Pregnancy Day By Day, edited by Paula Amato and Maggie Blott
This was an uncomfortable book to read, and it seems deliberately so. In reading this book I had all kinds of questions, and they were not necessarily the right kind of questions as well for someone who is not expecting children nor is in a romantic relationship at present. For one, the editors of this book appear to be of the belief that nipples not only need to be freed when it comes to encouraging public breastfeeding but also to demonstrate the way that breasts change in appearance during the course of pregnancy. Indeed, the book’s photographic approach is remarkable, whether that includes lots of images of how an unborn child looks in the womb or what it looks like to put cold lettuce or cabbage leaves under one’s bra in order to cool down those toasty pregnancy breasts. Also of concern to this reader at least was the way in which the editors felt it necessary to repeatedly hammer in the “day by day” tips how it is that one could encourage pregnancy, since it appears that this book is aimed at people who appear to have fertility problems, whether because either (or both) the husband or wife is old or because of various health conditions. None of these make for comfortable reading, it should be noted.
This massive book of about 500 pages or so is divided into several unnumbered sections and many of the pages are full of photographs that must have been sourced in a very disciplined way given their similarity in filter and focus on the bodies of suitably diverse pregnant women. The book begins with a short introduction and then moves on to a discussion of what is involved in a healthy pregnancy, including diet, exercise, sex, illnesses and medications, and even such matters as traveling. After that comes a section on pregnancy day by day, which is further divided into the three trimesters and then week by week, along with sections that deal with such subjects as conception, genes and inheritance, exercises, prenatal care options, ultrasounds, diagnostic tests, and assessing fetal growth and well-being. Some of the discussions focus on the partner or doctors or various other pregnancy-related matters. The next section after that is labor and birth, including pain management for women in labor. Then comes a discussion on life with a new baby, with a focus on the first two weeks and then a discussion on the six week checkup. Finally, the book ends with a discussion of concerns and complications during and after birth of diverse kinds, as well as a glossary, resources, index, and acknowledgements.
In reading this book, it is pretty easy to tell that this book is aimed at suburban mothers-to-be who have various reasons (including the possibility of past STDs from lengthy sexual experience) for having fertility concerns who are highly motivated to care for an unborn child and have the means to adopt strange but potentially useful means of caring for themselves as well. This book is not really written for someone involved in an uncomfortable or even unwanted pregnancy, but is aimed at those who want children and are willing and able to take fairly serious steps in order not only to have children but also to provide those children with the best possible situation. The authors also expect that some of the readers will be single mothers, but single mothers who would be able to schedule daytime classes to avoid lovey-dovey couples, and to have an awareness of the legal protections that pregnant women are supposed to have according to the law. Again, this book is aimed at a savvy, middle-class audience that can be expected to have reasonably flexible and understanding job situations and bosses as well as the resources to do well in pregnancy. Whether or not that is a reasonable assumption to make is not really for me to decide.