Great Reads

Good books to read during your pregnancy.

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Frugal Family

In The Expectant Parents' Companion: Simplifying What to Do, Buy, or Borrow for an Easy Life with Baby, Kathleen Huggins' manifesto against the raging materialism that surrounds childbirth, the author distills what babies need: "loving attention, a mother's breast and near-constant contact"--not a spending spree. Most of the gear aimed at new parents relieves them of the need to pay attention to their babies, she says, and many pricey gadgets are rarely used. Most Valuable Tip: "You can truly get by with very little." (The Harvard Common Press, 2006; $12)

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Custom Birth

There's no best way to have a baby, but there may be a best way for you to have your baby, according to the utterly nonjudgmental The Birth That's Right for You: A Doctor and a Doula Help You Choose and Customize the Best Birth Option to Fit Your Needs. Authors Amen Ness, M.D., Lisa Gould Rubin, C.D., C.C.E., and Jackie Frederick-Berner reassure the reader that every woman handles labor differently based on her personality--and that each already has what it takes to have a satisfying delivery. MOST Valuable Tip: The plain and simple truth about birth plans: They just don't work. (McGraw-Hill, 2005; $15)