There was once a time when female writers like Louisa May Alcott and the Bronte sisters adopted male pseudonyms to disguise their gender and help them fit into the male-dominated literary world. Fortunately, today’s literature more proudly celebrates strong, female authors. Here, we’ve curated a list of seven must-read books written by women for women. These books, specific to women’s health, address everything from pregnancy to sexual health, menopause, and more. Whether you’re looking for guidance or just a good read, this list has you covered.
By Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, OB/GYN
You may recognize this book’s author from her popular TikTok channel, which discusses the health topics you wish you learned in high school. Dr. Lincoln’s book provides evidence-backed advice for young women on topics such as birth control, menstrual cups, and hormones along with visual infographics and illustrations to help make it fun and engaging. Written in the same light tone as her social media content, it makes discussing taboo topics like vaginal health and sexual education feel approachable.
By Leslie Schrock
This modern guide to pregnancy provides an interesting perspective on pregnancy and postpartum as it was written in real-time during pregnancy by its author, Leslie Shrock. The book offers a mix of scientific studies vetted by OB/GYNs, practical advice, and personal experiences to take you through what the author dubs the “five trimesters,” from conception to postpartum. It includes an overview of what’s happening with you and your baby during each trimester, symptoms and solutions, helpful reminders for your partner, and checklists. A portion of the book’s proceeds also support maternal and child health organizations including Every Mother Counts and the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
By Dr. Jen Gunter
Written by an OB/GYN and best-selling author of “The Vagina Bible,” this book tackles some of the most stubborn myths surrounding menopause. Frustrated by the many stigmas and outdated ideas of menopause, Dr. Gunter aims to change the narrative around the transition and help women feel less mystified by the biological changes women experience during menopause. Dr. Gunter goes in depth on topics of bone health, brain function, vasomotor symptoms, weight gain, sleep, and sexuality.
By Kimberly Ann Johnson
While many books focus on pregnancy and delivery, few focus on the critical postpartum period, or what has been referred to as the “fourth trimester.” From the emotional to the physical, this book provides a roadmap for new moms navigating the many ups and downs of the postpartum journey. The author draws on her experience as a doula, postpartum consult, and yoga teacher to offer holistic approaches to caring for oneself post-pregnancy.
By Sherry A. Ross, MD
Written by an OB/GYN with over 25 years of experience and with contributions from celebrities like Brooke Shields, Christina Applegate, and Jane Seymour, this book provides a fun and informative look at the state of the vagina at every age and stage of a woman’s life. The book addresses questions about our vaginal health like, “Can I get HPV if I don’t have actual intercourse?” or, “Since the vagina is self-cleaning, do I even need soap?” With compassion, humor, and knowledge, the author hopes to shed light on these once-taboo topics and help women take charge of their health.
By Anita Diamant
This book is comprised of a collection of essays aimed to inspire period positive activism around the world. The film by the same title, Period. End of Sentence won a 2019 Oscar for its powerful message and storytelling. As a contributor and Executive Director of the Pad Project, Melissa Berton states, “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.” Hear from parents, teachers, and medical professionals from around the world about how menstrual injustice limits opportunities, erodes self-esteem, and what can be done to enact change.
This timeless classic was originally published in 1970 and has been heralded as “America’s bestselling book on women’s health.” The idea for the book was originally developed by a group of women at a women’s liberation conference in 1969 who were frustrated with how little they knew about how their bodies worked. The original version printed on stapled newsprint cost just 75 cents and quickly became an underground success, promoted mainly through word-of-mouth by like-minded women. The book has since been updated in recent years to include more diverse perspectives from women across the world and has been reproduced in 34 languages. It covers everything from your first GYN exam to menopause and aims to empower women about their reproductive health and sexuality.