Saturday, March 15, 2008

Your Pregnancy Week by Week

Let me begin my assuring you - I'm not pregnant. But I have been in the past, and I hope to be sometime in the future. So I'm always interested in a new and potentially fantastic book on pregnancy.

I'm a huge information person. I research and study almost anything that intersects my life, and many things that don't. When I was pregnant it was important to me to soak in as much information as I could - I was fascinated to learn anything and everything about the miracle happening in and to my body and my baby. But most pregnancy books I picked up I put right back down. While admonishing me to enjoy this time and rid my life of stress and anxiety, these books (most of them written by men) outline all the possible things that might go wrong during each week. While this information is helpful in its place they just don't have the tone I'm looking for in a pregnancy guide.

So I was excited to receive a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis, MD, MPH and Judith Schuler, MS. The first thing I noticed was that one of the two authors was female - that's a step in the right direction, at least.

For the most part, I'd say that this is a perfectly good pregnancy guide. Prenatal exams are brief, and this book gives plenty of week by week information, beginning pre-conception and going through the baby's first birthday, for mom's to have at home at their fingertips. It seems very comprehensive, and I was impressed that it included lifestyle topics such as a woman's rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when she is pregnant or after delivery.

I can't say that this was a departure for the previous books I've read in tone, though. It is very definitely a medical book, and its emphasis includes the myriad of things that might lead to infertility or miscarriage if they are present or absent or in the wrong amounts. The authors are also coming from a particular philosophy which they stick to, coming down against home births and other things in a "natural" perspective. Some might also be disappointed to see that the pictures in the books are sketches of the unborn baby in the womb, rather than actual photography.

For some pregnant moms, this is definitely the book for you. If you're looking for a comprehensive medical opinion on each week and stage of your experience, you'll pour over this book and be better for it. If you're like me and would like to know the risks and dangers while dwelling on the miracle and wonder of it, this will be a helpful tool in the box but will need to be supplemented with other perspectives.

If you've used this book, let me know what you think. What do you like in a pregnancy book?

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