If you are only going to buy one pregnancy book, it has to be this one.

At 400 pages, this can appear to be a little daunting. This Bible is packed with information, but it is presented in bite sized sections so it does not come across as overwhelming. You can tell by the number of letters after the name of the editor that the book is going to be an authority on medical issues – and this is borne out by further contributions from other professionals in the health service.

Reading through Your New Pregnancy Bible is like having your own private medical team on hand to answer your every question. Every worry than an expectant mother could have is addressed, and no small issues are trivialised.

Some books fill their pages with accounts of pregnancy and birth from women the writers have encountered during their research, which do not seem to add anything. However, this book does not give space to such empty prose – every page is packed with useful facts. Do not worry – the book does not read like a biology text book. The chopping and changing between contributions from different medical professionals means there are regular changes in written style between chapters.

In addition to the facts, what is particularly striking about this book is the selection of photographs and diagrams. If only text books at school had been this interesting, the exams would have been easier! The illustrations are a mixture between photos of real people that are not too contrived, scientific photos of the development of the embryo, diagrams and step by step instructions.

The book takes you through pregnancy, talks about birth and caring for a newborn, but also deals with how to adjust with life as a new parent. What is most refreshing is that there is a frank discussion about caesareans and breastfeeding without any judgments being made. Another refreshing point is the fact that this book deals sensitively and thoroughly with things that might go wrong in pregnancy and childbirth. Worrying is part of being a parent, and starts early in pregnancy. You whether you are doing the right things, and what might happen if you have a difficult birth or if there is a problem with your baby. Some books aimed at a similar market seem to dismiss these worries and gloss over such concerns. This book puts the risks into perspective and gives a calm account of what might happen if things should go wrong. The effect is reassuring rather than scaremongering.

The easy to follow layout of this book with its handy glossary at the back (so you can understand what the midwives are writing in your maternity notes) and the credentials of the numerous health professionals who contributed make this book a must have for pregnant women who want to be well informed.

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