Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Big Change

Nothing sends people scurrying for information like a pregnancy. Whether it's themselves, their partner, their child or even a friend at work who is expecting a baby, there is an insatiable desire to know more about the whole process. How is the baby developing? What changes are occurring with the mother? How should we be preparing? What should we expect after the baby arrives? And most importantly - what color should we paint the nursery?
We have a slew of books about parenting, pregnancy, nutrition, decorating, shopping, post-partum relationships, baby care, pregnancy fitness and child development. And because the demand is never-ending, we are always getting more, including two new books on the shelf.
Our Bodies, Ourselves: pregnancy and birth is from the Boston Women's Health Collective. This nonprofit organization has written other very popular guides to women's health, so if you liked their other works, you will like this one. This is a nice overall guide that covers all the basic topics of motherhood (nutrition, fetal development, stages of labor) and also discusses some issues you may be hesitant to bring up with your health care provider (sexual activity, postpartum depression, alternative birthing settings). The chapters on Special Concerns and Childbearing Loss are extremely valuable, but my advice is don't read these chapters unless they apply to you, you don't need to stress about possibilities.
The Everything Guide to Pregnancy Over 35: from conquering your fears to assessing health risks - all you need to have a happy, healthy nine months is by Brette McWhorter Sember. More and more women are having children at a later age, and this book addresses some concerns pertinent to older mothers: declining fertility, genetic testing and counseling, dramatic lifestyle changes, working while pregnant, preparing your children for a new sibling (including half-siblings), and recovery (because, let's face it, you're not going to bounce back easily from this pregnancy. This is the voice of experience talking here, ladies). If this is your first child, this book should be supplemented with a more general guide - like Our Bodies, Ourselves - to cover the basic nuts and bolts of pregnancy. If you're already a mother, then more power to you.

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