Book Club

Musings about what to read from our community

Real Food for Pregnancy, Lily Nichols

This was a useful book to read. I thought it would just provide assurance that my existing diet was going to serve me and my baby just fine throughout pregnancy, but I actually made a number of tweaks after reading it. For me this was incorporating far more meat (bone marrow curry, anyone?!) and eggs into my diet. She goes into the detail of each important nutrient and what exactly it does for you and the baby, which I found really interesting and motivating in terms of making the changes necessary. I took a “take what serves you and leave the rest” approach with this book - there are very, very many recommendations in it and Nichol’s preference for only organic, local, animal products, a low-carb diet, and slowly-cooked, home prepared meals at every sitting is probably impractical for most people to apply in full.

Beth, 24 weeks pregnant

Expecting Better, Emily Oster

I loved Emily's economist's approach to the advice and folkore that you're hit with when pregnant. Charting her own pregnancy journey through from conception to birth, she covers the scientific studies that shape advice and sets them against the economist mindset of weighing up the outcomes. The results are reassuring and revelatory, as well as being written by a first time mother on her own journey. If you're stuck on how to make decisions about your pregnancy, you might just find this useful! 

Rose, 22 weeks pregnant

Mindful Pregnancy, Tracy Donegan

A good-looking book that is easy to read or dip in and out of, coffee-table style. They way it is set out made for a simple, relaxed read. It has pages of physical exercises, tips on useful foods/drinks for different stages of pregnancy, and hypnobirthing visualization ideas, some of which I will definitely be putting to use when the time comes. Whilst it’s not a “pregnancy bible” in that it wouldn’t stand alone as the only source of knowledge on this important time, it would make a sweet gift for an expectant mother who has already got a basic pregnancy library or done some reading on the medical side of things.

Beth, 26 weeks pregnant

Nobody Told Me, Hollie McNish

'Nobody Told Me' is a mixture of diary entries and poems written by spoken word poet Hollie McNish. The book offers a candid, wise, down to earth insight into Hollie's experience of pregnancy and early years motherhood as she raises her child in Britain today. She covers things in detail which I hadn't heard much about in other fora; for example the visceral lived experience of the mother's body post partum; experiences of judgement around breastfeeding in public spaces and the woman's body; and nurturing the partner's relationship with the child, in particular how this relates to the mother's independence as the child gets older. Throughout, Hollie's writing is humorous, honest and vulnerable, and as the title suggests covers important topics which are often not spoken about enough. I have recommended this book to several friends who have related to it quite profoundly in their own ways. Ultimately it's a really interesting read, and I think it's also worth taking a look at Hollie performing some of her spoken word if you can!

Victoria, 33 weeks pregnant

The Fourth Trimester, Kimberley Ann Johnson

I absolutely loved this book. I’ve just ordered my own copy as I know I will want to read it cover to cover again when my own “fourth trimester” starts to approach. It makes a compelling case for taking everything extremely slowly for the first months after birth, from physical recovery to socializing. The author gives examples from cultures where the mother is herself “mothered” by the community for that important period, and the benefits, as she sets them out, are persuasive. It is also stuffed full of practical tips so that you can start setting yourself up for a fourth trimester of rest, even before birth. At the end of each chapter and in an annex to the book she sets out questions to think through and logistical details to get in place. As a secondary but useful benefit it has already made me think differently and more conscientiously about how I interact with and support other new mums and dads (with the basic take-away being interact less but lean in with practical support more). Part of me thinks this should be mandatory reading for all of society and I certainly wish I myself had read it long ago.

Beth, 28 weeks pregnant