Customer Reviews: The Whole Pregnancy Handbook: An Obstetrician's Guide to Integrating Conventional and Alternative Medicine Bef ore, During, and After Pregnancy
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on April 29, 2005
I am currently pregnant with my second child and thought I did not need any more pregnancy books. However, I was recently browsing in a bookstore and came across the Whole Pregnancy Handbook and quickly found myself engrossed in its clear explanations of pregnancy and birth and the conventional and alternative approaches to both routine and more unusual pregnancy and birth situations. In the past, I have been put off by "over-zealous" pregnancy books so I loved the way that this book offers clear, non-alarmist and non-judgmental information on a wide range of ways to promote healthy pregnancy, babies and birth. The anecdotes from real women are particularly great--- they give you a sense of how many different women experience pregnancy and birth. I also loved the yoga section and the timeline that describes what is happening in the mother's body and in the fetus month-by-month throughout the pregnancy. I recommend this book highly for anyone who is looking for "one-stop shopping" that brings together a wide range of approaches to conception, pregnancy and birth that, until now, have been isolated from one another in "conventional" and "alternative" pregnancy books.
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on December 16, 2005
Burning the evil "What to Expect when You're Expecting," I bought this book and I was amazed and how thorough this book was. It cover all the bases. All the natural remedies for common ailments, yoga poses, pregnancy diet, and everything you need to know. No scary stuff here. It's all straight forward and very comforting to read. If you want a pregnancy book, buy this book!
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on February 29, 2008
I thought I was pretty well studied on pregnancy until I read this book, now I know I had a lot to learn! I have had the book for 48 hours and am already 150 pages into it. Besides being incredibly informative and interesting, it is written in a descriptive way that allows a layperson to better understand the more confusing subjects. The book covers all areas of pregnancy. So far, the areas I have found incredibly helpful are how to prepare for pregnancy (physically, mentally, and emotionally), how ovulation works, determining if a doctor, midwife, or doula is best for me and what questions to ask these people, herbs, vitamins, and medicines to take and avoid. This book offers non bias details on each type of birth, birthing practices, medications, medical procedures, etc. It is also organized in a way that you can read it from front to back, or use it as a reference book. I can't say enough about it!
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on January 3, 2007
We've collected a shelf full of books during my wife's (first) pregnancy. While all serve a purpose, the Whole Pregnancy Handbook has become our go to book for just about everything. It's great information written in an easy to digest style that makes sense from a holistic and conventional medical point of view.
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on October 29, 2006
I checked this book out of the local library to look a up a couple of things before my first OB appointment. I had loaned out most of my own pregnancy library and just needed a little information. Any old pregnancy book would do, so my selection was kind of random. I ended up reading it almost cover to cover. Now that I have to return the library's copy I need to purchase my own.

I thought, in contradiction to the earlier reviewer's statements, that the book was highly detailed and very informative. What it lacked was the hysteria making format of other popular books on the subject. It was certainly organized differently so that might have thrown her off.

The information was well balanced and fairly comprehensive. I really enjoyed the section on nutrition and the chapter on prenatal yoga has certainly motivated me to find a class. What I liked most though was the reassurance that even at my advanced age (over 35) that I had a really good chance of having another healthy, uneventful pregnancy. Wonderful book!
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on February 10, 2013
Update: After reading this book over more thoroughly, I found it a little less helpful than at first glance. The author seems very proud of himself, almost smug, for being able to successfully convince pregnant women to follow his suggestions. I found that rather weird. He does still seem credible, but that aspect just struck me as being odd. Also, as a person who believes strongly in evidence based research, I found it very concerning that some alternative remedies are listed alongside proven medical treatments with no differentiation between the proven effectiveness. I guess if you are someone who believes in things like homeopathy or naturopathy, this may be a good book for you. As someone who is more interested in concrete facts proven by reputable studies, it left me feeling a little uneasy. I will say though that it seems the author was very cautious to not include anything that could be considered harmful. I didn't purchase "What to Expect When You're Expecting" partly because of the poor reviews it got within this book review thread and on its own page. I was turned off by the claims that it was gossipy and silly, but when my mom got it for me, I actually ended up finding it to be more helpful and in some cases more fact based than the Whole Pregnancy Handbook!

The following comments I made previously about this book still apply:

I really liked how they included many different questions you should consider because it did make me think about things that previously hadn't occurred to me.

