What to expect when you’re expecting

I picked this up recently for the first time in four years. I remembered it to be an enjoyable and exciting read, and if I ever had any cause to question it before, it didn’t stick in my memory.

Now, coming to it with a new pair of eyes, I put to you the thesis that it is part fiction, part comedy, heavy on rhetoric and completely unsuitable for those that don’t have “normal” conceptions, pregnancies and births.

Take this gem for starters:

“A positive test [after IVF] doesn’t necessarily mean a pregnancy.” (No further explanation.)


“A fetal heartbeat appears between 10-20 weeks of pregnancy.”

And my favourite:

“As remarkable as modern medical science is, when it comes to pregnancy diagnosis, it still sometimes takes a back seat to a woman’s intuition. Neither tests nor doctors are infallible. You know your own body – at least externally – better than your doctor does. “

Oh please can I go and spread this piece of wisdom around TTC boards????

Other gaffs: Missed miscarriages are very uncommon (in most cases the baby has died several days or weeks before the woman has any sign there is anything wrong), second trimester miscarriage is caused by something wrong with the mother, not the foetus (most commonly caused by chromosomal problems), an ectopic pregnancy will not give a positive on a HPT (HCG will always rise when implantation starts – if this happens outside the uterus it may stop rising once it reaches a certain level but it this will happen long after you have had a positive HPT) and poor nutrition after the first trimester will harm the baby (the baby takes what it needs from the mother’s body so it will generally only be the mother that suffers).

I only flicked through most of the book so there may be more. I did look up induction as I was induced on my first pregnancy and had to laugh when they warned that labour after induction may be “unpleasant”. I wonder if they’d consider having your legs sawn off without anaesthetic “unpleasant”. Or if they generally consider labour to be pleasant.

I’m not one to take the softly, softly approach. I like to know how things are going to be so I can prepare properly. This book takes the “don’t worry, sure everything will be just fine” approach and while it is conversational and informative in the areas in which the authors have their own expertise, there is a lot of padding and fluff that may not wash with anyone that has had a bad experience.

16 Replies to “What to expect when you’re expecting”

  1. I remember seeing that one about missed miscarriages being very uncommon. I think the way it was phrased in my edition of the book was as a Q and A. Q. “Is it possible that I may have miscarried and not know that I have?” (or something to that effect), A. “This is known as a missed miscarriage and it is a very uncommon occurence”. WTF?? I had two missed miscarriages in the space of six months, so according to that book I am some kind of obstetric freak!

    The one about women’s intuition is bizarre! I agree with you, it’s not a reliable text. I bought a copy of Lesley’s Regan’s book and found it much more informative.

    13 weeks today. Woo hoo!

  2. Fab to see the video!

    Don’t mind WTEWYE – I lost my faith in it with the miscarriage stuff too – both the “missed” one (eh, most people I know who lost a baby had one of these) and the “second trimester” one, as there was nothing wrong with me. Plus the trisomy our baby had isn’t even mentioned in the book, yet other “problems” that are far less common (in terms of the odds) are mentioned. I definitely didn’t refer to it as much in my second pregnancy when you probably know more yourself!

    Hopefully you will have a smooth second trimester now, and that the nausea has gone for good…


  3. Feebee – I loved looking at your little person on the screen! Bouncing away! I am so happy for you. I liked the book ‘birth and beyond’…it’s been a while since I read it but I have a feeling it is a little more detailed/accurate. Sarah x

  4. I hate that book. Then again, I hate all pregnancy books where everything works out “just fine” and the section on miscarriage is just a little blurb to occupy some pages in the 1st-trimester section. I find them personally insulting.

  5. Feebee, I’m thrilled for you! Chuck the pg book away, you know more than any book about it. I haven’t been online lately so I was just delighted to see baby on the video, I’m so so happy for you!And your DS is such a little dote…

  6. Thanks all!

    Jane – so nice of you to keep track! Have you been in touch with Napro yet?

    I looked up the reviews for this book on Amazon after I posted. Not surprisingly it only got 3 out of 5 stars. But the reason most reviewers gave for not liking it was that it was too scary!!?!?!?! And I thought it wasn’t honest enough??? Maybe it just goes to show that those women who have never had any problems just don’t want to know that those problems can happen. Makes sense but also pushes the rest of us and the issues we’ve had to deal with into that pile of stuff that nobody wants to talk about or even know that it exists.

  7. HI Feebee
    Met you at NS babygroup. Delighted you are pregnant. Sorry to hear about your difficulties. I havent managed to get pregnant since my boy 4 years a go. Found out only recently that both my tubes were blocked. Devastating as you can imagine. The radiographer was outrageously rude too when delivering the news. Find that a lot of people (who have two kids or more) say ‘aren’t you lucky you have a child’. Not much empathy out there for secondary infertility. Knowing that i will never naturally conceive again has played all sorts of tricks on me. I was never the type to be jealous of friends always pleased for them when they did well. But now its so hard when you see the friendship dynamic alter- your friends move on because they are now hanging out with mums with two kids. Anyway awaiting appointmetn for IVF and can’t wait. Don’t care how many injections or what the pills do to my mind, i want a baby soooooo much.
    take care of yourself and thinking of you. x

  8. Up The Duff by Kaz Cooke is supposed to be quite good with a great big pinch of sarcasm and reality heavily featured through out.

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