Just for the record, I am not pregnant. But yes, someday I do hope to become a mother, and I like to keep an eye out for good books on pregnancy and parenting. Here are a few on the earlier end of the spectrum:
My favorite pregnancy book is How to Have a Baby and Still Live in the Real World by Jane Symons. I find it’s a great mix of medical and practical advice, and assumes that you have some intelligence and a sense of humor. Symons looks at preserving your sanity as well as your baby’s health, and there are great retro illustrations.
The standard, most-stolen-from-libraries book on the topic, first on every other pregnancy book’s bibliography, which I haven’t read, is What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Some people like it; some find the tone a bit condescending (per Amazon). The Tome, which you can get for free from State Farm, is The Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy and Baby’s First Year. (I think the password is “good neighbor”, but I’m not sure.) This has all of the medical details, written in doctor’s office pamphlet style. It assumes that you want simple, easy answers to everything, so all directions are black and white: don’t drink any alcohol or herbal teas while pregnant or try to conceive, for example. I find this annoying, personally, but it’s great as a reference.
For Daddies-to-Be, there are two easy-to-find books out there. They are both great in their own way.
First, The Expectant Father by Armin Brott. This is aimed at the Sensitive Involved Daddy, with short section month-by-month on what’s going on with baby and mother, and longer sections on Daddy’s emotional state and things to do to stay involved. I found it a good reminder for me that becoming a daddy is a big deal, too.
If, however, you are female and don’t think your sweetie would sit down to read a book of more than 100 pages on a baby, then the book that you want is My Boys Can Swim by Ian Davis. This book is hilariously funny, and designed to be read in an hour or less. It skips over all that internal development stuff, concentrating on the external things that the dad-to-be will have to deal with himself.
I had a friend looking for books like this for her Spanish-speaking husband. I was unable to find any books specifically for expectant fathers in Spanish (might help if I spoke the language.) But I did find a couple of good general pregnancy and parenting books:
Esperando a mi bebe: Una guia del embarazo para la mujer latina by Lourdes Alcaniz Criticas put this on their best of 2003 list, and it’s been on the Spanish bestseller list as well. It got high marks especially for addressing physiological and cultural issues particular to Latinas, and includes traditional Latin foods in its dietary reccs.
Guia de la salud infantil para padres: Desde el embarazo hasta los 5 anos by Steven Dowshen Again, a starred review in Criticas. This is a translation of Parenting Guide: Child Health from Birth to Age Five. They thought it had good comprehensive advice, reasonably priced (under $20). It seems to deal mostly with the post-birth child.