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What to Expect When You're Expecting (What to Expect)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  38,598 Ratings  ·  2,294 Reviews
Incorporating everything that's new in pregnancy, childbirth, and the lifestyles of parents-to-be, complete with a preconception plan, information on choosing a practitioner, birthing alternatives, second pregnancies, twins, making love while pregnant, and coping with common and not so common pregnancy symptoms.
Paperback, Third edition, 597 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Workman Publishing Company (first published February 15th 1969)
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May 26, 2008 Senda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
I seem to disagree with most of the reviews of this book.

This book got me through my pregnancy. Period.

I wasn't overwhelmed by the amount of information; instead I found it to be the only friendly, comforting book out there. While other books were telling me that if I'd had a glass of wine before I knew I was pregnant, my child would have extra limbs and no face, What to Expect... reminded me how minute the chances actually were. When the my overly clinical other books told me to panic if I hadn
Nov 18, 2007 Ellen rated it it was ok
If you have to read one book on pregnancy, do yourself a favor and pick a different one than What to Expect. If you have lots of time on your hands and want to read several books, go ahead and read this one too. The general tone of this book is alarmist and condescending. Unless, of course, you planned the conception perfectly (Why, you and your partner didn't even take Tylenol while trying to get pregnant!), your diet during pregnancy is a model that the USDA would be proud of, you wouldn't dre ...more
Mar 07, 2008 Liz rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
How do I give this zero stars? This book should be called "What to Freak Out About When You're Expecting" and, unfortunately, goes hand-in-hand with TLC's "Baby Story" for gross negligence in maternity "infotainment." It addresses everything that could possibly "go wrong" or be of concern, emphasizing rare "high risk" complications that do NOT effect the VAST majority of women. Rather than explaining normal, healthy pregnancy in a positive and reassuring manner, it talks down to women and convin ...more
Kevin Simons
Mar 20, 2012 Kevin Simons rated it did not like it
It is unfortunate that sometimes no one tells us we are bad at something, and then we bumble on through life thinking we are good at it. That's what's happened to Heidi Murkoff, who is a terrible writer laboring under the delusion that she is a good writer and comedic to boot. This book has somehow managed to attain status as some kind of pregnancy bible, but in reality it is an unbearable slog through every worst case scenario any expectant parents could ever hope to avoid. The author looks dow ...more
Dec 01, 2007 Lain rated it liked it
When I was pregnant with my first child, I picked up nearly every book on the bookstore shelves having to do with pregnancy and childbirth. I wanted comfort, a friend in the form of a book, a companion to hold my hand and let me know everything was going to be okay.

This book was not that friend.

Instead, everytime I read this book, I found myself getting more and more agitated. It exposed me to almost TOO much information, verging on the point of overload. You know how medical students become c
Sep 02, 2008 Jen rated it did not like it
It felt to me like this book is out to scare moms-to-be. Instead of celebrating how normal many of our pregnancy changes are, this book makes you question any weight gain (hello, we're growing babies here! They weigh alot!)and can often take a hectoring tone. I don't think ladies need that. Check out any of the other fine pregnancy and labor books out there by Sears, Gaskin, Kitzinger, Simkin, England and others.
Jul 23, 2012 Anne rated it did not like it
I got about halfway through with this back in 1999 (when I was preggo with my 1st), before I chucked it. I'm getting pissed off just thinking about it right now. There I was, a brand-new mother-to-be, and this ridiculous book had me convinced that every time I farted there was something wrong with me! And believe me, I farted quite a bit.
Trust me, if you want to be a nervous wreck, run out and buy this book. Otherwise, relax. Babies are hearty little suckers. Just because you take Tylenol for h
Jun 21, 2007 HeavyReader rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE!
Avoid this book at all costs!

It infantilizes pregnant women and tells them to just go along with whatever the doctor says they should do. I also remember it being very hetero-normative.

A much better book is The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger.

The only thing What to Expect When You're Expecting is good for is starting a fire to keep the expectant mother warm.
Sep 28, 2014 Jessica rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: bubbly girls who are "preggers"
This is probably not the worst pregnancy book in the universe, but it is the worst one I've ever read. Unfortunately it's also the most popular, no doubt due to its admittedly catchy title and unavoidable ubiquity. I'm sure that many, many women, like me, zipped off to the library and grabbed this first thing after their positive pregnancy test.

I had zero ambivalence about being pregnant, but I imagine that for other thinking women less sure they want a baby, this book could do a lot to make the
Feb 24, 2008 Sally rated it did not like it
It may be appropriate to read these books as an introduction to pregnancy and birth, but you must not stop here!

