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Article:    Pregnancy Books Reviewed


Pregnancy can be an exciting time--plenty of changes are in store for mothers-to-be, and it is helpful to have a few books to turn to for advice, discussions, and information.

Conception, Pregnancy, & Birth by Miriam Stoppard is a wonderfully visual pregnancy manual that most mothers-to-be--especially first-timers--will appreciate. This is an ideal book to read while planning for a pregnancy, though it doesn't cover fertility issues in much depth. The star feature of the book is its section that shows pregnancy progress every four weeks. The same model is pictured throughout this section, as well as information about physiological and psychological changes in the mother, in addition to updates on the fetus' growth and development. Plenty of case studies are included. The information given in this book is oftentimes more broad than deep, though some topics, such as preparing for conception, are detailed. Childbirth choices, nutrition, body care before and during pregnancy, sensuality, labor, and some notes on caring for a newborn are some of the topics addressed. [Buy Conception, Pregnancy & Birth at Amazon for approximately $21-30 US]

The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth by Dr. William and Martha Sears is a unique book devoted to the subject of giving birth. The book opens with a chapter that discusses the authors' eight birth experiences, and then moves on to a historical look at birthing practices, and contemporary (albeit rather opinionated) choices people face regarding childbirth. Medical "interventions" are outlined, birthing positions are discussed, and steps for composing a birth plan are suggested. Our favorite sections in the book are those that discuss nutrition and body care during pregnancy, and the detailed and informative chapter dedicated to labor itself. Large parts of the book are devoted to discussing techniques to help mothers-to-be relax and take control of their births. Some may scoff at the chapter entitled "Why Birth Hurts--Why it Doesn't Have to" simply because it might seem too ambitious, but the pain management techniques (which are both psychological--overcoming fear--and physiological) discussed within are helpful. The chapter on VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) is particularly empowering. 

This is a book that you'll either love or hate--it's somewhat opinionated and heavily favors "natural" birthing practices. However, though it isn't entirely impartial, it manages to deliver unique content that many will consider invaluable. It may be best suited for parents who have already experienced a less than "satisfying" birth. [Buy The Birth Book : Everything You Need to... at Amazon for approximately $12-14 US]

The Complete Book of Pregnancy And Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger is a thorough and well-written pregnancy bible. Complete with charts, illustrations, beautiful photos, and comprehensive information, this is a book that will please most expectant women. Starting with a discussion about the early weeks of pregnancy, this book then takes readers through every stage of development, the birth experience, and the early days of life after the baby is born. A handy week-by-week guide with spaces for note-taking is included. [Buy The Complete Book of Pregnancy and... at]

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Arlene Eisenberg contains some useful answers to questions that come up during pregnancy, but it doesn't do a whole lot to give women an empowering feeling about the birth process or to alleviate fears. Readers can probably safely ignore the strict diet laid out in the book (although it does contain some useful guidelines), and those looking for a more holistic approach to the birth experience or interested in having a non-hospital birth should look elsewhere. The format is predominantly question-and-answer, and quite a bit of focus is on concerns in pregnancy. [Buy What to Expect Gift Set : When You're... at]


Related Review:

Taking Charge of Your Fertility




Related Review:

Taking Charge of Your Fertility




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January 2002

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