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- Elisa Olivieri - Informative, entertainingThis approachable, entertaining, well-researched book provides clear and useful summaries of medical studies on a wide range of important pregnancy-related topics: the pros and cons of various pre-natal tests, epidurals, induction, doulas, and home birth; foods that are best to be avoided, and those that are less dangerous than conventional wisdom might have us presume. It is an excellent resource-- it's like a friendly encyclopedia of pregnancy- and childbirth- related medical research!
The author emphasizes the fact that medical recommendations come from studies, not from thin air-- and that with a little guidance (which Oster provides), women and their partners can understand those studies, and how to interpret the results in the context of their own lives. Oster shares her own choices (with much self-deprecating humor), but makes it clear that this book is about providing information, not prescriptions.
I greatly appreciated her discussions of the origins and evolution of different recommendations (eg. pre-natal testing after 35, bed rest, fetal heart monitoring during labor, episiotomies); it's really informative to see how best practices change from one generation to the next, and how sometimes practices lag behind research.
The introduction is available online at the Huffington post; I'd suggest checking that out to get a feel for the book. It's a lot less controversial than many of the reviews below would have you believe.
All the hoopla around the "pregnancy vices" chapter is overshadowing some of the other important contributions of this book. In the interest of helping you decide if the rest of the book is something you might find valuable:
One of the main themes of this book is that if you want to act in the best interest of your child, you need to figure out what "best" is. Your doctor can guide you, but you can and should have responsibility and agency in these matters.
To a lot of pregnant women, choices about alcohol, coffee, and food are easy-- err on the side of utmost caution. Yet one thing Oster highlights is that most pregnancy-related choices aren't so easily dealt with-- in part because the costs and benefits aren't always clear, and in part because even when they are, the alternatives *all* have costs and benefits worth weighing.
Expectant parents have to make choices, choices that involve real tradeoffs for both baby and mother. Non-invasive prenatal screening, amnio, or CVS? Schedule the induction, or not? Epidural, or not? Home, or hospital? This book does fantastic job of presenting the most credible, up-to-date estimates of the costs and benefits associated with each of these choices, and pinpoints particular things about your situation that that might make you weigh the costs and benefits differently than your friend, your OB, or Emily herself.
I think this is where the book excels, and really fills a void: chapters about topics that are less inherently buzz-worthy than booze, but perhaps even more difficult to navigate in a sea of murky data and misinformation. The prenatal testing chapter is particularly good.
- Mang Wong - Good review sourceI am on my 2nd year of medical school and I don't recommend anyone reading this book until 1-2 months before you take the step. This should not be treated as a text book but as a review book. You should learn everything before reading this. Also another tip is, you should have already or are close to doing at least 6000 questions before going over your review materials. Good luck.
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- Sally Wood Evans - FUN FUN FUNBecause I love these authors I loved Game Change which obviously had more interesting lead characters......Hillary and Palin....but I am really loving the roll out of the candidates and the story of Mitt, who was definately not my guy...anyway.....If Obama doesn't totally blow the Democratic parties chances I'd like to read their 2016 one about Hillary's cmpaign and WIN!!!!!
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