27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 1999
I have to agree with other reviewers that the focus of this book oftentimes seemed to be educating you about all the things that could go wrong. While this is good information to have, as a first-time mother I was more interested in wellness information and was getting information on complications and testing from my midwife anyway. Their idea of wellness was the "Best Odds Diet" which odds are no pregnant woman can stick to. They absolutely forbid sweets and set up a fairly rigid daily list of food choices. Since the title of the diet was "Best Odds" and the text carried on about the optimum health of your baby, I became a little annoyed at the notion that one cookie when I craved it would adversely affect my child. I used the information given in childbirth classes about nutrition and found it much more realistic. There are numerous free sources online that will give you the developmental information and information on changes in your body that this book contains as well as allowing you to customize for your due date and I found them more helpful. If you would like good information on prenatal exercises and wellness as well as changes in your body and fetal development, Sheila Kitzinger's Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth is a much better buy. She gives much more comprehensive information on pregnancy and birth and includes beautiful pictures as well. I gave my copy of this book to a newly pregnant friend midway through my pregnancy and kept my copy of the Kitzinger text. If this book is regarded as the Pregnancy Bible I think that is only because of widespread promoting of the text as compared to others.
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2004
I am a mother of 4 children. I am an avid reader and have read many pregancy, birthing, baby, and childcare books and magazines, over the years. I don't consider myself an expert, but I do know what a good pregnancy book is, and this isn't one.
I borrowed this book from my SIL who used it through her pregnancy. My sister swore by it, as well. I had heard nothing but great reviews. Well, I was highly disappointed. I didn't agree with many of her discussions she brought up. While much of the books was interesting and helpful in a general information of what was going on, it didn't give me any real answers! My OB and friends who have already given birth gave me all the information this book gave me. I am glad I didn't purchase it!
I highly recommend: Your Pregnancy Week by Week. It gives you great descriptions for what is going on inside your body, what changes you'll face and are facing, why certain things happen, what your baby looks like, what size your baby is, what is happening to your baby, when certain things develop, why you feel this or that, what this pain is, what that feeling is, etc. It's incredible!
If you want a great book that is similar to What to Expect... then get The Pregnancy Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, RN. Dr. Sears is a Pediatrician with a great website. Martha is a Pediatric Nurse and La Leche League leader. They have had 8 children together and practice what they preach. I have this in my permanent library and recommend it to friends who are moms-to-be quite frequently.
I don't recommend any of the What to Expect books... Dr. Sears has great books that are all great alternatives to What to Expect... What to Expect was so popular because it was the first and only book of its kind for so long. Now there are a ton of great options out there. It filled a need, but now it's no longer needed!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2003
As a physician, I went into my first pregancy with a fair bit of "knowledge" - but nothing compares to "the real thing!" This book does have lots of information in it, and covers complications/ problems etc well. However, it could create a huge number of guilty/neurotic/paranoid moms to be with all of the restrictions on diet that it includes. "The pregnancy diet" sounds great, but how many servings of orange vs green vegetables do I really need to eat every day, let alone avoiding anything smoked/salted/processed... great if you are already a health nut and eat organic food, but for the rest of the planet, let's get a little more practical! The reality is that babies are the world's best parasites and will take what they need from their "host" - which is why malnourished heroin addicted moms can still give birth to 8lb babies!
I say it is a good resource, but don't live by it alone or you will go mad!!!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2006
This book is just fine and, while I wouldn't call it a waste of money, it is certainly lacking for two big reasons -- organization and the "paranoia" factor. Both of these have been mentioned in other reviews.
ORGANIZATION: The book's chapters are organized by "months" (first through ninth, then post-delivery, etc.) While this might seem common-sense at first, it turns out that it's absolutely terrible if you're trying to find something in a reasonable amount of time. Diet, health, complications, biological changes -- they're all covered sporadically throughout the text, never appearing in one centralized place for reference.
PARANOIA: I don't know what other word to use, but another reviewer used this word, so I'll stick with it. I was surprised to find the book SO FULL of problems, complications, aches, pains, symptoms, etc. The majority of this book is basically devoted to anything (and seemingly everything) that could possibly go wrong. The unfortunate flip-side to this is that it's relatively weak on actual "healthy" information.
I would reccommend the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy", "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books", or "The Pregnancy Bible" for a more even-keeled approach to the subject.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2004
The mother-hating message that oozes through this text nullifies whatever decent information you could get from it. Yes, the book breaks down "what to expect" month by month. But a lot of good pregnancy books do the same. The other portion of the text is medical advice, most of which is in the vein on what you, The Evil Mother, can do to avoid all the selfish habits you have and stupid things you might do. Fantastic advice on pregnancy, such as going on a Nazi diet plan (you know, when you're vomiting your brains out and your gut is slowly quiting on you) with enforced meal times ("never, never skip a meal" - you might kill your fetus. Huh? About 50% of women spend 3-4 months or longer chucking up at least one meal a day.) and a required ton of vegetables, preferably raw (yeah, that will go down well).
