The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, May 25, 2003

Answering expectant questions
Deepika Gurdev

What To Expect When You Are Expecting
by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff & Sandi E. Hathaway. Pages 407. First Published 1984. Revised & Updated Edition 2002. `A3 11 (British).

What To Expect When You Are ExpectingIT comes as no surprise that this book has been dubbed the "pregnancy Bible", "the book for all mothers to be", something "you must get as soon as the pregnancy test turns out positive". Considering that close to 19 years after it first hit the bookshelves, What to Expect When You are Expecting has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and continues to figure prominently on bestseller lists, all these eulogies ring true.

This completely revised and updated edition is packed with answers to hundreds of questions and worries expectant parents have. And if you find yourself tongue-tied each time you visit your gynaecologist and brimming with questions as soon as you have reached home, then this is the perfect answer to all your unanswered questions.

The information is presented in a month-by-month format, starting with planning a pregnancy and choosing a doctor with whom you are comfortable. Unlike most other pregnancy-related books, it doesn't end at childbirth, it also takes you through six weeks after delivery.


For a start, all the issues related to pregnancy, such as morning sickness, stretch marks and swollen ankles are thoroughly covered. Using a question-and-answer format, the book addresses topics ranging from getting your nutrition if you are a vegetarian, feeling sad to feeling the baby hiccup, feeling the baby's first kick to the time he starts turning.

Each chapter is concisely presented and begins with an explanation of what to expect at a prenatal visit during a particular month and a brief description of how mother and baby are growing and changing. This is followed by answers to questions that nag most pregnant women: Am I getting sufficient vitamins? What about iron? If the baby is in a breech position, will there be some movement? Will I be able to have a natural childbirth? After childbirth will I be able to breastfeed my newborn?

Almost every imaginable issue related to pregnancy and childbirth is discussed in this volume, including how the mum-to-be might be feeling to what her concerns maybe during each month of pregnancy. The emotional issues and the blues that a pregnant woman has to grapple with also figure prominently in the book.

The book also features a complete nutrition plan, a special chapter for expectant dads, and extensive information on dealing with minor illnesses, chronic conditions, and pregnancy-related complications.

In addition, the book incorporates the most recent developments in medicine and medical science and responds to the many letters and queries received from readers. Plus there's an all-new 24-page 'Pregnancy Notes' insert for keeping a record of your doctor's observations and your weight gain, among other issues.

What to Expect`85 does not come across as a medical guide, it is more like having a friend talk to you. Part of the reason for this is that the authors themselves are mothers, who have put the book together with help from medical experts.

Just a note of caution: while the answers are generally reassuring, the sheer range of problems that can occur during pregnancy can ruffle the feathers of even the calmest mother to be. Use the information given in this book to be aware, but learn to take each day as it comes. That's the best way to truly enjoy the nine months and relish the wonderful moments that will follow.