Saturday, November 9, 2013

What to Expect Before You're Expecting; The Complete Preconception Plan

Title of the book: What to Expect Before You're expecting; the complete preconception plan

Author: Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

Publisher: workman publishing

Publishing Date: 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5276-7


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 that all hopeful parents plan for baby-making at least three months before they begin trying. And who better to guide wanna-be moms and dads step-by-step through the preconception (and conception) process than Heidi Murkoff? It's all here. Everything couples need to know before sperm and egg meet up. Packed with the same kind of reassuring, empathetic, and practical information and advice and tips that readers have come to expect from What to Expect, only sooner. Which baby-friendly foods to order up (say yes to yams) and which fertility-busters to avoid (see you later, saturated fat); lifestyle adjustments that you'll want to make (cut back on cocktails and caffeine) and those you can probably skip (that switch to boxers). How to pinpoint ovulation, time lovemaking, keep on-demand sex sexy, and separate conception fact (it takes the average couple up to 12 months to make a baby) from myth (position matters). Plus, when to seek help and the latest on fertility treatments from Clomid and IVF to surrogacy and more. Complete with a fill-in fertility journal to keep track of the babymaking adventure and special tips throughout for hopeful dads. Next step? "What to Expect When You re Expecting," of course.

Other works:

The authors are best known for What to Expect When you're expecting series which includes pregnancy, eating well, first year and toddler year as well as a babysitter's handbook.

Background of author:

None are available in the book I have, but the authors aren't doctors by the way, although they consulted a lot of doctors and medical team.


"The truth is, a healthy pregnancy begins before sperm and egg meet up. Before the home pregnancy test announces the good news. Before the queasies kick in and your waistline checks out. Even before you ditch your diaphragm or peel of your patch. A healthy pregnancy begins before you're expecting-which is why, if you're planning to get pregnant, you might want to start planning (and prepping) ahead."(viii)

Problem addresses:

According to the author, many people are making mistakes when it comes to trying to get pregnant, and she hopes to remedy the situation before they try, which is why the book was written, I assume. The book focuses on heterosexual couple as well as the women. Some advice I found interesting, while others seemed very common sense.

Summary of content:

A woman is thinking of and perhaps trying to get pregnant. What are some things that are important to know and consider, as well as how? Although I found the information in some cases to be overwhelming, it did seem to be common sense information. I was confused by the food section, in particular the salmon because it is something that's good for fertility but at the same time it contains mercury levels. There is focus on food, weight, ovulation, fertility treatments as well as how reproductive organs function.


"And here's how What to Expect Before You're expecting- a complete, start-to-cuddly-finish preconception plan- is everything you need to know, and everything medical experts recommend you do, to get your body and your partner's body into the best baby-making shape possible before you start baby-making." (viii)

Main points: 
Part 1: Getting Ready to make a baby
1. Prepping before you're expecting
2. Weighing In before you're expecting
3. Eating well before you're expecting
Part 2: Making a baby
4. The biology of baby making
5. Predicting ovulation
6. Figuring out your fertility
7. Getting busy making a baby
8. Are you pregnant?
Part 3: Bumps on the road to baby
9. Challenges to fertility
10. When you need a little help
11. Beginning again after a loss
Part 4: Keeping Track
12. Your fertility planner

Interesting and Informative:

The chapters that fascinated me the most were ones on cycles and fertility as well as various fertility treatments that the authors have described. Some stuff were common sense such as the more you weigh the difficult time you'll have conceiving, and that also tends to apply to heavier women. What did seem to frustrate me is that this is written in sort of an anxiety prone tone which strives to cover everything except the non-traditional couples such as homosexual men and women as well as women who had a difficult time finding someone to love, or else don't want to be with a man but desire child.

Supports thesis:

The book does seem to support thesis in my view, although most of their advice can be summed up as to simply visit and talk to your gynecologist about these issues and on what to do.

Issues the book raises: 

Ideally, how does one prepare for a baby? What needs to be done and eaten in order to conceive and be without problems? While the issues the authors raise are interesting, I can imagine that many people might become anxious over one thing or another, and it doesn't help matters that sometimes the authors encourage people to forget the rules that are written in there. Umm, what's the point of spending money then?

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

While there is good advice in the book, I can imagine that for many people this will cause a lot of anxiety when it comes to becoming prepared for having sex; after all its not only a good job that one has to consider, there is also insurance, weight, diet, fertility, fertility issues, and age. The only section I might recommend are the fertility treatments.


I haven't tried these tips, so for me they seem to be facts. I do admit that being prepared is important, but I wish the authors weren't see-saw about it; one minute giving instructions on how to be prepared and what to do, and then later on encouraging the reader to sort of forget it. I also wish that they would have been more detailed when it came to non-traditional parents to be; for example where to start if you want to be a single mother or you are in a homosexual relationship? Its obvious that the answer is sperm bank, but question is which one? Isn't there a site or something of the kind for reputable sperm banks? With that they have done a very poor job.


There aren't any sources in the book, believe it or not. The authors frequently mention the words such as evidence proves this or that, but no definite sources are listed. If there are too many to name, they could have posted a website or something of the kind for people to check on them. In history or anywhere else one can't get away without the use of sources, but why in this book they can?


Just to get an overview of different fertility treatments or what to focus on I would advise someone to read it, but if you're looking for something in-depth then I would ask to look elsewhere. Also keep in mind that they never listed specific studies where they get their facts from, which is sort of high suspect in my opinion. Also as well for such an intimate book I found the words TTC (trying to conceive) or baby-making (sex) very very annoying. And with the answer and question format there seems to be lack of compassion in beginning of a question, and instead a joke is inserted. I'm not sure about the reader, but if someone turns to a specific question then they are genuinely worried about something instead of wanting a joke within first few sentences!

Quick Notes: First of all I'm not married and I'm not trying to get pregnant, but should the issues ever arise, I thought to read this to know in advance of what to focus on. 

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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