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What to Expect Before You're Expecting

(What to Expect)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,948 ratings  ·  173 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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3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,948 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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Jan 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: baby-books
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
Suzanne Ledford
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
This is a good basic guide for women who are getting ready to start TTC. The book is broken down into just a few chapters including Getting Ready to Make a Baby, Making a Baby and Bumps in the Road, along with a long section for tracking your cycle and other TTC options in the last chapter called Fertility Tracker. I personally didn't learn too much information that I wasn't already aware of, but I have been reading a lot about TTC and pregnancy. Overall I think it's a good basic guide for what ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
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
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Basic but helpful information.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Modern Girl
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some women get pregnant easily and without trying while others must endure tests and fertility help or are unable to conceive at all. All women are different and all face the steps towards parenthood differently. The book What to Expect Before You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel is the “complete guide to getting pregnant.” As I’m thinking of taking those tentative steps into motherhood, I decided to give the 2nd edition of this book a read through and review.

I can often tell a lot
Mar 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
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 (
May 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Wow. No. If you want a book that will scare you into not eating anything besides vegetables, and doing nothing but exercising and taking prenatal vitamins, then by all means, read this! If you want to keep yourself healthy by still keeping some sanity before you get pregnant and ultimately lose your sanity -- then stay away! I didn't find much to help me along in the journey of trying to get pregnant, unfortunately.
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.
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Aubrey Strange
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book

I liked the book and discussed it with my doctor after reading. Some things may be a little extreme but not bad. It is really readable and even funny at some points and is definitely easy to read.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
In the next edition, this book should absolutely have an entire section on pre-conception planning for lesbian couples AND/OR non-traditional family planning. Otherwise, it was useful and had some valuable information.
Kelsey Jones
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
it was interesting but a little too cutesy. the language was too cliche and flowery. sometimes being more straightforward is better.
Ryan Watkins
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very informative! Gave me a lot of good information I need before trying to get pregnant. Also taught my husband a lot!
Denise Satterfield
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Reading up on the next steps in life.....
Mar 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Some useful information, but overall, patronizing and full of gender stereotyping.
Kristy Gray
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gives a lot of advice! I enjoyed this book!
Lesley Morrison
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book - especially if you are looking to become a first time mom. The writing style does take a little getting used it, but the information is well worth it if you can live with the puns. In fact, I've read this book twice now - once before conceiving with each of our two pregnancies. I'm super overly organized and love to be as prepared as possible with everything in life, and this book was great at letting me know that I was on the right track for most of what my husband ...more
Megan Johnson
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I knew most of this information already because I'm Pre-Med. That being said, for how (relatively) old the edition I read was, it was pretty accurate. I liked that they did not push alternative medicine so hard, but rather emphasized that it should be combined with "normal" science-based medicine. Alternative medicine does have its place, but imho should not replace traditional medicine.

The writing was a little bland, but it is sort of like reading a textbook, so that's to be expected.

I also wi
Shawna P.
Goodreads needs to have some auto shelves available...DNF and "Skimmed the shit out of". This book falls into the latter. The What to Expect enterprise is a weird one. Their books are known world wide and are often said to be "the must reads" for parents, future parents, people thinking of fertilizing stuff, etc. Yet, I don't know why! Their books seem a bit do I put they took some great info, added stupid puns, took out any science, and made a book.

Like for real...this o
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some of the information in here can be useful when TTC but honestly I could get more versatile information from Google.

As with a number of other reviewers on here, I really didn't like the lack of sources, the constant referring back to their (sub par) website, and the information that was just shy of a medical recommendaton.

Furthermore, I have a beef with the heteronormativity and assumption that you need to be in a relationship to have a baby. There could have easily been a section inserted
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a remarkable read for anyone considering taking the step into parenthood. It went through each preconception stepping stone, provided useful information and helpful tips. It included information on TTC for same sex couples, couples with health and infertility issues, and couples who are past ‘optimum age’ for conception. I began this book feeling lost and nervous of TTC and ended it feeling inspired, motivated, and excited for the journey ahead. This book is a MUST read for all TTC ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Might re-read when we're wanting to try for a baby? eh. (that's a shrug)
For the most part, the science made sense with what I know. However, there are several pages spent on saying that when you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant you should limit yourself to below 4 hours of physical activity a week. What makes more sense is dialing back on your current level of exercise so your hormones aren't out of whack. Marathon runner? Run 10-20ks instead. It's not healthy to have that drastic chang
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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.

Other books in the series

What to Expect (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • What to Expect When You're Expecting
  • What to Expect the First Year (What to Expect)
  • What to Expect the Second Year: From 12 to 24 Months
  • 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
“Always apply repellent after you’ve applied sunscreen, and be prepared to reapply sunscreen more frequently because DEET decreases SPF. Products that combine repellent and sunscreen aren’t recommended.” 0 likes
“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
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