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Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

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This new Mayo Clinic book on pregnancy provides you with practical information and reassurance on pregnancy and childbirth. Compiled by Mayo Clinic experts in obstetrics, it offers a clear, thorough and reliable reference for this exciting and sometimes unpredictable journey. This comprehensive book includes: A month-by-month look at mom and baby, In-depth "Decision Guides" to help you make informed decisions on topics such as how to select a health care provider, prenatal testing options, pain relief for childbirth, and many others, an easy-to-use reference guide that covers topics such as morning sickness, heartburn, back pain, headaches and yeast infections, among others, information on pregnancy health concerns, including preterm labor, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, along with an overview on being pregnant when you have pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

614 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2004

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Roger Harms

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5 stars
2,068 (36%)
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828 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 505 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,439 reviews57 followers
May 9, 2012
I haven't read this one cover to cover, but I'm including it here anyway because it is by far my favorite pregnancy book. Most of them try to hold your hand, but then end up making you feel guilty that you're going to ruin your child's life if you don't do things exactly the way they describe in the book.

This one, however, is so clinic that there are no value judgments whatsoever. They explain that there are many different ways for pregnancies to progress and explain the different ways medical professionals deal with all of them, without even hinting that any particular pregnancy is better or worse.

This book not only covers pregnancy, but beginning newborn care. The first section of the book covers pregnancy, labor, delivery,and your first days at home with your infant chronologically, giving a solid overview of what you can expect. Then in later chapters they go into greater details on some of the problems and issues that can come up along the way. Throughout explanations are thorough and easy to understand.

Because the book is so long, it's not really a read straight through kind of book, but more a valuable resource that you'll find yourself going back to time and time again as questions come up. If you want a book that is "just the facts" and full of tons of them, then is the pregnancy guide for you.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,214 reviews103 followers
July 26, 2012
The very savvy marketing people make sure to note conspicuously on the cover that this book was written by doctors who are also parents. And you know what? That's a pretty useful thing to know. I'm not one of those people who believe that "one mom's simple trick to losing a belly" is automatically a smart diet plan or that a schoolteacher is likely to invent a cold prevention drug that the pharmaceutical companies couldn't. I prefer to leave my medicine to people who have actually been trained and practice it, thank you. But at the same time, there's a huge emotional component to pregnancy, and knowing the authors went through this themselves is actually reassuring.

And it's a good reflection of the book--this is an excellent balance between solid medical information (it tracks well with information I've obtained from other sources, including other books and websites as well as anecdotally) and reassurances that these things are normal, this too shall pass, and what is and isn't a legitimate concern.

I'd heard a lot of horror stories about the venerable What to Expect When You're Expecting, enough to scare me off. I worry too much already, I don't need to be given a good dose of hypochondria on top. I was relieved to find that the Mayo Clinic, while blunt, is not particularly prone to scare-mongering. There are the endless lists of symptoms, of course--pregnancy involves some truly horrifying symptoms, even the relatively benign ones, that go way beyond the stereotypical craving pickles thing. And they don't want you to freak out and think you're abnormal and going to die when your feet change size or your eyes stop focusing or various parts of your anatomy abruptly change color. But they're very soothing about it all--they explain how likely various things are to happen, why they happen, what it means, what to do about it, and when to actually consider it a problem. Oh, and for most of the symptoms, assure you it's temporary and tell you when it's going to go away.

I think the part that finally really won me was the chapter on serious complications. Which they flat out tell you at the beginning of the chapter not to read unless you actually develop one of the conditions, because they're all extremely unlikely and reading this would just freak you out.

Like most of the rest so far, I took their advice.

And how has that been going for me? Pretty well so far. They've been mostly right, and following along with the pictures and week-by-week explanations is fun. There are some minor disagreements between the book and my doctor, so I'm taking the most conservative advice. And they missed one really big symptom for me, but it's apparently relatively rare except within a certain subset of people. Since the reason What to Expect has gotten so bloated and scary is that they try to include every possibility, no matter how unlikely, I can't complain too much about them not mentioning something that's benign, untreatable, and only affects people who have previously broken their tailbones. (Turns out, that comes back to haunt you. Curse you, sixth-grade me!)

