Pinky McKay’s “Sleeping Like a Baby”

I go back and re-read this book any time I’m starting to doubt what I’m doing with my baby’s sleep. Pinky is a lactation consultant and somewhat of a baby sleep and parenting guru. She has written a wonderful book on gentle and nurturing ways of helping your baby sleep. She explains the science of infant sleep, your child’s development, how to develop sleep associations and how to help soothe your baby to sleep. I found her book both informative and reassuring. I would highly recommend it to all parents who are struggling with their child’s sleep, especially those (like me) who become riddled with self-doubt and confusion. Read it to regain your confidence and reconnect with your baby.

The Active Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy – Aneema Van Groenou

This is a fantastic book that doesn’t dumb down the importance of being active during pregnancy, and goes into great detail about the safety and appropriateness of many different sports and activities. It explains the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, precautions, and has recommendations as to what to start if you were fairly inactive before getting pregnant. It then discusses a whole heap of different activities (including hiking, surfing, swimming, snowboarding, horseriding…) and whether or not they are appropriate in pregnancy depending on the trimester you are in and your current level of expertise. No absolute recommendations are made (except, notably, for diving, which is not recommended at all during pregnancy) – just levels of risk to consider ie low, medium or high. I really like the fact that it allows you to make an informed decision about what you want to do during pregnancy and gives plenty of practical advice about making exercise safer and more comfortable. It doesn’t just tell you that walking, swimming and yoga are excellent exercise during pregnancy and leave it at that. As with many books that I recommend, I like the fact that it’s written by a medical doctor and hence, in my opinion, gives a balanced view to the picture. I highly recommend this inspiring book to all women, even those who didn’t do any exercise before pregnancy.

The Whole Pregnancy Handbook – Dr Joel Evans, MD

More like my Whole Pregnancy Bible! I came across this book before I fell pregnant, and it has seen me through the preconception period and entire pregnancy. If patients come in to see me and are thinking of conceiving or are pregnant, I always refer them to this handbook. I refer to the chapters on nutrition extensively during my consultations with pregnant or preconception patients.

I really admire Joel Evans. He’s an obstetrician who adopts a truly holistic approach to his practice which incorporates nutrition, mind-body medicine, and complementary therapies. He comes across as an extremely gentle, caring and nurturing caregiver from his writing. I also like the fact that he is an obstetrician and hence all his advice is very safe.

The handbook explains mind-body medicine, and covers pre-conception and pregnancy health comprehensively, with chapters devoted to nutrition, living and working while pregnant, exercise during pregnancy, medical complications of pregnancy, and common symptoms during pregnancy. The pregnancy timeline was particularly useful, as are the chapters on early pregnancy and late pregnancy. Dr Evans also provides suggestions for treating common pregnancy ailments using both safe Western medical treatments, gentle changes in lifestyle, and safe complementary treatments where appropriate (such as acupuncture or herbal treatments).

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who is thinking of falling pregnant or is already pregnant. It is a wonderful read and contains so many pearls of wisdom.