Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Book Tour: The Working Woman's Pregnacy Book

Because I love Mel so much, I thought it would be cool to participate in a book review when she asked. I didn't get the book I wanted to review, but instead was asked to do The Working Woman's Pregnancy Book. To be honest, I didn't expect learn anything new. I had a bit of an attitude from the minute I picked up the book, just knowing that it was a waste of my time.

See, I've been at this game (trying to get pregnant, trying to stay pregnant, or being pregnant) for the better part of 6 years. Plus, I've been the working pregnant woman through all of my pregnancies (full time for the first one, 30 hours a week for the others). I know how to work and be pregnant at the same time. I couldn't imagine how or why someone would need to write a whole book about it.

Also, I'm an information junkie who takes a stranglehold approach to the control of my own medical issues, fertility treatments, and prenatal care. I research, I read, I scour the Internet, I quiz my Doctors like they are sitting before an exam review board. Therefore, I have the dubious distinction of being wildly overeducated. Based on that, it would really take a lot for me to be bowled over by too much in the way of information related to pregnancy.

Well, let me tell you that I was in for a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure I can come up with 1 thing that isn't addressed in this book. I expected it to be a bunch of crap about employment law, how you aren't supposed to lift heavy boxes or handle radioactive chemicals (duh), when/how to tell your boss, and whatnot. While all that was covered (without the pandering attitude), it was also a treasure trove of general pregnancy information. Seriously, there is so much in this book that you don't even need the other pregnancy books (you know the ones I mean).

Here were some of my favorite things about it:
  • I love how she just outright called bullshit on a bunch of myths related to conception (myth of adoption as a fertility treatment, myth about propping your hips up after sex, etc.). Unfortunately that didn't stop her, just a few short pages later, from quoting a woman who magically turned up pregnant (after 5 unsuccessful IUIs) the day of their meeting with the adoption counselor.
  • She also called bullshit on numerous other myths such as heartrate being able to determine gender and the like.
  • I liked the section on nutrition in the first trimester. She said if you are only able to keep down crackers and Reese's peanut butter cups, then go for it. She was very realistic about soft cheeses, sushi, lunch meats, etc. One of my favorite lines in the book (and maybe it's because it made my mini cupcake obsession in the first trimester feel justified) was, "Food that isn't particularly healthful, such as a candy bar, isn't poison; it just substitutes for other fare that might provide more of what you and your baby need." Yay for junk food!
  • She did an excellent job of clearly explaining the specific differences between all of various types of Practitioners you could see for prenatal care (OB, family doctor, different kinds of midwives, RNs, NPs, doulas, MFMs). She also cleared up the differences between Level I, II and III NICUs. Very helpful.
  • She discussed any and all of the crappy pregnancy aches, pains and ailments. She said what it was, what you could try, and when to call the doctor. That's my kind of advice -- don't dwell on it, yet don't tell me I'm being a wuss either.
  • She makes an honest effort to explain the vortex of logic that surrounds the whole "40 weeks = 9 months" concept.
  • When discussing the debilitating first trimester fatigue, she says one of the smartest things I've ever heard: "Accept less of yourself."
  • Plus so many others my carpal tunnel was starting to flare up from jotting them all down, so I had to stop.
Being near and dear to my heart, I devoured the section on infertility treatments. I found her advice to be honest, timely and correct. I especially loved her explanation of how treatments will impact you -- how hard they are on a marriage, how you will experience a negative reaction to other people's pregnancy announcements, how you should expect to feel emotional throughout the process. She provides tips for how to juggle work demands and the grueling requirements of infertility treatment appointments. All in all, it felt like she knew what she was talking about. The biggest bonus of all was that she never once botched the difference between transfer and implantation.

I am just a huge fan of the way the she approached most everything in the book: here is what it is, here is the medical explanation, here is how it works, here are the myths and other crap you'll hear about it, here's how you might feel about it, and here is what you can do about it. I loved that she went into a lot more medical detail than most pregnancy books, because I prefer that type of information. Glossing over the medical specifics and using "floofy" words feels patronizing to me (personally). Perhaps some other women don't want all these laborious details, but it's exactly what piques my interest in a topic.

Of course she included quotes from a bunch of people that I loathe: people who had a forceps delivery without an episiotomy. People who exercised every day -- "I went for a run 30 minutes before I went into labor." (Yeah? Well screw you.) People who exercised 4 times per week -- including the day they went into the hospital. (That's just silly.) There was even some lady who climbed a 4,000 foot mountain at the end of each of her pregnancies just to prove she could do it. (Me, personally? I have WAY better uses for my precious free time and scant supply of energy.)

The worst one of all was in there: "I wasn't sick one day of my pregnancy, I felt great." Those are the people that kill me the most, the people who say, "I never felt better!" Are you freakin' kidding me? I mean how BAD must you have felt prior to being pregnant that this now feels GOOD? Geez.

Good grief, everything is in this book. There are too many great things to name but it covers soup to nuts including prenatal care, BBT charting, infertility treatments, fetus growth milestones, prenatal testing, maternity clothes, job accomodations, how jacked up your body gets and all the unpleasantness that goes with it, how amazing your body is as it magically grows another human being, birth plans, labor, breastfeeding (including how to do it successfully after returning to work), the trainwreck your body becomes after delivery, the trainwreck your emotions become after delivery, newborn behavior, PPD, childcare options, postnatal care, birth control, etc.

For any woman embarking on pregnancy while working, it is probably exactly what they are looking for -- a compliation of useful information all in one spot. Hell, it's a great resource for people who aren't working. Truthfully, many times it read just like I talk. It contained the same information in the same straightforward manner that I convey to my friends when I'm aiming to offer helpful advice. Based on that, I'm going to declare that I liked it. Lots. Go buy it.