The books in this series may be helpful if you know absolutely nothing about how pregnancy and birth are managed in mainstream America, or if you hate asking questions from your doctor. But in my opinion, there are many, many books out there that educate and prepare women to understand, deal with and manage their pregnancies and births as partners with their health care providers, not
Jennifer Spinola
Jun 13, 2012 Jennifer Spinola rated it it was ok
Preachy, harping, self-righteous. I hated this book. Every other page has some guilt-tripping admonishment not to eat white flour ("Push the bread basket away at a restaurant if the bread isn't whole wheat," it said once, and oh, count the calories in the butter you do spread on your whole wheat bread). And avoid white sugar like the plauge - in favor of "juice-sweetened" cookies or desserts, which the authors seem to think is the ticket to health in every occasion. News flash: sugar is sugar, w ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing
This book has a mixed reaction from moms--some feel that it can be too strict at times in terms of diet and exercise. However, I really enjoyed the book and took the pregnancy diet tips as tips, not ultimatiums. As a first-time mom, this book had helpful question and answer sections for each month that encouraged me.

What to Expect answers questions such as what to watch out for when you are pregnant, tips for buying a layette set and how to help you and your husband bond with the newborn. In a
Jan 31, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok
Talk about your guilt trips! I know this is a popular gift to give someone who is expecting a baby and it does contain some useful info. but it does seem like the Martha Stewart approach to child rearing. Inpractical for most of us mortals.
Erin Woods
Jul 07, 2008 Erin Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My pregnancy bible!
Jul 10, 2010 Agnes rated it did not like it
Shelves: pregnancy
Well, some of my goodreads friends may think (and I wouldn't blame them) that pregnancy has made me completely illiterate, so it's about time I caught up with my updates. It's true, between doing baby registry research, diaper research, birth research, and driving to work for the past three months instead of taking public transit, I've had much less time to read than before, but I suppose that's just preparation for the busy time to come. In any case, on to the reviews...

Starting with this one,
Aug 03, 2008 Evelyn rated it liked it
I found this book to be a good place to start. I greatly enjoy the research and information-gathering process, so this book presented a jumping-off point for me in my quest to arm myself with knowledge about my pregnancy and birthing options.

Overall, I found "Expecting" to be:
- user friendly
- easy to read
- clearly laid out
- thorough
- fairly moderate & inclusive in its opinions & advice

Was this book my only resource during pregnancy? Absolutely not! Was it my favorite resource? Nope! Was
Aug 11, 2007 Lp rated it liked it
I read this book when I was pregnant with my son (who's almost 10! Time flying, etc.) I know it's popular to slam this book, but it was a vast improvement over the books that came before it. As long as you ignore the diet advice (hey, I usually do!). Still, it had good solid advice and I liked it fine. It was a bit of a ground-breaker for books that came after it, so I don't know that I would say it is even close to the best information around now. Lots of better information available online, an ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it
How can you complain about too much information? This book was great, practical and reassuring. The index had most every topic I could think of. However, the version I read needed an update on epidurals since it didn't recognize that many women today have them during childbirth.
It does have diet guidelines that are healthy goals. I personally didn't follow them but they might be useful for someone who thinks that it is ok to gorge on whatever you want just because of being pregnant.
Adele Goetz
Mar 25, 2008 Adele Goetz rated it it was ok
Once I got past the terrible, frumpalicious Mom in loafers cover art, I found this book both helpful and horrifying in almost equal measures. Although the ending was totally predictable(9 months then baby? Yawn.), I was still shocked by it. They really had me hoping up til the very end that there was some other way for that baby to get out.
Jul 06, 2008 abbysmom rated it did not like it
Too alarmist for my taste. According to this book pretty much everything you do while pregnant will hurt your baby. Not for me!
Jun 25, 2007 Amy rated it it was ok
I know there are a number of pregnant women who swear by this book series, but this book just opened up a whole lot of insecurities for me. During my two pregnancies, I found a lot more useful resources with a less condescending tone. When I read this book, I thought it was loaded with good information, but I also felt like I was the most irresponsible pregnant woman when I couldn't do what the authors mandated.
Steph Sinclair
This book gives the worse breastfeeding advice ever! And gives all around outdated advice in regards to pregnancy and infants.
While somewhat informative, this book leans heavily on several female stereotypes in offering information. For example, lots of the questions in each section are geared towards women who are worried about their looks/weight gain, and fewer are about actual medical concerns. Those questions that do deal with medical aspects of pregnancy do not offer much scientific information supporting the claim of the book. The chapter for fathers is much the same, with virtually all the questions focusing on ...more
Cyndy Aleo
May 26, 2011 Cyndy Aleo rated it did not like it
This book should be burned. And banned. And quite possibly run over by a car beforehand. Nothing makes an expectant mother more terrified than the horror stories in this book, and the idiot who decided an appropriate "breakfast" for a pregnant woman is half a bagel with one tablespoon of non-fat cream cheese should be coated in butter and broiled.