I didn't expect to care for the "real voices" but I actually found myself connecting with the other women who had doubts, fears, embarrassment as well as excitement and happiness. It added to the book's authenticity for me.

I was disappointed in some of the recommendations in the section about exercise. When I got the book, I immediately skipped to that section and looked at what they said about weight lifting. 3 to 5 pound dumbbells... really?? And nothing above 10lb... "honey can you lift this head of lettuce into the crisper for me? my weak pregnant body just can't handle it" While I get that women who have never done any sort of weight training may find this a non-intimidating entry into exercise; for someone who loves to exercise (including regularly lifting wights in the 100-200lb range) and finds that it adds to her overall health and sense of well-being- I find this recommendation overly simple and somewhat condescending. And with running, it just says to continue if you already do it and feel comfortable continuing. Are you sure? What about hill repeats? What about my long runs? My lactate threshold runs? This book doesn't seem to take into account that there are women out there who exercise beyond the occasional leisurely jog. (If you are looking for a great book with more detailed and realistic recommendations on exercising during pregnancy, I would urge you to read "Exercising Through Your Pregnancy" by Clapp.)

I did like the very detailed section on how to modify yoga for pregnancy.

Overall- I still think that this book is somewhat helpful and worth reading, but it's not my favorite.
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on July 11, 2005
As a mother of 2 little ones, I found this book right on target for my needs as an educated professional pregnant woman though I only wish I could have had it about 9 months ago! It provided me with just enough medical knowledge so that I could have had a professional conversation with my OB during my pregnancy. I also found it quite comprehensive about my choices of caring for myself and my baby.

I hope that the word gets out that this book is available.
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on October 3, 2009
I read every single book I could get my hands on when my wife was pregnant with our lovely daughter. Almost all of them made me frustrated, angry, or worse. We wanted to make our own decisions about childbirth, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, understand fully the plusses and minuses of all the available options. The standard books from the medical establishment were usually condescending to any choice other than "whatever the doctor tells you." The "alternative" books usually make the reader feel like a bad person if they even consider pain medication, hospital birth, or any other mainstream decisions. And almost every book dwells endlessly on all the potential negatives, and turn you into a basketcase about all the things that could go wrong.

This book is a life saver. It presents the medical standards for pregnancy and childbirth. It presents many alternatives to that standard. It fully explains them all, with interesting anecdotes from real parents. And the tone is delightful. Easy to read, but never dumbed down. Full of real information, but never judgmental about whatever decisions you might make. A great read that we turn to over and over again for reference.

It's SO refreshing to have a book that explains all the options available without judging the reader if they choose one over the other. A fantastic book! Get it!
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on August 9, 2013
After going through a number of pregnancy books in print and on the Kindle, this is the only pregnancy book for me. It is thoughtfully written, and well balanced with informative Western medicine and a holistic approach. The tone is personal and informative and realistic. I really feel like I can trust Dr. Evans experience and gives careful thought to each and every page. As a yoga/meditation teacher, love the mindfulness exercises and think they are really approachable, grounded and helpful for anyone. I had found the more popular books (i.e. What to expect, Sears, Mayo etc) to be boring, repetitive and condescending, and the books that introduced a more natural approach were too out there for me. If you are like me and appreciate Western medicine with a balanced, mindful, holistic approach to pregnancy, then you will enjoy this book.
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on February 20, 2012
I was searching for a book that can give me useful information during my first pregnancy. This book is my favorite since it lacks the annoying sense of humor and factual contradictions of "What to Expect When You're Expecting". It has valuable information about herbal remedies and teas that can help you while you cannot use medicine and exercises for coping physically and mentally, all explained in a warm and balanced tone (non-hysterical!!). It has all the information - not just the alternative one, so it gives you the whole spectrum. The book is definitely on your side - not trying to preach you anything, and open to alternative practices such as herbs, holistic medicine, yoga and acupuncture, while also written by an immensely experienced OB. I loved the "real voices" - quotes of patients who speak of their personal experiences. It is comforting to read other women's experiences - it sure puts your own in perspective and makes you trust what's written there. I also loved the drawings in the book, that are linear and simple and not over informative (I find color illustrations of the inside of my body disturbing, also photographs of nice smily suburban moms seem dated to me). This book has become like a good friend - I highly recommend it!!
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