Who better to review a pregnancy book than someone who's been pregnant four times? Well, maybe someone who has been pregnant more than four times, but probably I have enough experience to offer something good here. When The Parent Bloggers asked for people to review a new pregnancy book called Body, Soul and Baby, by Tracy W. Gaudet, M.D. and Paula Spencer, I thought that maybe I have a large enough audience among the 10 or so of you who regularly come here who would be interested in this book, so I decided to give it a shot.
Body, Soul, and Baby is a meaty book, more than 500 pages, and it may be intimidating to some due to its sheer volume, but those who are persistent will find a gem of a pregnancy book, unlike any I've ever encountered. In addition to providing basic information about the medical aspects of pregnancy, development of your baby, and labor coping strategies, it teaches you how to care for all aspects of you - your body, your mind, your soul. It does this by encouraging you to be mindful of your pregnancy - all parts of it - to make decisions and live with purpose instead of letting your pregnancy just happen to you. It covers from pre-conception through a lengthy section on the postpartum period, not just a few pages but several chapters.
Of particular interest to me was both the treatment of c-sections and postpartum depression. I was thrilled to find that c-section was not treated as an afterthought, but rather had a lengthy section devoted just to it, the reasons one might be needed, what would happen, how to care for yourself afterward, and how to be at ease with getting one should you need it. I found some previous pregnancy books to be a bit dismissive of c-section or cover it in such a way that scared the crap out of me about how awful a c-section would be. As the veteran of four of them, one of which after 19 hours of labor, I can attest that while they carry more risk than a vaginal delivery, they aren't THAT bad, and I was happy to read a book that seemed to hold the same opinion.
Postpartum depression was extensively covered, including ways to decrease your risk of developing it, coping strategies if you do, how to recognize it, and ways that it may be treated. It was the most comprehensive coverage of postpartum depression that wasn't a book exclusively devoted to the topic that I'd ever seen. It also covered depression during pregnancy, something I most likely was suffering from during my pregnancy with Nemo, and something that I don't think I've seen even mentioned very often elsewhere.
I like this book, and I recommend it to anyone who is either pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant in the future. It is comprehensive without being frightening. The positive approaches teach you to nurture yourself as you prepare to nurture your baby - just what every new and prospective mom needs.