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The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger

1996; 432 pp. $24. Knopf.

Although the information isn't organized in the month-by-month format that makes the best-selling What to Expect When You're Expecting so user-friendly, Sheila Kitzinger's Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth is a best bet for the woman who wants a healthy and informed pregnancy. Kitzinger considers such issues as the choice of practitioner and the place of birth, prenatal care, labor, delivery, and newborn care. There is also a glossary, a guide to understanding your medical records, a chart for determining your EDC (due date), and a week-by-week account of fetal development?along with a fabulous description of what birth is like for the baby.

What really sets this book apart is Kitzinger's approach to birth, which is "based on the idea that the woman is active birthgiver rather than a passive patient" and her focus on birth "as experience rather than as a series of exercises in breathing and relaxation." And unlike most other pregnancy guides, she gives special attention to the concerns of single or low-income mothers.

Whether or not you believe in natural childbirth, I guarantee this book will be your constant companion from the first trimester on?and without that ridiculous "best odds" diet.


ISBN: 0375710477

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