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Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy Paperback – April 13, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Would-be mothers looking for precise, accurate information from a reputable source will appreciate this mammoth pregnancy guide from the celebrated Mayo Clinic. The volume actually provides much more information than most parents will need: week by week accounts of the babys development, entries on how pregnancy can be affected by dozens of previous health conditions (such as HIV and diabetes), self-care tips for side effects like nausea and back pain, sidebars that explain the difference between identical and fraternal twins, etc. But the book contains at least one feature that most pregnant women will find indispensable: charts that indicate how to handle "troublesome signs and symptoms" during each three week period. For example, if a woman has slight spotting during the first four weeks of pregnancy, the chart tells her to notify a doctor during her next hospital visit. But if she has any bleeding at all during weeks 29 to 32, the chart indicates that she should tell her doctor immediately. Another stellar feature is the books even-handed series of "decision guides," which help parents make those hard (and even guilt-inducing) choices about breastfeeding, circumcision and whether or not to go back to work. Some parents may find the books cool, no-nonsense tone intimidating, or even scary, but when deciding what to do about mid-term cramps or pain, most readers will find great reassurance this volumes carefully vetted facts.
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...clear and compassionate answers to many of the questions and decisions that parents often encounter. (Total Health)
Top customer reviews
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My only suggestion is that for those of us who like to check references or refer to them ourselves, it would have been helpful to have a bibliographic list of sources used in the book. For example: ob doctors often frighten women away from all forms of vitamin A because of one study that was done in the 1990s, but vitamin A as beta carotene hasn't been shown to cause birth defects like vitamin A in the form of retinol has, which is stored in fat cells, and vitamin A as beta carotene is necessary for fetal eye development (this is based on newer data I've found through my research). I had to argue with my ob about this when I told her I wouldn't take prescription prenatals and preferred my own vitamin mix - well, it was for many reasons, including the synthetic junk and dyes in most prescription prenatals (boy, I've got some stories about pharmaceutical reps pushing those things and their reasons why they include dyes in them that have been linked to birth defects, one of which included an old man making the statement that "pregnant women don't want to take ugly brown pills; they want to take pretty blue ones!" I kid you not. Apparently we women are that dumb and shallow, according to pharmaceutical reps), but a scholarly article would have been nice to give to her in my defense of taking a holistic vitamin cocktail that included vitamin A as beta carotene, a vitamin that is flushed from the system once the body has taken what it needs. I do realize that many readers wouldn't care about this kind of information, but it wouldn't hurt to include a "works cited" or "bibliography" page at the end with helpful, legitimate scholarly articles and information about various studies, and maybe some parenthetical citations throughout that could lead us active readers to the biblio reference. More work? Sure, the editors would have a good bit more work to do gathering this information, but it would make this book absolute perfection!
Anyway, I do highly recommend this book for those of you who want medical advice from medical professionals, delivered in an approachable yet no-nonsense way that keeps you happy and motivated without the saccharine pandering often found in pregnancy guides.
I think you will if you...
...are looking for a book that gives you the most important facts and prefer to discuss details with a healthcare professional over reading about them in a book
...want to be informed objectively
...after having read the book once, want to go back to a certain topic that is of concern for you later on. Very easy to navigate!
...do not have a lot of time. In my opinion this book covers everything that is important and is easy to read, even after an exhausting day.
For the reasons above, I prefer this book over other well selling ones I have read. However -
I think you won't like this book if you...
...are looking for a book that focuses on every detail
...that entertains you with jokes/anecdotes
This guide does some things very well. It breaks down pregnancy on a week by week basis, which makes it easy to flip through and know exactly what to expect. Likewise, it has several chapters that serve as quick reference for common questions or concerns. That makes this a very handy, comprehensive guide.
On the other hand, this is a great book if you want to depress yourself and live in fear of everything bad about pregnancy. Even worse, there are several sections where the recommendations are outdated and even dangerous (encouraging you to let your doctor put you on bed rest, for example, despite clear evidence showing the lack of positive outcomes). The lack of citations for anything makes this all the more troubling. I suppose the Mayo clinic thinks that they don't need to cite anything, given that they are the Mayo clinic, but their questionable advice in some matters make that a problem.
In sum, this is a good book to have on hand, but definitely read other books as well. I recommend Expecting Better by Emily Oster or Debunking the Bump by Daphne Adler, both of which contain thorough citations and methodology to back up their claims.