I’m back with another pregnancy-related book review! I’m trying my best to educate myself about pregnancy, labor, and newborn care as much as I can before Baby Girl arrives, so I decided to read the rather hefty Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Second Edition by Myra J. Wick, M.D., Ph.D. In today’s review, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this book and my opinion on whether or not it’s worth reading for soon-to-be parents!
At 35 weeks, it feels like my due date is rapidly speeding towards me. There is still so much to learn, decide, and prepare before the big day, and it’s really nerve-racking not knowing exactly when this baby will come! So I’m trying to get ready in advance, and one of the ways I feel like I can regain some control in my life is by educating myself as much as possible with books, videos, and podcasts that talk about pregnancy and labor.
To be honest, I’m not really scared of the pain of labor. Maybe that’s a bit naive. I am actually much more anxious about the logistics of getting to the hospital when it’s time to go, what to do with a baby at home once she’s here, the mechanics of breastfeeding, and how to facilitate early education. I’m also worried about developing post-partum depression and not having a good connection with my daughter, and how having to care for a newborn might affect my marriage. The pain of labor is such a small thing compared to everything else on my mind.
That being said, however, I still need to know what to expect in labor and delivery, so I read this entire 800+ page guide, front to back, to learn everything I could! It took me way longer to read than a typical book because it was so long and contained a lot of not-so-interesting detailed medical information, but I learned a ton in the process.
“This newly updated book includes information on everything from healthy lifestyle habits to the latest technologies in prenatal care and childbirth. Features include week-by-week updates on baby’s growth, as well as month-by-month changes that mom can expect. In addition, you’ll find a forty-week pregnancy calendar, an overview of common pregnancy symptoms, information on safe medicine use, tools to help parents with important pregnancy decisions, and general caregiving advice—information moms and dads can trust to help give their little ones a healthy start.
The second edition of Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is the collective effort of a team of health care experts who find nothing in medicine more exciting and satisfying than the birth of a healthy child by a healthy mother. Any parent-to-be looking for accurate and authoritative information from a reliable source will surely appreciate this illustrated, easy-to-understand book.”
Quoted from Amazon
This book really was the ultimate guide to pregnancy. It was jam-packed with so much medically sound information and advice, and it was a very educational experience. I learned about all kinds of concerns and decisions to be made regarding my upcoming birthing experience, as well as certain aspects of parenting, that I had never thought of before, which helped me to form my own opinions and start discussions with my husband. I think it would serve as the perfect reference material for any soon-to-be parent who has lots of questions but doesn’t want to rely on Google for sketchy medical advice. In my case, having it as an e-book made it really easy to search for specific terms and topics that I was concerned about.
What I Liked
I liked that the book used diverse illustrations and more modern, sensitive language when referring to birth partners. At my hospital here in South Korea, the birth partner is referred to exclusively as “the husband,” which I find very old-fashioned and not inclusive, so I appreciate that this guide had a more modern approach and even addressed single parenthood.
Overall, since this was a medical guide, the tone of the book was matter-of-fact and detached for the most part, but still compassionate during more sensitive topics, which struck the perfect balance for me. All medical jargon was also explained clearly and concisely, so I never felt lost or confused. I think it’s so important to make this type of information accessible to the average person.
What I Didn’t
I didn’t really like the order in which certain information was presented. The first portion of the book was set up in the typical manner – chronologically, by pregnancy month, with information about what changes and developments to expect as you go along. Then there were sections about labor and childbirth, newborn care, and postpartum issues, and after these, there were chapters of information that I think should have been included in a more chronologically logical way.
For example, the chapters on genetic screening and prenatal testing should have been included in the monthly sections. There was also a section at the end about pregnancy symptoms that would have been better presented with the monthly updates as well. Also, the chapters about pain relief and cesarean sections should have been included with the section about labor and childbirth. I didn’t really understand why all of that important information was left until the end in separate chapters.
Another thing I did not like about this book was how truly overwhelming it was. It was obviously my choice to read the entire thing so I can’t exactly blame this book. In retrospect, I probably would have been better off picking and choosing only the chapters and topics relevant to me. But I did read the whole thing, and it was kind of scary learning about ALL of the possible complications and difficulties of labor and childbirth that could kill me or my baby, and ALL of the possible diseases and defects that could also kill my baby. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t very good for my mental health to learn about all of these terrifying possibilities, even though I know logically that many of the scenarios described in this book are unlikely to happen to me.
My Star Rating
Overall, the information in this guide was very reliable and explained clearly for the average layperson. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to pregnancy that will answer almost all of your pregnancy-related questions, then you probably won’t find anything better than this. However, I didn’t feel like this was a full-on five-star read because the organization of information at the end was confusing and frustrating to me. Additionally, the general amount and scope of information was kind of overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. I definitely had a few sleepless nights worrying about diseases that I knew I didn’t have. 😂
I hope this review of the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Second Edition by Myra J. Wick, M.D., Ph.D. was helpful to anyone seeking to educate themselves about pregnancy and labor! I’d recommend it to anyone who is hoping to become a parent, but I would advise you to proceed with caution and only read the sections that are actually relevant and beneficial to you!
I’ve got one more pregnancy book on my TBR that I would like to read before my baby gets here, and I’m looking forward to sharing that review with you later this month!
Thanks for reading!