This one is often thought of as the classic "pregnancy bible" and I can certainly see why. I was gifted a copy of this book when I was about a month and a half pregnant and started reading it immediately. I read it through my whole pregnancy from start to finish, following along with each week. I always looked forward to hitting a new week and reading up about it in the book throughout my pregnancy. I really enjoyed it and felt that it covered pretty much everything you could ever want to k
Angela Blount
May 21, 2012 Angela Blount rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-coaching
I was back and forth on rating this for a rating, but I'd generally give it 3.5 stars. I rounded up due to agitation over a few of the hyper-negative reviews, to be quite honest. I don't feel that a book this valuable ought to be given a bad name because certain people didn't get out of it whatever it was they were expecting. (Please excuse the pun.)

This is an extensive reference guidebook covering the stages of pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and post-postpartum--not something I'd recom
Nov 17, 2012 Emily rated it did not like it
I was hoping this book would just give me a lot of knowledge about pregnancy so that I would approach everything with some understanding about what's happening to my body, and what I can expect during childbirth.

If you want these things, just ask your doctor. Don't read this book. It's full of benchmarks for "normal" pregnancies, and I met only about half of them. After spending the first 3 or 4 months worried about every discrepancy between my situation and the book, and then asking my doctor
Melissa Storm
Jun 18, 2013 Melissa Storm rated it it was ok
Horrible, judgmental book. "Overweight? Well, you should have thought of that before you got pregnant, you unworthy cow!" seems to be a common refrain. Beyond the clear prejudice and lack of helpful info for women who carry extra weight besides baby, it also lays out various pregnancy complications and the associated terror way too early in the book and with way too much detail. I had to stop reading once I hit the part about preeclampsia and then proceeded to spend the next three months terrifi ...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
There's much better out there, and I didn't appreciate the condescending tones present some of the time. Perhaps it was meant as reassuring. I was also annoyed by the author making sure to let you know it's called labor because it's hard work. Actually, labor isn't always about work. Mine wasn't until about 30 minutes of it. They said it was a mild discomfort (not in every case certainly) Labor isn't hard work, it's sometimes hard pain but there's nothing to be condescending about. Also, almost ...more
Jan 03, 2011 Monique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All preggers :)
An infanticipating woman's bible/bestfriend/guide/companion during the crucial 9 months of her life. I learned a lot from this book, things that a gynecologist would probably omit mentioning at a pre-natal checkup but would prove to be worth knowing. The month-to-month chapters have been informative and helpful to me during my pregnancy, and I'm sure it will be to all expecting moms, as well.
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anyone else think this book is out to scare?? 25 167 Mar 28, 2015 12:41PM  
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Heidi Murkoff is the author of the What to Expect series and author of Eating Well When You're Expecting, The What to Expect Pregnancy Journal & Organizer, What to Expect the First Year, The What to Expect Baby-Sitter's Handbook, and the What to Expect Kids series from HarperCollins. Her interactive website is, and she lives with her family in Los Angeles, California. ...more
More about Heidi Murkoff...

Other Books in the Series

What to Expect (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • What to Expect the First Year (What to Expect)
  • What to Expect the Toddler Years
  • What to Expect Before You're Expecting
  • What to Expect at Preschool
  • What to Expect: Eating Well When You're Expecting
  • What to Expect at Bedtime
  • What to Expect Gift Set
  • What to Expect Baby-Sitter's Handbook
  • What To Expect Pregnancy Planner
  • What to Expect When You're Expecting Pregnancy Organizer

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“Researchers have found that a woman’s brain-cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy (which could explain why you won’t remember what you just read about in that last paragraph). And—for reasons unknown—women pregnant with girls are more forgetful, on average, than those carrying boys (who would have guessed?). Fortunately, the pregnancy brain fog (similar to what many women experience premenstrually, only thicker) is only temporary. Your brain will plump back up a few months after delivery.” 0 likes
“The American College of Nurse-Midwives if you’re looking for a CNM. Go to or, or call 240-485-1800.” 0 likes
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