The following recommended reading is merely that – a recommended list of reading for pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting and beyond. Some of the books deserve comments about how wonderful they are so the italicized comments are my own opinions about each recommendation. Reading is so important and valuable – for women, children and families.

I strongly believe reading is a lifelong adventure.

Interested in other non-bookish recommendations (podcasts, cookbooks, instagram accounts)…scroll to the bottom of the page!

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Photo by Wallace Chuck on

Books on pregnancy…

  • Babies are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered by Rebecca Dekker
    • This was my favorite read of 2021. It should be mandatory reading for all birth providers and everyone involved in birth work. Rebecca talks candidly about the obstetric healthcare system, obstetric violence, evidence based birth and the need to change the culture of obstetric care. Rebecca is also the founder of
    • Read my book review here!
  • Birth and Power: A Savage Enquiry Revised by Wendy Savage
  • Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin
    • A stark reminder of how birth should be and the interventions that often intrude into an otherwise normal process. An excellent read.
  • Childbirth Wisdom: From the World’s Oldest Societies by Judith Goldsmith
  • Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Reed
  • Creating Your Birth Plan: The Defining Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth by Marsden Wagner and Stephanie Gunning
  • Effective Birth Preparation: Your Practical Guide to a Better Birth by Maggie Howell 
  • Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley
  • How to Avoid an Unnecessary Cesarean: A Handbook for Women Who Want a Natural Childbirth by Helen Churchill and Wendy Savage
  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
    • Excellent, heartfelt, REAL stories about natural labor and childbirth, with emphasis on minimal interventions and healthy body/mind connection for the woman, fetus/infant and family.
  • Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond by Nancy Bardacke
    • My #1 recommendation to women asking for the book to help them successfully prepare for pregnancy, birth and postpartum (and beyond). If I could hand this book out at every new OB visit, I would.
  • Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel
    • An excellent resource for the mama that wants to deliver in the hospital but equally desires a natural birth.
  • Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily Nichols
  • Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols
    • Recommended by a blog reader!
  • The Faceless Cesarean by Caroline Oblasser
  • The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin
    • Excellent read for any person planning support a woman in labor. My husband even read this while I was IN LABOR with my daughter!
  • Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein

Books on breastfeeding…

  • Breastfeeding (A Guide for the Medical Profession) by Ruth & Robert Lawrence (Text Book)
  • Breastfeeding in Combat Boots by Robin Roche-Paull
  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett
  • Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk by Stephanie Casemore.
  • Dr. Mom (Guide to Breastfeeding) by Marianne Neifert, M.D. 
  • Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin
  • The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Marianne Neifert (La Leche League International)
    • My personal favorite for breastfeeding. Easy to find at a used bookstore or garage sale. I didn’t read this until my first was 6 months old and I wished I had read it before she was even born! It answered so many questions about breastfeeding after 6 months and nursing/sleeping changes with a babe!
  • Making More Milk: The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide by Diana West & Lisa Marasco

Books about the postpartum period…

  • Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers by Karen Kleiman
  • The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson

Books about midwifery and birth…

  • Babies are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered by Rebecca Dekker
    • This was my favorite read of 2021. It should be mandatory reading for all birth providers and everyone involved in birth work. Rebecca talks candidly about the obstetric healthcare system, obstetric violence, evidence based birth and the need to change the culture of obstetric care. Rebecca is also the founder of
  • BIRTH: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy
  • Birth in Four Cultures: A Crosscultural Investigation of Childbirth in Yucatan, Holland, Sweden and the United States by Brigitte Jordan
  • Birth Models that Work by Robbie Floyd-Davis
  • Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
  • Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings by Valerie Lee
  • Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Hearts by Carol Leonard
  • Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics of Change by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Christine Barbara Johnson
  • Midwifery for Expectant Parents: A Modern Guide to Choosing the Birth That’s Right for You by Aubre Thompkins, CNM
  • Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience By Elizabeth Davis and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
  • PUSHED: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Books for midwifery students…

  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
    • If you have ever wondered “How does that other person do all those things?”, then this is the book for you. I loved the audiobook. I love everything Laura does, but this is my personal favorite and I think, the best book she’s put out to date.
  • A Pocket Guide to Clinical Midwifery: The Efficient Midwife by Lauren Dutton, Jessica Densmore and Meredith Turner
    • My most used desktop reference. Midwifery schools should make this pocket guide mandatory for all students!
  • Babies are Not Pizzas: They’re Born, Not Delivered by Rebecca Dekker
    • This was my favorite read of 2021. It should be mandatory reading for all birth providers and everyone involved in birth work. Rebecca talks candidly about the obstetric healthcare system, obstetric violence, evidence based birth and the need to change the culture of obstetric care. Rebecca is also the founder of
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • Debt Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • If you’re looking for how to get more down in small periods of time, this is a deep dive into the undistracted world of productivity that you didn’t know existed. This was so valuable during my DNP program. Cal has a lot of other books as well – he’s worth following.
  • Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy
    • An oldie but a goodie. Tackle that to do list like a pro and be ready to knock it out of the park. This advice is just as golden today as when the book was published. It’s a short read too and a great stocking stuffer.
  • I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam
  • Oxorn Foote Human Labor and Birth (6th Edition) by Glenn Posner, Amanda Black, et al.
    • Pelvimetry is a skill that’s going out of style. This is the book that I think teaches it best. You can’t beat the illustrations. I hope they never stop publishing it.
  • Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor
    • Awesome read for anyone looking for a time management book through a gospel lens. I loved how Jordan talks about how Jesus worked and viewed work during his time on Earth.
  • Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters by Laura Vanderkam
    • Love Laura and this newbie to her collection from 2022. She speaks to the power of habits as well. If I had implemented some of these as a student, I probably would have been more structured in my studying and habits. As a parent now, these breathe a lot of life into otherwise very nonstop life.
  • Women’s Gynecologic Health (3rd Edition) by Kerri Durnell Schuiling and Frances Likis

