What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon MazelAuthor Qualifications:
Heidi Murkoff is a writer and mother, not a doctor. Sharon Mazel also appears to be an author without a medical background. Information on their credentials beyond "author" very difficult to find. Murkoff has been criticized for having no medical training.
What I Think:
Ahh, the classic pregnancy book. Because there is just so much information in this book, I'm not going to write a detailed summary the content of this one like I did for Brain Rules. Essentially, What to Expect describes each week of an average pregnancy and gives brief answers to pretty much every question you can think of about pregnancy. It's more of a reference book, not something you generally read cover-to-cover. The final chapters discuss the realities of labor & delivery, what to expect six weeks postpartum, your partner's role, being sick while pregnant and pregnancy complications & loss.
If you are an emotional person that is susceptible to "freak outs" during pregnancy, this book is not for you. You can so easily read something, diagnosis yourself, and think that your world is crashing down. However, for me, it's been a great reference guide. I have anxiety in my daily life, but for some reason, I feel very confident about my ability to handle pregnancy, labor & parenting, so the information didn't scare me. I enjoyed not only the "textbook" style for referencing quick questions, and the week by week details of how my baby grows.
If you're just interested in the week by week changes, I would suggest skipping the book and going straight to the What to Expect website, as it has all the same information. Also, you can research specific questions and use the website as a resource rather than feeling bombarded by all the other information you aren't ready for. My sisters-in-law both preferred The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, which I will review later in this series.
One of the problems I had while reading this book is that it doesn't say much about having a healthy or organic/non-toxic pregnancy. While I understand that the non-toxic lifestyle isn't mainstream, I wish a little more attention was paid to controlling negative environmental factors. There is one small section that basically says, "avoid toxic products," but doesn't give concrete solutions or info on which toxins are particularly bad in pregnancy (with the exception of lead).
For example, the book claims that microwaves are completely safe during pregnancy (p 78). Now I'm not saying you can't use the microwave, but back up 6 feet! Don't expose yourself to that radiation when its so easily avoidable. The book also says to avoid dying your hair in the first trimester only (p 144), but it's not good for you at all during pregnancy! I understand that its difficult for women to totally give up getting their hair & nails done, and I don't think its the end of the world. Its just something I would not personally do, so I take this type of advice with a grain of salt and get my non-toxic solutions elsewhere.
This book is a textbook that covers almost everything you want to know about pregnancy except living a non-toxic lifestyle. Take every piece of information with a grain of salt and ask your doctor about questions you are concerned about, don't just rely on the text as it is simplified and one-sided. I would only recommend the book to those who aren't prone to "freak outs" and who like the reference-style writing. For everyone else, stick with the website! The week by week updates of how you and your baby change are fun!
What do you think of What to Expect? Did it freak you out? Do you prefer the book or the website? Would you recommend it to a friend? Hope you're enjoying my new Book Review series! I'm trying to be helpful and critical, not judgemental. You definitely don't have to agree with me and I would love to hear your take!
xo kristen genevieve