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

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,056 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Announcing the prequel. From Heidi Murkoff, author of America's bestselling pregnancy and parenting books, comes the must-have guide every expectant couple needs before they even conceive—the first step in What to Expect: What to Expect Before You're Expecting.

An estimated 11 million couples in the U.S. are currently trying to conceive, and medical groups now recommend tha
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published May 15th 2009 by Workman Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Baby Book by William SearsHow to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele FaberWhat to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi MurkoffThe No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth PantleyThe Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,752)
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The Holy Terror
Oct 13, 2011 The Holy Terror rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody!
Completely useless. Most of the info contained within can be easily gleaned from the internet with a few cursory searches. If you don't know it's good for you to eat healthy food, be at a healthy weight and not smoke when you're trying to conceive you shouldn't be contributing to the human race anyway. She also assumes that every woman out there wants to make babies as fast as they can, but what about the people who have misgivings? No advice for them?

The author is not a doctor and she doesn't
I didn’t totally hate this, even with all the mealy-mouthed cutesy bullshit (I say this solemnly and with purpose: if any of you ever catch me unironically using the phrase “baby dancing” instead of just saying sex, do us all a favor and insert bullet into brain post haste, please and thank you). I didn’t even hate her complete aversion to showing her work and, you know, citing like a fucking professional. I
didn’t even hate the entire 50 words she devoted to noticing that,
ohmygosh, there are peo
Suzanne Ledford
First off, let me say I'm far from even expecting to expect. That said, I still love this book. For any woman who wants to get pregnant, thinks she might want to get pregnant or is just interested in learning all there is to know about pregnancy, then this is the book for you. WtEBYE covers everything from what vitamins to take and foods to eat to what possible problems you might face and what options there are if you have trouble conceiving. It has an in-depth fertility journal in the back so y ...more
This book offers only a small section to preconception planning (first 70 pages) and the following 200 are about fertility issues. It would be better named "What to Expect When You Have Fertility Problems, With a Side Note on Preconception Planning." ::sigh::

There is a lot of valuable fertility information in here and I really feel that this was the motivating factor in writing this book. There are several, better books on preconception than this, but this is not a bad place to start. A springbo
Modern Girl
I guess...maybe this book wasn't meant for me? I do plan to have a family in the next 3 years. My doctor did put me on prenatal pills to boost my calcium & folic acid while I'm still under 30. I've been working today a more active and healthy lifestyle for the past 14 months in the aim to "get fit for pregnancy down the road."

So, I thought this book would be useful.

There was a useful chapter. That's right, one chapter. The stuff about caffeine, and weight, and PCOS (which they make it sound
The first twenty or so pages has a great wealth of information. The chapters after that kind of go over the same stuff in detail and weren't terribly interesting. There are helpful pages in the very back that you can copy and fill out.


Get a full checkup-- weight check, thorough physical, medication overview, blood test (hemoglobin or hematocrit, RH factor, rubella titer, varicella titer, urine screen for diseases, TB, HepB, CMV, taxoplasmosis titer, thyroid, STD), PCOS, uterine fibroids cy
A few things I learned from this book:
1. You should totally quit smoking before trying to get pregnant
2. That drinking habit you have should probably go, too.
3. And that other little ah, habit you have? Ix-nay on the rugs-dray.