Books on parenting…

  • Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Fit to Burst: Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic
    • One of my favorite books for young mamas – short, easy to read, and full of wisdom about the grace of God!
  • Habits for the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley
    • This reframed a lot of daily habits in our life in 2023. It made me examine how little habits throughout the day can help point toward God. We implemented family movie night and nightly catechisms for my two year old with huge success.
  • Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure
  • Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic
    • Similar to the comment above – short, sweet and a breath of fresh air in motherhood!
  • Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
  • Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small
  • Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake
    • Easily my most favorite book of 2021. If you need some help with finding a new way to say all the things you’ve been saying over and over without change of heart or mind in your littles, this is the book. See my post on this book here.
  • Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God’s Will for Their Lives by Jodie Berndt
  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
    • Love this book. Shauna is a talented writer and an honest mama. Any mama would benefit from the hope, love and strength Shauna pours out of this book.
  • Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch
    • Need a book with a well crafted cell phone contract for you tweens? This is it, and so much more.
  • Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions by James McKenna
  • The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby – From Birth to Age Two by William and Martha Sears
  • The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
  • The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
    • A great book on how to communicate with a toddler. I found the takeaways easy to master and keep a few of these in my back pocket for the worst tantrums.
  • The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber
  • The Read-Aloud Family by Jim Trelease
    • Probably my favorite book of 2018. The importance and long term effects of reading to your children are endless.
  • The Read-Aloud Handbook by Sarah Mackenzie
    • A cousin of the book above, but more important, a modern day how to read aloud to your children with outstanding book recommendations for every age. We’ll be referencing this one in our house for years to come.
  • The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin
  • The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
    • In the very beginning of this book, there is an analogy about keeping your child’s mind in the middle of the river – not in the rapids or the weeds near a still bank, but the middle of a smoothly flowing river. This analogy was a huge awakening for me as a parent! Great read overall.
  • The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby’s Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward by Frans X Plooijand Hetty van Rijt
    • Love this book so much – I regularly include this in baby gifts to new mamas! They also have a great app!
  • Your Amazing Newborn by Klaus, Marshall and Phyllis Klaus
  • Your Baby is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby by Kevin Nugent

Books for women or about women’s health…

  • Burnout by by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski
    • An easy read but a huge takeaway. The first third of the book will change your life.
  • Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
  • Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristen Armstrong
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    • A wonderful book about informed consent and a woman who unknowingly donated her cells to research that spanned decades.
  • The Power of Lift by Melinda Gates
    • A book unrelated to parenting but absolutely inspiring. If you want a look into the world of a smart, fierce and path blazing woman, read Melinda’s story about global health and international ministry. You simply can’t walk away from this book with same views as before you opened the pages.

Books on healthcare, public health or global health…

  • Better by Atul Gawande
    • Another hit by Dr. Gawande. This book examines how we must all do better in the details of healthcare – from a polio outbreak to reducing infection rates in a skilled surgeon, a must read for all in health care.
  • Factfulness by Hans Rosling
    • A book recommended off the What Should I Read Next podcast! It’s full of facts and data about the state of the world. The big takeaway: the world is a lot better off than you think it is!
  • On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor’s Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier by Thomas A Sims
    • This was one of my favorite books of 2019. A opts to join the Public Health Service instead of join the cause for Vietnam. The PHS sends him to Nome, Alaska in the 1970s. Amazing stories of frontier, grit and pure courage.
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
    • A great peek into the mind of a surgeon frustrated by the weaknesses of the U.S. health care system – and a plan for how to make it better. A quick, captivating read for anyone that’s ever received health care.

Want even more? Try these other awesome non-pregnancy or non-bookish recommendations that I recommend on a regular basis to patients, mamas, colleagues and friends:


  • From Freezer to Table by Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer
    • Love, love, love this book. This cookbook is one of the only reasons my family eats good, home cooked meals during the week. I regularly include this book with baby gifts and wedding gifts.
  • From Freezer to Cooker by Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer
    • This book released January 14th, 2020 and the recipes are delicious, nutritious and easy to make! We use my crockpot at least three times a week to make the recipes in this short, we’re fans. Get your hands on a copy today.




Have a great book or resource to share? Send me an email at