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Book Insight: The First Forty Days

Throughout pregnancy, it is important to educate yourself about what to expect during pregnancy and knowing your options for labor and birth. However, a big part of pregnancy needs to be the preparation that is put into the postpartum healing phase directly after the birth. There are many things you can do now in your pregnancy to help make the transition and healing easier, and reading some postpartum books is a great way to start!

Just a brief introduction of what to expect for monthly book insights. These are not reviews on the books, I am merely trying to provide quick insights to help you decide if this is worthy of your time read to help you in preparation for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn parenting. The basic outline of these insights will be:

-An overview of what the book is about

-Topics that are covered in the book

-Highlights of the book

-Who the ideal reader might be


This book focuses on the importance of the postpartum period, specifically how mothers need to prioritize rest and recovery. The author, Heng, begins the book by talking about her own experience of recovery after her first birth when she was taken care of by her family members who are of Chinese heritage. They focus on making sure the mother stays warm and in bed for 40 days, something that seems quite drastic to our own society today and the mindset that women need to instantly be back on their feet and back into the world of working and being with others.

Heng talks about how cultures throughout the world view the postpartum period, both in the past as well as today, and how many of the elements overlap: warm beverages and foods, having others make food and do household chores, and ultimately letting the mother get as much rest as she possibly can with the only task being to tend to the newborn baby.

She goes through the importance of how to prepare physically, emotionally, and mentally for the transition into the postpartum period, and gives practical ways to do so during your pregnancy. Finally, she provides many recipes at the end of the book to either stock your fridge/freezer prior to giving birth, or to also have your family or friends make for you while you are resting after giving birth.

Topics Covered in the Book

There are a total of seven chapters in this book, with each chapter addressing a different aspect of postpartum care and preparation. The chapters are:

My Story

From the old ways to our way: postpartum for a new world

The Gathering: how to prepare for postpartum in your third trimester

The Passage: labor and birth

The First Forty Days: what to expect during the postpartum period

Filling Your Cup: what to eat and what to stock your pantry with

Recipies: meals, snacks, drinks, and desserts

Highlights of the Book

This book provides lots of practical advice for not only preparing but also living out your postpartum period. She focuses on what she calls the five insights for postpartum care: retreat, warmth, support, rest, ritual. These insights become the common thread throughout the book.

The recipes are very straightforward as well as the list of ingredients or utensils that you would need to make them. She even labels what is special or higher in price ingredients as well, which is very helpful when planning out your meals.

Finally, she focuses on the importance of nutrition and taking care of your new body, and even includes a couple of self-care recipes to make yourself as well!

Ideal Reader

I highly recommend this book to all pregnant mamas to help them prepare for the postpartum period. Most new mothers will say that they wish they had known what to expect or how to better prepare themselves for the transition. This book covers all aspects and has much practical advice that you can use, especially during your third trimester.

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