Review of Your Pregnancy Week By Week by Glade B. Curtis, MD, MPH and Judith Schuler, MS (affiliate link listed below)

I received this book from a prenatal sub-program of my medical insurance. Since I’ve relied on it more than any other book during my pregnancy, I thought that it should get its own review.

What I Like About This Book

The main draw for me is all of the information in this book.  That sounds really basic, but it’s true.  I’m aware that you shouldn’t smoke or drink during pregnancy and I know lots of other fundamental tidbits about do’s and don’t’s.  But this book goes so much deeper than that; I learn so many things each week.  Since this book is written by a Board Certified OB/GYN and his co-author who has a Master of Science degree in Family Studies, you can bet that they know what they’re talking about.  And while they go into advanced terms and situations (things like “anencephaly” and “meningomyelocele” can make you feel really stupid really quick!), they are explained in ways I can understand.  Now to just drop all those new vocabulary words into casual conversation…

I also love the format of this book.  I love things to be super organized and consistent, which this book achieves.  The book begins with a few chapters involving conception and preparing for pregnancy, but by Week 3 of pregnancy it evolves into a very organized format for each chapter to follow.  In each chapter, the layout is the same.  First you’ll read about “How Big Is Your Baby?” and “How Big Are You?”; then each chapter delves into “How Your Baby is Growing and Developing” with sub-categories.  I love that each chapter has a detailed drawing of either the fetus, or the fetus within the mother’s body.  After the illustration the chapter continues with “Changes in You”, “How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development”, “Your Nutrition”, and “You Should Also Know.”  At the end of the chapter is a suggested exercise to help with aches and pains of pregnancy, or just for circulation and general health.  “Dad Tips” are also spread out as little colored boxes throughout the chapter.

I also appreciate the setup of the book in that it doesn’t require me to do a ton of reading all at once.  This may sound selfish, but it’s hard for me to have time (or be comfortable long enough) to read 100 pages in one sitting!  Each chapter is roughly 10-15 pages long and very easy to read in just a few minutes, once a week.

I find the appendices useful too.  The last normal chapter in the book is “Week 41” and then an amazing section called “What Happens After Your Pregnancy?”  This overview is invaluable as it gives you a rundown of things to do while still in the hospital, first week home, second week home, etc.  It continues all the way through one year post-partum!  The second section is “Appendix A: When Your Baby is Born Prematurely”.  Appendix B is “Feeding Your Baby” and breaks down breastfeeding vs bottle feeding and other topics like engorgement.  Then comes the infamous Glossary and Index!

What I Don’t Like About This Book

This will be a much shorter section, I promise.  The main thing I don’t like about this book is a side effect of its formatting.  Basically, the authors chose to write about certain medical conditions during each week.  (It appears that was the only way they could do a week-by-week template but still get in all of this information).  Unfortunately, some of the medical information I’ve read seems to be out of order for when I needed it.  Let me explain – I was reading my “Week 30” chapter a few weeks ago, and in the category “Your Nutrition” I was told to avoid green tea during my entire pregnancy!  This honestly scared the crap out of me – I only have 10 more weeks left and now you’re telling me I shouldn’t have green tea?!?!  Luckily, I’ve had it very sparingly.  Still, it was scary and I wish that something like that – which I’m supposed to avoid throughout pregnancy – was listed earlier.  This has happened a few times to me; I’ll read something which I wish was put in an earlier chapter.  Ultimately, I know this book can’t substitute as a doctor, nor should it be my only source of information.  But still!

On the flipside of that complaint, some of the information in the book is a little unnecessary to me personally.  Remember those crazy terms I mentioned earlier?  Some of them go on for pages and pages and discuss a rare condition which is only found in a small percentage of Ashkenazi (eastern European) Jews, or another very specific racial/social group.  I’m too paranoid to skip through sections like this, even though I know I don’t need to worry.  But some of the disorders and diseases are so rare for most of us, that it seems a bit disproportionate to have them take up so much space in a generic prenatal guide for all women.  But just my $0.02.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?  What other books have you enjoyed during your pregnancy?  Leave me comments – knowledge is power, ladies!