Check back next year, I suppose, but so far so good.
Profile Image for Leah.
620 reviews83 followers
October 23, 2022
Great informative book, much shorter than What To Expect When you're Expecting. It was strange how it has a 10 month pregnancy with the months/weeks different than What To Expect. Honestly I prefer what to expect because it's more informative but you get little tidbits here and there that's not in another book. I read a chapter every month to o along with the book, so it's been 8 months!
Profile Image for Talia.
855 reviews
January 30, 2011
I chose this book as my "pregnancy reference guide" in lieu of "What to Expect..." due to its negative reviews. Fortunately, this book has the goods to back it up. Authoritative, objective, and grounded, this book omits the gushy "mommy" tones that I find in most pregnancy books and leave only the facts, including lots of statistics and outside additional sources to consider. This book also includes a lot of information on pre-pregnancy, labor, and post-pregnancy, which is nice. The middle of the book is chunked up by the month, with a nice page at the each of each section that tells you when to call your doctor and when to leave your doctor alone because you're fine and worrying about nothing. I also like the large reference section on pregnancy greviences. This is a definate must-have for general pregnancy reference without the fluff.

While I'm thinking about this, realize that I consider this book to be a reference book. Meaning, it's not meant to be read cover to cover. You wouldn't "read" a dictionary, would you? You read the section that's pertainant to you, and then you close the book for later. Because this is a reference book that covers a wide berth of topics, many are not going to be applicable to you and will probably just give you bad ideas. For example, don't read the section of possible-but-unlikely birth defects or infant maladies if you don't need to.
Profile Image for Jennifer Ochoa.
239 reviews5 followers
September 30, 2015
The worst part about my first trimester is that nausea kept me from reading. (Only 2 books read the whole month of September! ARGH!) I spent most of the last month in bed watching a marathon of Curb Your Enthusiasm, because only Larry David could make me feel better through his discomfort, haha. I did consult this reference guide a number of times in my misery (primarily to find out WHEN DOES THIS CRAP STOP?) and found it to be a good, scientific source of information. I detest anything cutesy, so it fit the bill. Better than the pregnancy app I have on my phone (What to Expect). Nothing super-enlightening or surprising I thought, but after spending a month on an online pregnancy forum, I think it should be required reading for anyone to be allowed to get pregnant...there are some really clueless women out there procreating. For anyone with an ounce of education and intellectual curiosity, this book won't blow your mind, but it will be a nice reference for looking up stuff and having an organized timeline.
Profile Image for Alisa.
88 reviews22 followers
February 9, 2010
By far the best pregnancy book out there. Much better than the most popular pregnancy book, which I borrowed and read a couple of years ago (you know which one I mean). First thing, this is a resource with academic credentials written by 2 OBs and 1 CNM and endorsed by the Mayo Clinic, v. the "mom" credentials of the other book where the author has no academic credentials. The differences go on from there.

Each month is broken out by explaining what is happening to baby and what's happening to mom. There are checklists and signs of when to address certain issues with your health care provider. The next sections deal with labor, delivery, and all sorts of information about your newborn. There are also important decision-making guides such as choosing yours or your baby's health care providers, managing pain during childbirth, circumcision, etc. A great glossary and index as well. Can't say enough positive things about this resource, which I'm still using almost daily.
Profile Image for Jo.
110 reviews12 followers
July 12, 2016
This is the perfect balance of information and clarity. It is exciting to read the weekly changes for the baby.
Profile Image for Amy.
238 reviews6 followers
January 16, 2012
Very informative and straightforward, particularly for someone like me who has no interest in giving birth anywhere other than a hospital. If you're interested in an alternative birthing arrangement, you won't find much information on that here, but that's probably not surprising, given who puts the book out. Other common pregnancy decisions (amnio or not? pain meds during labor or not? breast or bottle?) are described with a nonjudgmental rundown of the pros and cons of both sides.

Other than that, this guide offered tons of facts in an adult way, without sugarcoating, alarmism, or cutesy language. I didn't want to read about how an angel from heaven is swimming around in my uterus and will soon be a precious, precious bundle in my arms; I wanted to know when the fetus loses its tail and whether I should freak out and call the doctor right away over various symptoms. This book fit the bill.

Speaking of symptoms, there is a nice, long section toward the end that catalogs a wide range of them and what they might mean depending on where you are in your pregnancy, and gives tips on whether you should call a doctor right away or mention it at your next visit, etc. There's also a section about caring for the baby when it first comes home, and another quick chapter of advice for fathers/partners.

