Book Review: The Babycenter Essential Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

The Babycenter Essential Guide to Pregnancy and Birth was one of two books I picked up upon learning that I was pregnant. I purchased it because it was fairly well reviewed and appeared fairly comprehensive in scope.  The book is separated into six parts:

  • The First Trimester: 0-13 weeks
  • The Second Trimester 14-27 weeks
  • The Third Trimester 28-41 weeks
  • Labor and Birth
  • Recovering from Childbirth: the First Six Weeks
  • Special Situations

Each of the trimester parts have the following chapters:

  • Your Pregnancy Week by Week
  • Your Health
  • Your Nutrition and Fitness
  • Your Emotions
  • The Rest of Your Life

Peppered throughout the book are sections called “Babycenter Buzz” which have actual experiences of members and “Just the Facts” which provide just that. I enjoyed the “babycenter buzz” sections because it was nice to read personal experiences from other women who had experienced pregnancy before. These personal stories add a nice touch to the book.

Part six contains one of my favorite chapters: “Is It Safe?” This chapter runs the gamut of most of the things a pregnant woman wonders about during pregnancy. It covers Health and Medicine, Treatments and Procedures, Household Chores (wouldn’t it be great if the book said all of these were unsafe and our partners had to do all the cleaning, lol,) Other Dangers, Fitness, Beauty, Sex, and Travel. While the book certainly can’t cover every permutation of safety, it does cover most of the common areas. Each entry has information from an expert-obstetrician or certified nurse-midwife.

The book also contains checklists like what to being to the hospital and a sample birth plan.

Although I found the information in the book very helpful, I found that it wasn’t as easy to find the information I was looking for in the book. My other pregnancy book was far more accessible for quick information, so I found myself using that book much more for a reference of first resort. After locating info in my other book I would take the time to find info in this book.


  • Comprehensive
  • Is It Safe Chapter
  • Personal anecdote features
  • Companion Website


  • Heavy & not very portable
  • Due to comprehensiveness & layout, information is not always easily found
  • Almost everything in the book is most likely found on the website (for free)

Would I recommend this book? Probably. I can’t give it a raving yes because I feel that you can get all the info in the book from the babycenter website and the only benefit of the book is that it is all contained in one (very heavy) volume. Having the book makes it more convenient than constantly searching on the internet. Plus the book may have info you might not have even thought to look up (which could be a good or a bad thing.) It’s a good solid reference, but not what I would consider an essential one.


Disclaimer: All items purchased by me. All opinions are my own.


1 Comment

  1. June 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    I read “Up the Duff” when I was pregnant. So funny. And informative.

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