Ugh - the beginning of this was SO bad. It got a little better as it went on, but still nothing earth-shattering. And the author has an awful habit of putting at least one thing (sometimes two, sometimes three - I guess she likes to mix it up) per sentence in parantheses (
We’ve been trying to have a baby for a couple of years now, and I thought it was time that I made sure that I was as educated as I thought I was about conception. I definitely learned a few things from this book. This is a book you can skip around in easily, because not all of the topics are going to apply to everyone. It’s informational without being dry and boring. There is also information here for the man you are trying to conceive with. I especially appreciated that the book acknowledged th ...more
Informative book. This book got a lot of unfair reviews. If you are in the medical field, you'll probably hate this book. It is goofy, light hearted, and very informative. It is written with a forward by a doctor who agrees with the information that Heidi Murkoff shares with her reader, so, quite frankly, I didn't need an endnote reference for every fact that was shared with the reader. It helped me make a few lifestyle/vitamin alterations to boost my odds at conceiving. I enjoyed the silly phra ...more
Ashley Katsuyama
A great book if you are having trouble getting pregnant, or are just super crazy (like myself) and want as much information as you can get upfront. There are a number of things that the book and your doctors suggest you start doing months before you even start trying to conceive, and this book does a great job of laying all of that out. However, this can feel extremely overwhelming and the majority of it is not entirely necessary unless you are under trying circumstances.
Some useful information, but overall, patronizing and full of gender stereotyping.
I didn't find anything in this book that I couldn't find easily online. Maybe it would be good for someone who doesn't live a relatively healthy life, but generally I was VERY happy I had checked this out of the library rather than spent any money on it.
While not quite ready to conceive just yet, I wanted to get an idea what to prepare & what to expect in the early stages of family planning. While i found some of the chapters and information useful, the last few chapters on infertility and miscarriages was scary. I appreciate that the author wants you to be prepared for all situations, experiences, highes, and lows. But coming from families that have no history of conception issues, this stressed me out long before I needed to be. The book ...more
Ashley Mcleod
The painful writing style makes it so hard to take anything the author says seriously. Furthermore, she emphasizes the importance of each point, and then in the summary at the end of each small section turns around and says something along the lines of "but either way is ok, it's up to you!" It's as if she is so anxious to make everything overly positive, she will sacrifice the point she just made.

Possibly worth reading for those completely in the dark on all things conception, or who need their
Kristy Gray
Gives a lot of advice! I enjoyed this book!
Denise Satterfield
Reading up on the next steps in life.....
I'm not expecting, but I wanted to read this book to know what I need to prepare for if decide to go that route one day. I found it to be an extremely helpful guide to all of the peaks and valleys that may come with expecting. I also realized that maybe I really don't know as much about the birds and the bees as I thought I did. Though sometimes I felt the exposition lingered longer than it needed to (perhaps to be able to make it officially a book), I was able to skim and glean the information ...more
I didn't hate the book, and some of the GoodReads reviews of the book are a bit harsh.

Sure, there's information here that's easily found on the internet, but that could be said of most topics under the sun. The book acts as a nice stepping off point for the clueless (me!) and at least it's a consolidated sampling of the information I didn't know that I needed to know. Now I can take what I read and actually do more in depth research. Going blindly into the wilderness of internet information can
It's a PG-rated book ("baby dancing"?) that gets some things wrong (BMI is the most important indicator of your physical fitness), some things right (quit smoking), and who the heck knows on the other stuff, because the references in this book are nonexistent. It doesn't even reliably say which bits of information are actually scientifically proven and which are untested/assumed/old wives' tales. The message I got from this book was: here's a giant, simplified overview of all the preconception a ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Victoria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers wanting a baseline understanding of conception and bodily health prior to conception
Shelves: parenting
2.5 stars. I read this book because my husband and I are thinking of trying to conceive in the near future. I had very mixed feelings about it.

Because it was the first book I read, and because I do not have many close female friends who are mothers nor any siblings, even some of the basic information about what you should and should not do when trying to conceive was useful. (This includes such obvious advice as getting your weight under control, taking your vitamins, and a reminder about some t
Katelyn Conroy
This book is aimed at women who aren't pregnant and haven't begun trying to conceive, and I found it very informative as a starting point. It informs the reader about all the things Mom and Dad -to-be need to do or be aware of prior to TTC, including both physical and mental health, and information about charting. The most useful information was about the biology of conception, charting fertility, and busting common myths. I also really liked that there were frequent sections for men, so your si ...more
Pamela D
I decided to read What to Expect Before You're Expecting both to scare me into putting off having a baby and to get me mentally prepared for what needs to happen to have a baby. Because my husband and I are not planning on having a baby in the next few months, I am going to have to reread this book, because everything went in one ear and out the other. This is partly my fault, but also partly the fault of the book. The information always seemed either too detailed (so it was overwhelming to memo ...more
♥ Sarah ♥
I didn't finish this book (I got to about page 36) mainly because I set it aside to read more later and, a few months later, we got pregnant already. :) So I've moved on to What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Therefore...I probably won't come back to this except maybe if down the road we're planning to have another baby and I want a refresher on some things.