As a final note, my husband demands that I point out that, based on the group author photo on the back, the book was written by a bunch of nerds. That only made me trust it more.
Profile Image for Maria Shuffit.
393 reviews17 followers
April 11, 2017
When I found out that I was pregnant, I check out a ton of pregnancy books from the library before choosing which to get my own copy of. I picked a lot of the big, well-known titles, including What To Expect When You're Expecting, and some lesser known titles, but this one came out on top.

What I valued about it over others was simply the layout. While I felt that some if the other pregnancy guides were too heavy and verbose, the Mayo guide broke down the information in fairly brief, basic sections while not shorting the reader on information. The way I used the book, I would read the section for my upcoming week each week so that I would have an idea of what to expect. I found it very helpful. I also really liked the exercises that it presented. One thing that I wish I had done differently was that I wish I'd skimmed ahead a bit more - there are a lot of really helpful tidbits and "trouble-shooting" type sections further along past the weekly info part of the book that would have been helpful had I realized earlier that they were there.

Overall, great guide, highly recommended!
Profile Image for Rosy.
203 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2011
I eschewed the standard What to Expect When You Are Expecting because I am the type of person who thinks the worst case scenario will always happen to her, and after a few pages of What to Expect I knew reading it would turn me into a nutcase. The Mayo Clinic Guide is a straightforward, nonjudgmental, scientific reference book for pregnancy. There are no ponies and unicorns, no references to miraculous angels from heaven, no judgment on the normally controversial stuff like nursing versus formula, circumcision or not, etc. There is a section about things that can go wrong, but it's at the end and easily avoidable, and assumes that the pregnancy in question is a normal, healthy one. In the age of the Internet there is simply too much information, and what usually gets lost is common sense... this book has it in spades.

If you want to read one and only one pregnancy book, this is it.
Profile Image for Abrar Yasser.
61 reviews
June 12, 2020
As a first timer, this book was a really helpful source! My favorite!

كتاب ممتاز يركز على الحمل ومراحله ويحتوي على بعض المعلومات حول الولادة والاعتناء بالمولود

كمية المعلومات معتدلة فلاهي كثيرة مملة ولا قصيرة مخلة

167 reviews10 followers
March 1, 2020
Packed with useful, reliable information on pregnancy. Not a page turner, but a great reference!
Profile Image for Sadaf Matinkhoo.
58 reviews23 followers
May 4, 2020
I read the second edition from 2018. Very comprehensive and a fantastic reference book to have on hands throughout pregnancy.
Profile Image for Kirby.
481 reviews14 followers
November 29, 2020
Straightforward, comprehensive, medical and evidence-based overview of pregnancy, labor & delivery, and postpartum issues. This is a reference book, so it reads sort of like an 8th grade textbook. Which is fine-- it should be easy to navigate and understand-- but it's not an especially engaging book to just sit down and read. But if you need a basic reference guide for what to expect from pregnancy, a book like this seems essential.
Profile Image for Ravioli Rachel.
54 reviews12 followers
May 6, 2013
You know what this means!!!

Physical copy would probably be a bit easier to navigate and flip around to different sections then the e-book was...
Profile Image for Whitney.
548 reviews5 followers
December 28, 2017
Okay, so I didn't technically read this book cover to cover, but 1. that's not how reference books are generally supposed to be read, and 2. I think I've earned the right to count this as "read," since I went into preterm labor and basically skipped my third trimester, rendering much of the book irrelevant. This is probably the best pregnancy book available, as it gives you practical information without being fear-mongering (as many pregnancy books are wont to be). In fact, it mostly lumps all the scary stuff into one chapter on complications.
Profile Image for Tracy.
41 reviews
December 18, 2021
This is by far the best pregnancy book I've read so far. It answers many questions as well as touching base on taking baby home, including diagrams of swaddling and tips on coping with colic, and gives symptoms guides so you aren't constantly looking up things on the internet (though you probably still will because pregnancy is weird and confusing). This book's last chapter also talks about pregnancy loss, which is extremely important and should be included in all pregnancy books.
Profile Image for Meg.
244 reviews
December 13, 2021
As a nurse, I thought this book did an excellent job of explaining pregnancy, associated side effects, growth of baby, and what to expect pre and postpartum in a way that was easily understandable. Chapters were short and I really did read the book cover to cover. Oftentimes, I’d bookmark a page for my partner to read too - this one wasn’t aimed at mothers only.
Profile Image for MLG.
25 reviews5 followers
September 6, 2020
This is the best overall book for science-backed and even-handed advice about what to expect from pregnancy. As another reviewer mentioned, it's very clinical and basically value-judgement-free which is a relief in a space over-crowded with books with opinionated and often unsubstantiated takes. If you only read one book about pregnancy, this would be an excellent choice. (And certainly much better than the panic-inducing, paternalistic tone of What to Expect!)
Profile Image for Ashima.
16 reviews1 follower
August 5, 2017
This book is written in a easy to read and understand manner. I felt it gave me a good understanding of what to expect and also had some tables that are useful for a quick reference.
Profile Image for Laura Burdick.
145 reviews3 followers
April 2, 2020
(I have the more updated version)

