Published: July 2016
Every pregnant woman is going through an experience that is completely new to her, and each month raises many questions, from before conception to the early days of a baby's life. This is not an encyclopedia as you know it but a bright, fresh, one-stop reference you can trust to guide you through pregnancy and beyond.
Timeline - Week-by-week guidance
Nutrition, exercise and wellbeing
All about you
Your growing baby
Labour and birth
The postnatal period
A note from the editor
Finding out you are pregnant for the first time, or indeed the second, third or fourth times, can bring on a myriad of emotions - joy, excitement, reticence, fear, awe, curiosity, and, of course, anxiety. These feelings are entirely natural, as is the need for advice. In the past, societies with large families and different social structures created a network of sisterly support to help and inform women about all matters pregnancy-related. By contrast, today we may talk about our pregnancy to only a handful of family members and girlfriends; and to our midwife or obstetrician every couple of weeks. Often, our first step is to perform an Internet search. Here there is an abundance of information (and misinformation), and anecdotes of the pregnancy and childbirth experiences of other parents - including those that are unusually good or unusually disappointing. Sometimes search results are informative but too often they can be confusing and lead to further anxiety about our own experience.
On the following pages, we have aimed to provide the balanced advice and support you need at one of the most important times of your life. We have covered every stage- pre-conception, the pregnancy, labour, birth, and even the first three months of your baby's life. We have arranged the chapters by theme, and question, helping you to find the answers you are seeking, as well as other related subjects you might want to know about. A timetable of antenatal care is outlined and expert advice is given on what is likely to occur during your pregnancy, from procedures and scans to birth plans and labour techniques. You will learn about nutrition and exercise, and how to keep healthy, as well as the biological changes taking place in your body and your baby's. There are also sections on clothes to buy to accommodate your increasingly large bump, and also what to buy to prepare for your new arrival. You'll find guidance on all concerns from common complaints during the first trimester to caring for your newborn. Where you should be taking advice from a midwife or obstetrician, we have asked you to do so.
The story of the beginnings of your baby's life is told in a visually beautiful, easy-to-read, and factually accurate account. Throughout, in-depth medical information and authoritative advice will enable you to feel confident about what to expect before, during, and after the birth, while information on lifestyle, working, and wellbeing will help you have a balanced and joyful pregnancy, and look forward to meeting the newest member of your family.
To all those contemplating pregnancy, or who are already pregnant, I hope you will find that this fascinating book helps you understand and enjoy the very start of your baby's life.
Dr Chandrima Biswas