In the chapters on labor, the patronizing tone becomes something out of a 1950's manual: try timidly asking your doctor if you can avoid being shaved or having an enema during labor, with the understanding that he has the final say (really? I thought it was a woman's choice what treatment she had). The same holds true with having an IV, an episiotomy, a drink of water (contrary to what most people are told, the chances of aspirating and then dying under general anesthesia is about the same as winning Powerball), even touching your baby's head during crowning ("If your practioner approves"). How about this gem - advice to the labor coach that if the expectant mother requests pain medication, relay the information to the nurse, but ask her to wait a while to see if Mom changes her mind. By the time a woman requests pain meds, she's likely to have been in agony for some time. That appears not to be a factor. When the physician approves of pain medication (pain medication being necessarily good, because hospitals back the use of them), the Evil Mother must allow herself the pain relief while remembering "the innocent bystander", the baby she is imposing her selfish need for pain relief on.
Seriously, the biggest qualms I have with this book is that it is misleading about a woman's rights to treatment and bodily integrity during pregnancy. For instance, the book advises "...you can't always make the decision over whether or not you should have an IV." Um, yes you can. You simply say, "I refuse to have an IV and accept responsibility for that decision." Eisenberg, Murkoff and Hathaway are apparently so desperate to get official approval from physicians and hospitals that they are making up their own laws! Other books have the same information, but without the condescending, mother-hating (even woman-hating) attitudes.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2002
Every pregnancy is different, including how much weight a woman puts on. There are so many variables, and yet the authors of this book again and again generalize and imply that any woman who puts on more weight than THEY recommend has been sitting around snacking on bon-bons and watching television. What about a woman who is simply too sick to get out of bed with her pregnancy? I found myself increasingly frustrated and insulted by the constant, smug rehashing of this issue.
My ob-gyn and perinatal care coordinator both pooh-poohed this one, too, specifically because of these broad generalizations.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2000
This is a great book if this is your first pregnancy, and you want to be reassured that whatever your OB tells you is God's Absolute Truth and that all you have to do is trust the men and women in the white coats and they'll take care of you and do what's in your baby's best interest.
I read this book with my first pregnancy and ended up allowing myself to be induced early, and had a "perfect" but disappointing birth. Go ahead, buy this book, but also buy Our Bodies Ourselves (or some of the other books recommended), to get the other half of the story. With my second baby I had the courage to wait until she was actually *due* (not when the doctors said she was) and had a *much* more satisfying birth.
Doctors and hospitals want you to abide by their rules, which is fine, if you think you want to give up control of what could be the most important event of your life. This book will help you be at ease with this mentality. But please, don't consider this the Bible of how to be pregnant and give birth, because it will come up short.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2006
Long Story Short: My husband had to hide this book from me because it was making me so nuts. Just notice the look on the mother-to-be's face on the front cover...that's how the book makes you feel.
Long Story: I was given this book by my best friend as a MUST READ as soon as we found out I was pregnant w/ our first child. Immediately I poured through it. It's laid out in sections ala: what to expect each month with a Q&A format as well as tips. The Index is very through. Sounds good right?
Here's the kicker...after reading several chapters I began to get the not-so-subtle undertone: "Every move you make will have a direct effect as to whether or not your child will be healthy." The nutritional seciton made me paranoid. Example: "As you raise fork to mouth, consider: 'Is this a bite that will benefit my baby?'" This book lists just about every medical complication and problem that exists in pregnancy. As a first time mom, I read it frequently to "diagonse" all of those new pains and wierd things. This book has kept me up at night wondering if I'm suffering from some pretty rare things. This book claims to be "reassuring." I have found it to be anything but that. The best source of information you can get while pregnant is from your doctor or midwife. For some extra piece of mind, steer clear from this popular book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2001
I finally achieved pregnancy after 3 1/2 years of infertility treatment. I was told this is a must have book so I dug out my copy and read it. I could not believe how fatalistic this book was! It scared the pants off me! Especially when I started experiencing pre-term labor...the impression that I got was that I was surely going to lose my twins, no if's and's or but's! Guess what? I did not lose them and they are healthy 10 month old boys.
Oh, and my OB totally did not recommend the best odds diet, especially with being pregnant with twins...she said it was one of the most unhealthy diets for a pregnant woman and should be taken off the market. The caloric intake was inadequate and again, a lot of fear instilled about how bad so many foods were during pregnancy...it made me feel that if I ate 1/2 a cookie in one month, I was going to lose my twins or gain 30 lbs in a day!
NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2004
This book so put me off to pregnancy advice books that I've never attempted to read another. This book is preachy, extremist, alarmist, and way too rigid. It made me feel that if my pregnancy didn't progress exactly to their timeline than I was doing something wrong and harming my baby. The first chapters are especially irritating when talking about morning sickness and the Best_Odds diet. Basically with it telling me that whether I am sick or not I should be eating square meals. With me, that just wasn't going to happen and my baby is healthly, strong, and alert. My advice is find a good, experienced doctor that you feel comfortable with because they are going to give you the best advice that is suited to you and your specific needs. If you want a book to reference, I recommend a more medical oriented one like the Mayo Clinic book than an advice book.