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The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby Paperback – February 20, 2004

88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like a good obstetrician, The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby respects the intelligence of the mother-to-be. This mammoth tome is probably the best reference book on the market, giving nonjudgmental and fairly exhaustive information on such hot-button topics as whether to drink coffee during pregnancy and the relative safety of birth centers. The book lays out as much information as possible and leaves the decision-making to the parents--a surprisingly rare gambit in the bossy world of pregnancy books, which all too often insult the mom-to-be with sweeping dicta unsupported by hard science. Also like a good doctor, the book knows its limits, referring to other sources well and often.

The book's tone can be impersonal, which seems natural considering that it was put together by two authors, a team of editors, and a panel of birth experts including a doctor, a nurse, and a nutritionist. For color commentary, 150 new parents were consulted, but their voices are not the book's strong point, offering such pallid advice as, "A good-quality stroller will see you through all your children, whereas a cheapie will cost you again and again." The book's "Unofficial" moniker seems to refer more to the guide's commitment to laying out all the alternatives than to an irreverent stance. (Those looking for in-the-trenches attitude and tried-and-true advice might turn instead to Vicki Iovine's superb The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy or Ariel Gore's The Hip Mama Survival Guide.) While the book's hesitance to pronounce on emotional topics is largely laudable, in some cases it backfires. In 818 pages, the authors devote just a few paragraphs to single-mother and lesbian pregnancies--though, to be fair, a resource directory is offered. Overall, though, this guide fills a much-needed information gap in the pregnancy book market. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The inside scoop for when you want more than the official line

Having a baby is one of life’s most joyous–and overwhelming–events. The choices you make now will affect your baby’s health long after it is born. How should you change your lifestyle now that you are pregnant? How can you be sure that your baby is developing properly? What should you expect at each doctor’s visit? And how on earth will you survive labor?

Now thoroughly updated with more than 200 pages of new and completely revised material, including week-by-week pregnancy tips, The Unofficial GuideTM to Having a Baby gives savvy parents-to-be like you a foolproof appraisal of what works and what doesn’t–revealing things even your doctor won’t (or can’t) tell you, with unbiased recommendations that are not influenced by any company, product, or organization.

  • Vital Information that other sources can’t or won’t reveal–including the very latest research on prenatal and genetic testing.
  • Insider Secrets on how to weather the physical and emotional highs and lows of pregnancy, with tips on health, exercise, sex, and career management.
  • Money-Saving Tips that help you save on baby gear and maternity wear.
  • The Latest Trends in new childbirth methods, including Doula care, pain management, and alternative birthing options.
  • Handy Checklists and Charts to track your baby’s development, identify potentially dangerous medications and drugs, and record the milestones in your pregnancy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (February 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076454148X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764541483
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Finally, heres a book about pregnancy that addresses real issues for real moms. (I wish it had been available when I started my family, and not when I was pregnant with my last child.) In addition to what you might want a pregnancy book to include, this book covers so many important topics that others gloss over or simply omitinfertility treatments, bed rest, pregnancy loss, surrogacy (theres even a sample contract in an appendix), high-risk factors and treatments, emotional responses to pregnancy and motherhood. Although the book contains over 800 pages, its organized so that you can get just the straight facts quickly or read all the details at your leisure. The easy, approachable tone is also professional, so you intuitively sense the authors authority on the subject. And, unlike some pregnancy books that contain a lot of fluff and are mostly good for entertainment, this one is rich with useful information from the medical and maternal community. Throughout, the book reinforces the notion that although nearly every pregnancy has its own quirky personality, most pregnancies are normal. In short, it alleviates--rather than createsparanoia. For example, where many pregnancy books lay down the law on what you must eat, how often you must exercise, and so on, this book is entirely forgiving of the expectant mother who is so sick with nausea that she cant choke down her daily broccoli allotment, or too busy or exhausted from working or running after her other children that she cant exercise. Sprinkled throughout each chapter are helpful hints, warnings, practical sidebar information (which reads like the whispered advice from a good friend), and the quoted experiences of many real-life moms, all which give the book a broad swab-stroke of knowledge about this most mysterious, profound, terrifying, worrisome, and joyous time of life. This is the book that I expect to recommend to my girlfriends.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth S. on January 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book when we decided we wanted a baby. I really wanted to get The Mother of All Baby Books, but my store didn't have it. Turns out, Ann Douglas wrote both books, so it didn't matter.
I found the preconception advice wonderful. It also gives you an overview of what to expect when you're actually pregnant, and breaks it down week by week. There are several helpful charts in the book, such as one that goes over the most common prescription and non-prescription drugs and the effects they have on the baby. There's also information on fertility testing when things don't go as planned.
However, now that I'm 7 months pregnant first time mom-to-be, I find I don't use the book very often. The week-to-week information is great when you want to know what to expect before you get pregnant/just get pregnant, but it's not sufficient information to keep you really informed when you're actually at those critical points. I find that the book is lacking in details on those conditions that can pop up during pregnancy, such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, etc. These are normal events, but I just wanted more information on what to expect and when to expect these kinds of conditions.
Overall, it's still a great book. I definitely recommend it to those who are trying. However, if you're already pregnant, I recommend Your Pregnancy Week By Week. This has been my favorite book so far.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm trying to get pregnant for the first time. The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby has proven invaluable. I've poured over practically every chapter -- preparing for pregnancy, misconceptions about fertility and infertility, getting pregnant, fertility treatments, symptoms of early pregnancy, how to choose a doctor and hospital or birthing center, childbirth education, and so much more! There are also chapters jam-packed with great information that I'll need to know later on, like carrying multiples, coping with a high-risk pregnancy, going through each trimester, delivery, and getting ready for the baby. To me, this book seems like a godsend. Lots of my friends have given me copies of other pregnancy books, but I like the Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby the best -- it's incredibly reader-friendly (finding information is a breeze!), and I have yet to look up something in this 800-page book and not have it be in there! Plus, there are short information blurbs on almost every page that offer terrific extra information, from recent studies to how to to save money to quotes from women like me. I can't imagine anyone not loving this book.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Garlen on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book much more helpful than What to Expect When You're Expecting, mainly because it contained more practical information and less preaching. I would have liked a better sense of a week-by-week analysis of the stages of pregnancy and fetal development, but I did appreciate the way the book organizes some of its other major sections. The very best section is Chapter 13: The Dirt on Diapers and Other Baby Gear. This kind of advice would be very hard to find on sponsor-supported internet sites, since it advocates less consumerism and more practicality about what you really need to take care of a baby. I found this book less maudlin or "cute" and more intelligent than most of the baby guides I have read. What a relief to find a book that wasn't pastel and that didn't sport lots of sentimental claptrap! The guide to websites is also very helpful. My husband and I have read and enjoyed Unofficial travel guides for years, and we were thrilled to find that they had branched out to cover this important topic, too.
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