Read our first book review for Expecting 411 in the Austin American Statesman today!
Between two pregnancies and this parenting writing gig, I have read easily more than two dozen pregnancy books. Some are better than others.
Many just try to put their own spin on the classic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” So I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped through “Expecting 411” by local pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown and Beverly Hills-based OB/GYN Dr. Michele Hakakha. (Brown is also author of best-selling ‘Baby 411’ and ‘Toddler 411,’ which are both on my home bookshelf. She also works at my pediatrician’s practice and sees my kids occasionally when our doc is unavailable. She’s also a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a mom of two school age kids. Where she finds the time is a mystery to me.)
I really like the organization of the book. Rather than going week by week ad-nauseum and focusing on the baby’s development, the information is grouped by subject in Q & A format, plus lots of quick charts about what is normal during a pregnancy and what foods, products and services are safe.
There’s a helpful chart about what fish are safe to eat, an explainer on why I got eaten alive by mosquitos last summer, and which services you can have at the spa without risk to the baby (Pedicure, yes. Mudbath, no.)
And it’s all relatively easy to find without reading the book cover to cover. Of course, it has a chapter on breastfeeding (written by lactation consultant Linda Hill who works with Brown at Capital Pediatrics) and a comprehensive chapter in the back on complications (So that pregnant women can read the bad stuff at their own mental peril or as situations arise and not stumble on information about placenta previa while trying find out if they can still eat sushi.)
It is, of course, geared toward women planning hospital births, with a few pages on home births (written by a midwife) and birthing centers. The general vibe of the book is pretty progressive: The writers are unequivocal that home birth can be “safe and joyful’ for low-risk patients; there can be labor without an epidural, but having a doula helps your chances; episiotomies are often unnecessary and labor should not be induced before 39 weeks without a good medical reason.
Brown will be answering questions and signing copies in person at BookPeople on North Lamar on Saturday (May 8) at the book release party from 3 to 5 p.m. There will also be car seat demos, food from Whole Foods and even whooping cough shots. Kids in-utero and older are welcome.