Review: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Book Review What to Expect When You Are Expecting

Sigh.  I have a love/hate relationship with this book.  It is so frequently considered THE pregnancy book.  In fact it is the number one bestseller in the pregnancy and childbirth category on Amazon.  But just because something is popular or well known, does that make it the best?

I got this book when pregnant with my first.  I think it is a fun book to have on hand especially for the first pregnancy.  It is so fun to track along month by month.  To read the descriptions of what is happening.  Every week my husband and I would look through a couple books that we had and share in the delight of imagining all the changes and growth our baby was going through.

It’s also great to get an idea of what to expect in your own body.  To read the lists of symptoms and changes.  To understand, on a surface level, what is happening now and prepare for what is coming.

I love the question and answer format.  There are a lot of little things that may be obvious to second time moms and care providers, but to a first time mom it is such a comfort to have these questions plainly answered.

Now for the hate part of my love/hate relationship….  The book is like a pampers commercial of pregnancy/birth advice.  It follows such a conventional path that you don’t really get an open, honest view of the process.  It glides over what I think are the most important things to learn and prepare for.  There aren’t real references.  It’s pretty much an opinion piece where the opinion is do what your care provider says and don’t think for yourself. It sort of follows along with the idea that birth is hard and unpredictable, so don’t try to prepare for it.

It also tries to be all things to all people.  Giving a sliver of information in many categories when really, perhaps, those subjects may be better referred to another, more comprehensive resource.

So in summary, as long as you use it as a fun reference book for pregnancy and not as your one and only be all end all of preparing for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum– then buy it. Have fun with it. Enjoy the tips. But then pick up a book that is a little more serious. One that is a little more informative and realistic. One that explains your options. One that will really help you to understand and prepare for your birth, not everyone elses’.

5 thoughts on “Review: What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

  1. I used this book throughout my pregnancies, but found that you can NEVER fully know what to expect when pregnant. Especially when each pregnancy and delivery is different. Having one emergency C-section and 2 scheduled ones thereafter is not how I envisioned pregnancy and childbirth, but is a blessing nonetheless.

    1. Pregnancy and birth can be so different for every woman, every pregnancy which is why information can be so helpful! You are very brave to have gone through 3 cesarean sections! My first was an emergency one, and with the assistance of better information and amazing care providers I had a VBAC with my second. I really don’t think I would have been strong enough to deal with surgery, a toddler, and a new baby! You are amazing!

  2. I think you can find all that information online now (and more!) but it really is the “staple” book isn’t it!?! I read it and re-read it for my first. I didn’t give it a second thought for my second. :) No two pregnancies, births or children are the same. Thanks for the review!

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