you can fill out with your own notes. What I love the best is that Claudia has filled out some of her stuff and since we are due for around the same time (with 2 yrs difference), it is interesting to see we have been going through much of the same. Personally, I don’t think I would actually buy this because most of this information is available on-line (in English-speaking sites mostly) and can be received through newsletters. However, I have been reading every week because it is very easy and the information is very useful. I think this would be especially useful for those who have a more limited access to Internet or that would like information in Portuguese.
HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method
By Marie Mongan
I bought this in December and have been slowly reading through. This isn’t one of those books that focuses on what is happening during your pregnancy, but mostly on labour preparation. Now, don’t get put off by the title! I have heard many people swear by this method and it really does seem to help with labour if, like me, you plan to do it as natural as possible and (hopefully) without an epidural.
The Book promises “pain free” delivery, but to be honest… I don’t believe in that! Not entirely. I think the basis for this method is very interesting and it’s excellent to help you overcome the fear of birthing most women have (and that many times is what leds to more stressful and painful deliveries). That said, I think you have to filter through what is said and take bits and pieces from it. I’m all for natural, but I think sometimes the book can go a bit over board with some demands, etc. That said, I’ve found it very useful so far, but can only comment further once I finish it (and after the birt, of course!). It comes with a cd with a relaxation track and a brth visualisation track. I’ve been using the relaxation cd before bed, which I’m not sure is a good idea because I think I’ve only been able to hear the full track once or twice. Although I do suppose that means it works 😉 I will definitely be writing more on this later on.
Attendre bebe… autrement
by de Piraud-Rouet Catherine, Sampers-Gendre Emmanuelle
I only came across this one recently and I had a real debate with myself on whether or not it was worth spending more money on yet another pregnancy book. But I flicked through it and thought this is really for me. It’s in french and is more about the situation in France. However, things are similar in Belgium (to an extent) and there is some (sparse) info on Belgium as well.
This would have been my bible had I bought it earlier on. It has a lot of info on “alternative” birthing methods, natural pregnancy, birthing plans, etc. However, the information is given to you in a very matter-of-fact way, not excluding the more medicalised solutions and it even has a part on c-sections. It also has an example of a birth story in various settings: c-section, medicalised, hospital but less medicalised, home birth, etc. I really like this book and since it’s in french, it does help to get more familiar with the lingo. It’s just too bad I didn’t find this earlier… I think it would have made a great difference.
Besides these books, I also have a booklet by the Brussels Childbirth Trust entitled “Having your baby in Belgium“.I definitely recommend getting hold on this if you are an expat in Belgium (Brussels in particular).
I also recommend the Pregnancy in Belgium evenings hosted by the BCT in Brussels.
I’ve also been going through a booklet given to me at the maternity called Baby Boom. I believe it is linked to a baby expo and it has way too much advertising in it. It does have some useful Belgian info though.
Every now and then I buy a French magazine called Neuf Mois. This is mostly to keep my magazine addiction going ;). Actually, it has useful articles and good product reviews.