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My workplace publishes a developmental biology book, and skimming it as one ends up doing in my position can lead to some level of amazement that there are as many healthy births as there are - there's so much that can go wrong.

But it usually doesn't. It turns out that the disasters just get more attention, because we learn more from the problems than we do from the successes.

If you really want to freak out, though, a microbiology text will convince you that the plague is due any day now.

Carolyn elefant

The "What to Expect" series (there's also "What to Expect the First Year) may be a good read when you're not pregnant or raising kids, but they're awful if you are. The authors make it sound as if you put one unhealthy thing in your mouth while you're pregnant, you'll either gain 100 pounds or doom your baby to sugar addiction or diabetes. I don't remember any of the details of these books, simply that they were WAY too regimented for my taste. People have been having and birthing healthy babies for years before these books came on the market and I imagine that they will continue to do so whether they indulge themselves or their kids in junk food every so often or not.


The book is informative. But I also found it frightening with all the descriptions of possibilities. I also overdosed on their diet recommendations and can't eat their recipes any more without reminiscent nausea.

I remember reading the book for the first time during a road trip when I was six weeks pregnant or so with our first child. As I learned about what to expect in labor, I started to get scared. I ended up having three very good labor experiences (and three healthy babies). My husband ended up banning the book from our house.


A lot of people (especially those who advocate informed childbirth) have strong feelings against the "What to Expect" book for pregnancy. I read it myself during my 1st pregnancy, to see for myself. One alternative I recommend is Henci Goer, "The Thinking Woman's GUide to a Better Birth." There are a lot of useful resources out there with more balanced, and/or alternative views (alternative to the medicalization of pregnancy and birth), for those who want them. this site has some useful links, for anyone who is interested: http://informedchildbirth.com/index.html

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