Books for mamas-to-be

Whether you’re a new-mom-to-be on a quest for fresh knowledge, a friend looking for a fun baby-shower book or a grandparent in search of a perfect Mother’s Day gift for your daughter, we hope you’ll find something in this mix to pique your interest. 

Ma Doula: A Story Tour of Birth

You’ll hear a lot of birth stories during your pregnancy — be they invited tales from caring friends or harrowing, unwelcome narratives from total strangers. 

Stephanie Sorensen’s recent memoir ($14.95), meanwhile, offers a different, more worldly perspective. Her tales of birth, gathered during 35 years of midwifery and doula work, span continents and cultures, including the Twin Cities’ Ethiopian and Somali communities.

Ina May Gaskin, perhaps the world’s most famous midwife, said: “Ma Doula is a wonderful book for parents-to-be who love birth stories that provide a look at the great range of what can happen during pregnancy, labor and birth. Stephanie Sorensen is a brilliant storyteller. Her book is full of wisdom and tenderness."

The Pregnancy Encyclopedia

Covering more than 350 large-format pages, this heavy hardcover ($40) is packed with information, 300 topics in all. And it’s uniquely delivered — almost entirely in a question-and-answer format. 

Like so many other books by publisher DK, this reference book is science-based, but also glossy, polished and pretty with full-color photographs, illustrations and infographics, going from pre-conception to early newborn care. 

Amazing Moms

Wild animals don’t overthink things like we humans do, and there are some powerful messages and parallels in their subtle stories in this lighthearted book ($9.95), subtitled Love and Lessons From the Animal Kingdom. 

Quotations, captions and short narratives offer wisdom and fun facts about animal mothers and babies, paired with National Geographic wildlife photography.

Zero to Five

Should you talk to your pregnant belly? Isn’t that going to feel weird? 

According to author-mom Tracy Cutchlow — and science — the answer is, “Yes, and absolutely.”

This delightfully conversational, spiral-bound parenting guide, subtitled 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science, ($19.95) is just the thing for new families. Even time-starved, overwhelmed parents could read it in two-minute increments. It’s also beautifully illustrated by an award-winning photojournalist, which means you can leave it out on your coffee table and feel no shame.

Mom & Me

Baby books are fab for catching statistics and moments that, at the time, seem indelible, but are actually really easy to forget. After you get through those early years, there’s this series of parent-child journals for ages 6 and older ($24.99), which also includes Dad & Me, Grandpa & Me and Grandma & Me, too. Also known as guided memory books, they’re part of the Get Kids Writing series from U.K.-based Journals of Lifetime.