|Gerard M. DiLeo, M.D.: The Anxious Parent's Guide to Pregnancy|
Contemporary Books (trade paperback) ISBN 0071383077
Bookstore shelves overflow with pregnancy manuals. They range from the didactic and preachy to the dumbed-down "we know you're an idiot so we'll talk reeeeal slow" books they hand out in birth prep classes. Back in my baby-making days, I hated them all. I especially disliked the prophesy of doom books that suggested your child's entire future rested on what you ate, how much exercise you did or didn't get, and whether you remembered to take a tennis ball and fuzzy socks to the hospital. I quickly discovered that the whole process resembles a game of chance. Following the rules to the letter in no way guarantees a favorable outcome; nor does breaking a few rules condemn your child to a life of delinquency. Dr. DiLeo's contribution to the field pleased me by not taking itself so very seriously.
The Anxious Parent's Guide to Pregnancy covers all the same information as the other gazillion guides, plus some, and adds a hefty dose of reassurance. Without falsely suggesting that nothing could possibly go wrong, the book gives reasons to worry, or to stop worrying. And Dr. DiLeo's OB/GYN credentials give his thorough, detailed manual authoritative weight. Dr. DiLeo's chatty tone makes the factual information accessible, and the "fast forward" boxes encapsulate the material, making it easy to skim.
That said, I think the good doctor sometimes veers from light-hearted to flippant and risks offending some readers. "Pregnancy Rules for Husbands" boxes offer pithy remarks about dealing with one's pregnant wife. But the pregnant women who make up the bulk of his audience may not find them amusing. "Rule #2: No garment -- no shorts, no skirts, no slacks -- ever, ever, in any way makes a woman's behind look big. Ever." Ha ha, right?
Occasional obnoxious remarks notwithstanding, The Anxious Parent's Guide to Pregnancy brims with facts and explanations for all the mysteries of pregnancy, without glossing over the miserable ones. As a test, I recalled bizarre or upsetting symptoms or issues I experienced while pregnant and checked to see if the book covered them. I found them all, including the nearly debilitating leg and hip pain that caused me to park in handicapped spaces for months. (Don't you hate those books that say you should keep jogging until your due date?)
DiLeo inserts some opinions sure to enrage the crunchy granola types. For instance, he recommends C-sections for all breech births. And he commits the modern-day heresy of suggesting that formula is a pretty good substitute for breast milk. Duck, Doctor!
Get The Anxious Parent's Guide to Pregnancy if you want a common-sense manual to help you through your first pregnancy. By the second baby you'll roll your eyes at all the books, anyway. I know.
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