Sunday, 1 March 2015

Book Review: What to Expect Before You're Expecting

After I wrote yesterday, I decided to check out the library's e-book offerings for topical books. Nothing specific to same-sex couples or assisted reproduction (but there are a couple available in hard copy). I really wanted to stay home and read on my Kobo, so I downloaded "What to Expect Before You're Expecting" by Heidi Murkoff.

The book has four parts.

Part 1 is about getting yourself healthy and physically ready for baby-making: eat well, maintain a healthy weight, get enough vitamins, stop smoking/drug use, and other (pretty common-sense) tips. The most I got from this section was a list of foods to avoid (certain ingredients found in herbal tisanes, for example, can reduce fertility or increase the risk of miscarriage - there's an overwhelming list of herbal teas to avoid while pregnant here). I will need to go through the cupboard. I also learned that allergy medications can reduce cervical mucus levels along with sinus mucus levels. Not a good thing. As I am already starting to suffer a bit of the sniffles due to our unseasonably warm and dry February, I'm a bit nervous about that one.

Part 2 is called "Making a Baby". It details the biological process, your cycle, and different methods for predicting or detecting ovulation. Reading about basal body temperature etc. was interesting but my clinic says to use the pee sticks (and that sounds so much easier) so pee sticks it is for me. I skimmed over the section about sex - not applicable! and also skipped, for now, the "Are You Pregnant?" section which just seemed a bit silly. There's a stick for that.

Part 3 is about "Bumps In the Road". This section talks about different types of fertility difficulties and infertility and also includes brief descriptions about the various types of assisted reproduction. I found this to be a decent overview, but because I've already done a fair bit of reading on the subject I didn't learn very much. I did appreciate the diagrams of the various processes. This section also discussed some of the emotional challenges of infertility, miscarriage etc. but did not offer anything particularly meaningful beyond "go see a counsellor".

Part 4 is mainly missing in the e-book version - it is a cycle tracker. E-book users (or anyone - there's no DRM or passowrd or anything) can download the tracker from the publisher's website. Since I'm using the P Tracker app, I don't need this paper version, but for someone who isn't addicted to their smartphone I suppose this could be useful.

Overall I found this book vaguely interesting to flip through as I was trying to fall asleep but I didn't learn a whole lot that was new to me and/or wasn't common sense. Maybe if I had done no research this book would be a good place to start...but at that point I was just exploring, and certainly didn't think of getting a book already. It is kind of sad, but it seems like these kind of fact-based books are becoming obsolete in this era of everything-available-online-for-free. The only other benefit I can see of this book is that it is factual information, whereas online one needs to be careful what sources to trust. But I think I'm pretty good at discerning the fact (or can't possibly hurt) from fiction.

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