Every now and then a book comes into our lives at the perfect time. This article is about a book that is just what I needed, just when I needed.
My wife and I are expecting a baby. It’s our 6th baby. (Yes, we have a television but we don’t like watching it. Yes, we were entirely intentional about the baby’s conception. Yes, we love our kids and are excited beyond words at the prospect of having this baby.) With my wife being what the midwives term “a grand-multi”, we are fairly familiar with the various stages of pregnancy, the labour suites at the hospital, the delivery options, the pain-relief, and the birth process. In spite of our basic knowledge and experience, we were delighted to discover “Expecting a baby?” by Dr Penelope Law. A few things stood out to me straight away:
The book is fabulous to look at. There are fabulous pictures – full colour, and full page – that immediately drew me in. The photography is incredible, and the illustrations are clear and informative.
The book is simple to read. Each section is broken up into short blocks of text with accompanying diagrams, making it easy to read and understand. This is a book for more than mum. Husbands and children will be equally informed and fascinated. Our kids were amazed at the pictures that corresponded to my wife’s pregnancy and our baby’s development.
The book is practical. As I read through the various sections I felt as though only the most relevant and necessary information was presented. Dr Law has transformed all of the medico-speech into simple, succinct advice.
The book deals with the issues – everything from as basic as maternity clothing and what to expect at the hospital through to the best way to prepare for pregnancy in relation to diet and exercise. Personal crises such as miscarriage, and challenges related to obesity are discussed in sensitive but honest detail. And sound, research-based advice is given in simple terms regarding everything from conception through the to week 40 of the pregnancy.
As a dad, I found the quality of information related to the three stages of labour to be critically important, and again, imminently practical. Expecting a Baby? walks soon-to-be parents through everything delivery-related in clear, unambiguous terms. I didn’t get the feeling that any agenda was being pushed. Everything from herbal remedies and massage to spinal blocks were described in frank and fair terms.
As an additional help, some simple and clear advice is given for those first six weeks post-delivery. There is helpful content about the practicalities of bringing a baby home, but also the challenges of post-natal depression, difficulties with breastfeeding, and getting the emotional support and health the whole family needs.
I also loved that the book has been “Australian-ised”. The authors and publishers have gone to great lengths to ensure that the information is all relevant to what happens here, not the UK or the USA. Given the significant differences in our health systems, this is an essential for me. (Even the useful resources in the back of the book are local references, rather than overseas resources… and kidspot.com.au gets a mention!)
I could write more, but it would be superfluous. The author is qualified, the book is beautiful, the words are accessible, the pictures are perfect. If you are expecting a baby – or planning one, this book will become your bible.
The verdict: When you find something that is excellent, you want to tell everyone about it. This is one book I can highly recommend. We are wearing out our copy as each day passes. For my wife and I, Expecting a baby delivers.
About the author: Dr Penelope Law, BA Hons, MRCOG, is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Hillingdon Hospital, London, honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College, London, and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Portland Hospital. She has wide experience of people’s experience of pregnancy and birth in the public and private sector. Penelope has developed novel treatments for uterine fibroids. This research was first featured on Good Morning America in 2001, and the treatment is now available in 90 centres worldwide. She makes regular appearances on radio and TV, including a recent One Born Every Minute special programme on obesity in pregnancy. Dr Sarah Clements is an Obstetrician and Maternal-Fetal Medicine sub-specialist at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney.
One Born Every Minute is the BAFTA award-winning factual series that features the extraordinary highs and lows of day-to-day life in a maternity hospital –where every minute of every hour a baby is born, but no birth story is ever the same.