Let's be honest, pregnancy can be a strange experience. Ankle swelling, weird cravings and the occasional complete existential crisis aside, it will be worth it.
And you are not alone. With 360,000 births a day, countless women are on the same journey. And thankfully, there is a lot of information to go around. A sisterhood of stories, some helpful, some funny and some heartwarming. But with so much information, where do you start?
We've scoured the web, read reviews and talked to mothers and doctors to come to our definitive list of what to read, watch and listen to when you are expecting.
Books and blogs
There are hundreds of books and blogs about pregnancy, and you can't read them all within 9 months. But some names come up again and again:
The Mayo Clinic - This much-extolled guide by the experts at a world leading health center is the perfect guide to pregnancy. Combining up to date clinical advice with a warm and personal tone, this book is a must.
Jenny McCarthy - Actress Jenny McCarthy pulls no punchlines in her hilarious and touching homage to pregnancy. Covering everything from the 'gross' to the down right funny, this New York Times best seller is the best friend you never had.
Starting from day one, this book gives you a running commentary on what to expect. Filled with expert tips from doctors, nurses, and midwives, as well as personal accounts from new mothers, this book deserves a place on your shelf.
Amy Morrison - This comprehensive blog offers advice on everything from breastfeeding to names, has a section just for the dads, and shares some touching stories. Gritty, down-to-earth and often lacking political correctness, Pregnantchicken is worth every minute.
Films and documentaries
If you want a slightly more digestible format, or just need a break, films and documentaries offer a more dramatic touch. Some serious, others hilarious, these films make for a great excuse to chow down on your latest craving:
(2008) - Starring comedy power couple Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, this romantic comedy is a hilarious reminder that there is no such thing as the perfect mum. Tackling tough subjects like infertility, surrogacy and balancing motherhood with work, there's nothing left off the table.
(1988) - Molly Ringwald stars as a struggling teen face with the daunting task of new motherhood. The film addresses the toils of teenage pregnancy, relationships, and cost. It also touches on the controversial topic of abortion, a subject often taboo.
(2007) - This outrageous comedy tells the story of an unexpected pregnancy and unmatched couple with an on-the-nose approach that will leave you in stitches. From the infamous childbirth scene to the realities of growing up, Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl make an unlikely poster couple for parents-to-be.
(2008) - This documentary explores the tribulations of giving birth in modern day America. Delving deep into the trenches of medicine vs nature, this film delivers a compelling and educational narrative.
If you are on the go, audio might be the answer. Your ears and future baby will thank you for subscribing to the following gems:
Where this podcast shines is its human approach, focussing mainly on the emotional journey of pregnancy. A must listen for those seeking answers.
This regular podcast showcases a simple approach, using evidence to help you make the best decision for your 'pregnancy and beyond.'
This podcast boasts an impressive archive of expert interviews, tips, and evidence based advice tried out by the public.
The explosion of social media means you can follow the experts and magazines at the touch of a button. Rather than compile an exhaustive list, we have featured our favorites below;
This popular magazine's Twitter is a powerhouse of useful tips, articles, and links to interviews and broadcasts.
Offers not just a day by day guide to pregnancy, but an active community of other pregnant women. Mixing clinical advice with up to date news, this site boasts not just information, but a chance to be part of a bigger family.
This world leading expert has been featured on television and is a regular contributor to written media. Her feed features not only information about pregnancy, but women's health as a whole.
What to avoid
People respond differently to information and what may worry one will seem little bothered to another. With this in mind, we have omitted some famous sources simply because of controversy.
For example, the popular book What to Expect when You are Expecting is often accused of presenting the remote risk of health problems as common.
And there you have it, our painstaking list of pregnancy essentials. As always, discuss any concern with your doctor, and the best of luck on your journey!