THRIVING IN Pregnancy: The 6 Best books I Read

  1. What to Expect when Expecting My oncologist said if there was a book to read on pregnancy this is it. And she was very encouraging about being my own advocate, especially how people and some doctors tiptoe around cancer history and can sometimes jump to conclusions and offer more stress than solve the (pregnancy) issues at hand.

The 5th edition in print offers current information for today’s lifestyles from whether spin classes are safe to the suitability of your Paleo diet before conception. The information is comprehensive with chapters detailing what to look out for month by month, with sound advice along with an updated “For Fathers and partners” sidebar relevant to each point in the pregnancy journey with medical advice and the wide options available.

2. Why Hypnobirthing Matters is written by my friend’s doula and birth coach in London and she delivered her second baby in her own home. She sent me the book and I initially took it with a pinch of salt expecting it to be all new age and hippy woo, but found it immensely helpful with plenty of good advice. I used this in conjunction with the Wise Hippo birthing class.

3. Expecting Better by Emily Oster debunking old wive’s tales, myths and paranoia around pregnancy with data, statistics and facts. It arms you with facts and figures through rigorous studies and gives you the confidence to listen to your own body, be your own advocate and do what’s right for you.

This book is a wonderfully well-researched resource that empowers Mothers. Oster is an award-winning economist and professor and challenges all the myths and recommendations pregnant women are given, backed by solid data.

You get hard facts in an easily digestible format. The info is very reassuring and empowering, explaining the (lack of) effects of caffeine and the occasional glass of wine, no shame in eating fresh and safe sushi, to the trendy commerce of private cord banking—there’s only 1 in 20,000 chance of using the cord blood you banked for your child’s sibling — in short, it’s become a commercial enterprise.

I would have loved to donate my cord blood. I’ve had two friends who survived cancer thanks to a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, as a cancer survivor, my cord blood is of no use. I think it’s beautiful to birth a life that can immediately save another in dire need of a transplant.

4. Cribsheet by Emily Oster Loved her first book so much I had to read her second navigating pregnancy and motherhood. Information and knowledge is power and it helps you make calculated choices and informed decisions. . The book doesn’t provide any one size fit all answers but gives you all the tools and references to make decisions that work best for you and your family. 

5. Happiest baby on the block came highly recommended by a couple of friends. Bringing a newborn home from the hospital is unchartered waters for most parents. Dr Karp’s method of soothing unconsolable babies has been tried and tested over the years by many parents and has proven to work without fail. 

Dr Karp’s 5 “S”s method has also been covered in antenatal classes in Hong Kong. The book is an easy read, simple and informative with many case studies of different issues, along with testimonials on how all problems have been solved.

6. Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman

This bestseller is a great entertaining read and I’ve learnt more than a thing or two about how the French raise their kids. It’s a broad generalisation of course as I have seen some very poorly behaved French kids (just like not all French women are slim and chic as perpetuated as the Parisian stereotype). I am impressed with the way authority is established and their concept of cadre, setting rules and boundaries and have seen this in practice in real life so I know it to be true.

There’s flexibility, independence and adaptability in the way they raise their children. Dinner is late and not happening? That’s ok open a packet of crisps along with some aperatif snacks of savory spreads (rilette, smoked salmon and cheeses, paté etc) and that keeps the kids busy playing until it’s time to sit down at the table for a proper meal. They start them young on multi-course meals, which probably teaches patience and discipline on top of table manners.

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