During five years of infertility and longing to become a parent, I must have read every book out there even remotely related to pregnancy, childbirth, conception, etc. I guess I figured, maybe by osmosis, that my stubborn body would take the words I read to heart. Something worked – finally – and just maybe it was all those books.
What I do know is that this book, Dr. Guttmacher’s Pregnancy, Birth and Family Planning, is everything I ever read on this subject, compiled in one sturdy guide. I only wish I had had it years ago – reading one book instead of ten would have taken a lot less time!
The original version of this book, which was written by the esteemed pioneer Alan F. Guttmacher, M.D., has now been updated by a nurse practitioner and two physicians to include everything from the latest technological advancements to new birthing options.
"No woman is completely free unless she is wholly capable of controlling her fertility..." Guttmacher is quoted in the introduction of the book. He seems to firmly stand behind that statement, as he did everything in his power to help women become empowers, knowledgeable and capable when writing this book.
The book starts with an overview chapter on reproduction titled "You Were a Long Shot," which speaks volumes on just how complicated conception can be. Next, chapter Two covers becoming pregnant in detailed description. From there, a chapter titled "Are You Pregnant?" covers early signs of pregnancy to the first doctor’s exam. Other chapters cover the duration of the pregnancy, the growth of the fetus, the importance of pre-pregnancy health, care during pregnancy, early fetal testing, pregnancy nutrition, common discomfort, complications, infertility, miscarriage, premature births, labor and delivery, difficult labor, labor support, medical interventions, multiple births, the newborn, after childbirth, breast-feeding, family planning and abortion.
This book is thorough in its medical detail, but written for every woman in an easy-to-understand, concise manner. For instance, a person new to the world of reproduction can learn what the word "trophoblast" means (pre-placental tissue), at what time in pregnancy each of the anatomical systems develop in the embryo, all about how chemicals and medications affect a growing fetus, routine tests in prenatal care, the pros and cons of several birthing situations, genetic abnormalities, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), and the impact of diseases and surgery during pregnancy.
The sheer scope and magnitude of the information contained in this book prevents me from sharing everything within its pages – there is just too much for one review!
If you want to become pregnant, or if your are newly pregnant, this is the one book to grab– instead of a handful of others. And even if you are lost in the land of infertility, this book is sure to help you as well, since the first step to winning a battle is to "know thine enemy!" Good Luck and Happy Pregnancy!