I haven't read every word of this yet, but it has proved to be such a helpful, factual resource as we're going though this pregnancy. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Abbott.
237 reviews
August 18, 2020
An excellent source of science-backed information. None of the frills of a usual pregnancy guide, just straight forward information and data presented in a useful, intelligent way. Exactly the kind of resource I was looking for to help me prepare for IVF and (hopefully) pregnancy!
Profile Image for Brainaud.
39 reviews
January 4, 2023
Way, way better than What to Expect! Factual and informative but doesn’t go super in-depth on any particular topic.
Profile Image for Areej  Kiwan.
114 reviews31 followers
August 26, 2022
this book was a great reference for me throughout pregnancy journey.
It is super organized, informative and easy to read.
The book gives you medical information starting from preparing to be pregnant till taking your baby home with all pregnancy trimesters tracked month by month..
If you need one and only guide book throughout your pregnancy journey, this one is perfect..
Profile Image for k.wing.
670 reviews26 followers
October 29, 2018
A fantastic resource. I read every chapter except one (about miscarriage... I just couldn't do it personally), and I'd recommend it to every woman looking to conceive or already pregnant.

A side note, even if you don't read this book, definitely read a pregnancy book of some kind while you are pregnant. A lot goes on, you'll have a lot of questions, and books like this put you at ease and will arm you with great information. It's always better to be informed when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews520 followers
October 31, 2014
More of a reference book than a cover-to-cover book. I was still in the market for a month-by-month book when I initially grabbed this. It's fine for that, if brief. The real value is in the "decision guides," alphabetical symptom index, and complications discussions.

Which raises an interesting question for me. Every time I opened this book to look up heartburn or carpel tunnel or whatever, I always snagged on the word "healthy" in the title. It's just such a meaningless word in this context. Particularly considering that this book is over a third discussion of complications. I just kept asking myself what an "unhealthy" pregnancy is supposed to be? Presumably that would be a pregnancy "less healthy" than the reader's.

This was on my mind because of the thing – you know the thing – where a baby is born and there's that haha funny ablest joke everyone makes about ten fingers and ten toes. "Gosh we had a baby and it's not disabled, woo!" "Healthy" is usually the code word for that, in the absence of the joke. Given that there was a tiny – but familially controversial – chance that Hogwart would be born disabled, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about this. What would we say about her in that case? She would have ten fingers and ten toes, but there are lots of people who would not be able to say that she was healthy. Which is bizarre to me, because I consider myself to be quite healthy, which is apparently a radical act seeing as I'm disabled. Ironically, I think both my partner and I consider me – the disabled one – to be more healthy than my partner – the cancer survivor. The one time I articulated this in passing to a medical professional, I got nothing but bafflement back.

Anyway. Ranging far afield here. My point is only that this book, like many others, is selling this word "healthy." Which is fine, until you start thinking about the word and it collapses to meaninglessness. And, under that, a lot of fear and ablism.
Profile Image for Leanne.
118 reviews
November 27, 2011
This book is a lifesaver, and is the only pregnancy book I consult regularly. My husband also finds it helpful. It gives you just enough info that you feel informed, but not so much that you feel like you're always on the verge of miscarriage. It has a few charts to consult if you're experiencing certain side effects (nausea, bleeding, dizziness, etc. and then in the third trimester section, cramping, etc.); the charts are possibly the most helpful thing in the book because they have rows for varying degrees of whatever side effect you're looking up and information on that specific side effect. It seems like it might be overwhelming, but it's actually really helpful to learn that most women experience X, or that it's just this certain thing going on in your body-- not something to freak out over, but something you should mention at your next doctor's visit. And everything in this book, from when I should call my doctor to weird little tidbits of info has been corroborated by my OB, so I feel like I can trust info I get from this book-- which is good, because it's written by Mayo Clinic doctors. It's not ever going to be the chatty advice book, but it will prevent you from losing your mind, and tell you what to look forward to and start to think about.
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