Monday, 5 July 2010

more pregnancy book reviews

I wrote this last Wednesday but I've written so many posts since then that I'm only posting it now.

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In the library again. More books.

Your Pregnancy – with Hilary Pereira. The Netmums guide to having a baby.

This one does mention both miscarriage and stillbirth in the index. It's better than the last book I talked about for information about miscarriage; this one does discuss the emotional impact and the practicalities of what will happen next, as well as acknowledging that if you tell people you're pregnant early on, that does at least mean that if anything goes wrong that people already know and you'll have support. It even describes missed miscarriage and there are a couple of case histories from people who have gone on to have healthy babies post-miscarriage. It all feels a bit squashed into a small section (3 pages or so), but at least the section is there.

As for stillbirth, that's mentioned five times. The first is about the risk of stillbirth if you consume soft cheeses. One states that the technical difference between miscarriage and stillbirth is that if you lose your baby after 24 weeks it's a stillbirth and that then '[you] will be able to hold a funeral for your baby'. No mention of the fact that that you can actually arrange to have a funeral earlier at your own expense. Not mention of the fact that some hospitals arrange communal ceremonies you can choose to attend if you miscarry in hospital.

One states that if you've had a previous stillbirth you may be offered more scans for reassurance (no mention though of the fact that some areas will agree to extra scans after a miscarriage, depending on the circumstances). One tells you that if you contract a condition called ostetric cholestasis that your risk of stillbirth is higher. And the last is the contact details for SANDS.

So at least stillbirth exists in the Netmums universe, but you'll still find nothing about pregnancy or parenting after stillbirth, or even any statistics or information about its causes or aftermath.

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Pregnancy for Beginners – Roni Jay

This one isn't here this week but I saw it last week*. Its name is a little patronising, but it's actually pretty good from my quick scan through. It's not like the other pregnancy books; it doesn't tell you exciting titbits about how big your baby is now. Instead it talks you through the major decisions you'll need to make – but it is the most realistic book I've seen. The first chapter is about when to tell people you are pregnant, but it actually discusses the two opposing viewpoints of tell or don't tell, and the pros and cons of each. Support if you do miscarry vs the pain of needing to tell everyone that you've lost your baby. I was amazed to see something so honest, I really was.

When it gets to discussing when to buy furniture for your baby and when to decorate the nursery, it actually states that if you have a stillbirth (... I think it actually says something like 'if you don't get to bring the baby home' but still - it alludes to stillbirth!!!!!) it might be harder for you if the nursery has already been prepared. I don't actually agree with that - it might be as hard coming home babyless to a house that looks like it never expected a child - but still. At least the possibility is mentioned.

I was really impressed by how detailed and realistic it was, especially for a short book.

* Actually it was - it was just on a display near the entrance on a different floor.

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Miscarriage: the facts - Gillian C L Lachelin

Hilariously this has one good review and one bad review on amazon currently, and i think that's perfect. It's written by a 'leading authority' in the field, and you can tell. I actually thought until I read the back that it was aimed at doctors treating women who've had a miscarriage – but no, it's actually aimed at the women and their partners.

It's written in a very clinical style and i think that 50% of readers will like this and will want to be able to read the medical information about miscarriage. However the other 50% will be looking for kindness and reassurance, and those readers will not like this book at all.

It does contain a couple of case histories - one in particular is about a 38 year old woman who had something like eight miscarriages at various gestations, from 6 weeks to 12. After that she ended up with two healthy children. It says something like 'the following case history may give you hope'. And it might not give hope to everyone, but it gave me a little.

If you like your information clinically written, this may be the book for you.

2 comments:

Catherine W said...

Interesting reviews.

Don't even get me started on the whole before 24 weeks issue and funerals and the like. Argh. Some books really to get their facts straight not only on stillbirth and miscarriage but preterm birth too.

B said...

thanks catherine.

when i'm reading these books i want to get my red pen out and annotate the margins.