What I did read was very helpful and a good jumping off point for family planning. With the guidance of this book I was able to get all my
This book had some helpful information in it. It talked about BMI and how it can affect your pregnancy and the vitamins you should be taking to get your body in tip top shape. It mentioned how important it is to get any necessary dental work done before getting pregnant, and touched on finances. Then there was a lot of biological information, a lot of which I already knew and a lot of which I didn't. All very helpful, all in the first half of the book. The second half of the book deals mostly wi ...more
As with many of the 'what to expect' series, there's some basic info in here, but anyone who is even minimally all on-the-ball about general health is not going to find any new information here, and it's written in a dumbed down way. Some readers have called this 'patronizing'...I just thought it was boring for what should be an exciting and inspirational topic, in my opinion! I'm staying away from this series after too many disappointing reads.
Apr 17, 2014 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
To be honest, this book is utterly pointless. If you're actively TTC, what you need is Taking Charge of Your Fertility. If you just want some advice on pre-conception health, you can actually get that from the first chapter of the regular What To Expect, or most pregnancy books. And if you're not trying/not preventing, the advice can probably be summed up as "take a prenatal vitamin, don't do drugs, try to be at a healthy weight".
Edith G.
I was expecting something completely different. I have been trying to get as much information on this subject for the future and this book didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. Don't Smoke, don't drink, consult your doctor for this, and this, and this. I learned all this in my Child Development class in HS or by searching it on Google :O . I wouldn't recommend this book to any of my TTC friends. -_-
Very informative book. Also loved the writing style: down to earth with a good balance of lightheartedness. Has pertinent info for men and women (though, of course, mainly geared towards women). I read Part 1 (Getting Ready to Make a Baby) and Part 2 (Making a Baby). The first section includes preparing yourself physically (losing weight, changing diet). The second section reviews all the basic bio stuff we all learned in middle school (and if you're like me, you'd forgotten a lot of the details ...more
This book was a bit overwhelming with all of its information. So much to do, so much to track, so much to mess up. And to read that your odds of conceiving in a given month is only 15% is a bit depressing.\nI only scanned the trouble conceiving and miscarriage chapters. I dont even want to think about that at this point.\nI think this book is a decent resource.\n ...more
I didn't know much of anything about pre-conception plans, so I did learn some new things from this book. It was a bit repetitive, though, and focused a third of the book on fertility issues (a very important issue concerning pre-conception, but not what I was looking for at this time). I only think this would help those ladies who are clueless as me before they begin trying.
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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 When You're Expecting
  • What to Expect the Toddler Years
  • 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
What to Expect When You're Expecting What to Expect the First Year (What to Expect) What to Expect: Eating Well When You're Expecting What to Expect: The Second Year: For the 13th to 24th Month, this Step-by-Step Guide Explains Everything You Need to Know About Your Toddler What to Expect When You're Expecting Pregnancy Organizer

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“Booze and Your Boys Hoping to toast some big baby news soon? You might want to consider swapping your accustomed toasting beverage before that big news even comes through, or cutting back on how many toasts you make during conception season. Too much alcohol (as you may have been dismayed to discover at one point or another) can impair a guy’s sexual function—a function you’re now counting on. But worse than that, research indicates that daily heavy drinking can damage sperm as well as reduce their number (in some men, even one or two beers or glasses of wine is enough to temporarily keep the boys down). Too many rounds on a regular basis can also alter testicular function and reduce testosterone levels (not a good scenario when you’re trying to make a baby). Heavy drinking (equivalent to two drinks a day or five drinks in one sitting even once a month) by the dad-to-be during the month prior to conception could also affect your baby’s birthweight. So for best baby-making results, your best bet is to drink only occasionally and lightly—or” 0 likes
“Your Workout and the Baby Race” 0 likes
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