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Science writer Paul (The Cult of Personality) segues between pondering her own second pregnancy and the developing literature on fetal origins in this fascinating study of the prenatal period, what one scientist calls the staging ground for well-being and disease in later life. Drawing upon current research and interviews with experts in this burgeoning field, Paul explores such varied topics as diet and nutrition, stress, environmental toxins, exercise, and alcohol use. She cites some frightening if by now familiar discoveries, such as the existence of 200 industrial chemicals that can be found in babies' umbilical cords, as well as some unusual findings, such as the discovery that women who consumed a daily dose of chocolate during their pregnancies gave birth to babies who smiled more at six months. She also exposes links between low birth weight and later cardiovascular disease, and muses upon the possibility that a dietary supplement might one day protect future children from cancer. As the author delves deeply into the vulnerabilities of the prenatal environment, she comes away with a compelling sense of the importance of how society cares for and supports pregnant women. Focusing on how to minimize harm and maximize benefit during the nine months before birth, Paul's thought-provoking text reveals that this pivotal period may be even more significant and far-reaching than ever imagined.
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As she progresses through her own pregnancy, science writer Paul, author of The Cult of Personality (2004), gracefully tells the story of gestation in nine chapters—one for each of the nine months that the fetus spends in the womb. This is an artificial conceit. Although she does sprinkle anecdotes (which readers may or may not enjoy) about her own experience in the approproprite chapters, she randomly covers the history of medical theories about prenatal development in the one-month chapter and the perils of plastics at the four-month mark. The book is well written and researched, but it would been more effective if it were organized by topic. That way, readers could easily find out more about, say, David Barker’s research that found babies who weighed less at birth had a higher risk of heart disease in middle age. Inexplicably, this is in the two-month chapter. Why wouldnt it go in nine months, when most babies are born? Still, Paul’s book is a useful, if not essential, addition to any pregnancy library. --Karen Springen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
This is a critical time of life: the first trimester of pregnancy may be the MOST influential part of your whole life. Amazing. Thank you Annie!Published 4 days ago by John Chamberlain
This book provides a great perspective for anyone who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It is heavily scientifically based, which I appreciate. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Daphne
I bought this book for a pediatrician friend of mine in Russia. I thought it would be interesting for him. Certainly women will benefit from reading it.Published 2 months ago by John Martin
Pregnant women need this information so that they can up the ante in their own self care, and save their future children from diseases and emotional turmoil that they themselves... Read morePublished 2 months ago by RitaK
I started reading it but it wasn't really what I thought it was going to be. I'll probably try again but right now I have some really good books I'm reading and want to read. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lolly
Very interesting perspective on the
months before birth. Thank you.
Another book that should be read by all prospective parents. However, I base this on the book I got from the local library. I'm still waiting for my copy from Amazon.Published 8 months ago by Joseph E Paquette
BLAH BLAB ... at some point we make a choice to be happy regardless of what life brings our way....I survived violent parents ... Read morePublished 9 months ago by RightFit