Books for Pregnant/Parenting Teens

Last week I wrote about a book for pregnant teens, and said I wish I had something iron clad to recommend instead. I’ve thought about that over the ensuing week, and realized that while I don’t have one single book to recommend, I do have several that when put together I think might cover all the bases. Here they are, in no particular order:

You Look Too Young to be a Mom Edited by Deborah Davis. I’ve briefly recommended this one before, but it will always bear repeating. Frankly, I’m surprised looking back over my past entries that I haven’t yet devoted an entire post to this fabulous book. But never fear, Gentle Reader, that post will be forth-coming! The second line of the title really says it all: Teen Mothers Speak Out on Love, Learning, and Success. It’s a must-read for a young mama just starting her journey.

The Essential Hip Mama: writing from the cutting edge of parenting Edited by Ariel Gore and Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers Edited by Ariel Gore and Bee Lavender. These are both good follow-ups to Deborah Davis’s book, and cover much of the same ground. But teen mothers just can’t get enough real-life, supporting images of young mothers.

The Hip Mama Survival Guide by Ariel Gore. This one is a bit dated (it was published in 1998), but it’s still got some good punch to it. It’s really just a fabulously supportive guide for young parenting. It doesn’t cover all of the physical basics – like whether an infant having a fever of 101 is a problem or not – but it does a fabulous job of addressing the emotional hurdles that young mothers run into.

You might be able to tell that I like Ariel Gore’s stuff. 🙂 Her fabulous, 15-year-old zine can be found here. And I loved this book – cried as I read it the first time because it resonated so strongly with me- called The Mother Trip: Hip Mama’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood She also has a book about parenting teenagers which I found good, if not as fabulously grand as her parenting books for young parents.

After this, you need to move on to books for new parents regardless of their age. Here are some parenting books I really like and think should be staples on any parent’s bookshelf when their children are young:

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. This is a fabulous book that talks about child development and how parents can ideally support it from birth through age six.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Arlene Hathaway, Sandee E. Murkoff, and Heidi Eisenberg. This is just a basic book for when a young mama has questions. If she likes it, there’s a whole series that’s decent. There are many others that will do in it’s place if this one doesn’t appeal. For example, The Pregnancy Book: A Month-by-Month Guide by William and Martha Sears will also provide quite nicely.

And then, because most of these books are written with the mother in mind, my favorite book to recommend to soon-to-be-Papas is The Expectant Father by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash. This fabulous book goes into the details of how to become a daddy and a fabulous support for the soon-t0-be-mama. It’s the only book I take it upon myself to give to every soon-to-be father I know.

Hopefully this list will get you started on providing a fabulous library of parenting books for your favorite fabulous pregnant or parenting teen!

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. You’d actually recommend What To Expect to a pregnant teen? Don’t you think she’s scared enough already?

    Reducing a pregnant teen to a cowering hypochondriac is just plain sadistic. Funny, but sadistic.

  2. Thanks, Bob, that’s a helpful comment. Pardon me while I roll my eyes.

    Yes, I think new parents need some sort of book about baby’s physical health and development. What To Expect is one of the most common and I think it’s basically fine. Not without it’s problems, sure, but I haven’t found a baby’s health book that I love.

    So what book do you (or anyone else) recommend to fill that gap?

  3. Hi Karen,

    Just wanted to thank you for the kind–and very flattering–words about my book, The Expectant Father. I’ve just discovered your blog–I think we should keep in touch.

    Best of luck,

    Armin Brott

  4. I read What to Expect the First Year and I thought it was ridiculous–it recommended weaning a baby from the breast at ten months because cow’s milk is more suited to a human child’s development!!!

  5. Yes, Alice, I agree there are problems with the What To Expect series. Do you have another book you could recommend in it’s place?

  6. I want to echo the praise of Armin Brott’s The Expectant Father. It’s the perfect gift for a man who’s going to become a dad. It’s nice to get something for him (not her or even them). And it’s a great reminder that this is not all the mom show. He’s got some work to be doing too.

    I can’t say enough good about the book. The writing is clear and interesting. The topics covered are extensive. I’ve bought multiple copies over the years for co-workers, friends, and family. It’s a great book.

  7. The Sears books about Pregnancy and Birth are really great. The Baby Book is also really good, but it may be too pie-in-the-sky for a lot of moms.

    I liked The Nursing Mother’s Companion.

  8. Regardless of the age, being Pregnant and ignorant at the same time is a definitive spell for disaster. A friend of mine lost one of her twin because of her ignorance. So read up of the books recommended and get informed.

  9. I also recently wrote a book intended to be read not only by unwed, pregnant teenagers, but by anyone who loves them, e.g. their parents, siblings, friends, etc.

    You can read more about my book on my blog …

    I also have a facebook page entitled, Pregnant at 16, with additional information.

    Lori Ghiata Bowser

  10. Addendum to my recent comment here.

    The name of my book is: Pregnant at 16 (by Lori Ghiata Bowser). It is available now online at,,,,,, among many other online bookstores.

  11. Lori,

    If you are interested in sending me a copy to review here, please feel free to e-mail me (


  12. Karen: I’d be happy to send you a copy of my book. I just sent you an e-mail. – Lori

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