birth plan to write... as if the entire process of growing a baby isn't stressful enough on its own! With the planning mamas in mind, Carley Roney and the popular baby website TheBump.com present The Bump Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby.
This book is literally full of lists to help moms-to-be check off everything that needs to be done before (and after!) baby arrives. From questions to ask when selecting a medical care provider, as well as questions to ask during appointments, to talking to your job about your impending parenthood, from fun things like what kinds of activities you should try to get in one last time before your baby comes to more practical concepts like predicting the costs of the delivery and budgeting for expenses for baby's first year ("In the first year, you may spend $30,000 on baby(!)."), The Bump Book of Lists touches on a variety of important topics.
It's important to note that this book is by no means any kind of complete pregnancy guide, no matter that the back cover declares it "The only book you need for pregnancy and baby's arrival"; think of The Bump Book of Lists more as a take-along supplement to your other pregnancy books, one that can help you get organized and make sure you're thinking about all of those important topics... and one that might provide better reading material while you wait for your doctor during appointments than scary medical pamphlets or out-of-date parenting magazines.
There are plenty of things to love about this book, and most women will appreciate the format and the way it handles different ideas. For a mom-to-be who is planning a standard hospital birth, The Bump Book of Lists has most things covered. Get ideas for the hospital bag, take your birth classes (although there are so many amazing birth class options out there that are not included on this list), tour the maternity ward, babyproof everything! The question of whether one parent should stay at home vs. both parents going back to full-time work is discussed in detail, and child care options are explored as well.
Of course, it's not all perfect, and those mamas who do not fit in the mainstream model might well be disappointed by this book. Some readers might be bothered by the general assumption that a hospital birth is the only way to go; birth centers are mentioned only a few times, and home birth not at all. There's an entire spread on choosing an obstetrician, but midwives are relegated to a three-sentence blurb that offers no real information (p. 23). There's a section about the benefits of cord blood banking, but delayed cord clamping gets nary a mention. Other topics that are big in the natural birth community, like antibiotic eye ointment and vitamin K supplements, are mentioned as something that just happens, never mind that some parents choose to delay or decline them.
There are some other aspects of The Bump Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby that readers might be bothered by as well, such as the occasional superficial fixation on appearance. Suggestions that when selecting a pair of stretchy yoga pants, women should "Choose a dark hue (it's more slimming)" (p. 50) and that it "hurts" when women must forgo hair dye during pregnancy (p. 52) might be mildly offensive to some women; surely we should be much more concerned about our baby by this point in time. And let's not even get into discussing the implication that staying at home with baby might not be "intellectually stimulating" enough for some women (See "Deciding Whether One of You Should Stay At Home," p. 66).
Perhaps one of the most bothersome aspects of this book is the way it doesn't really seem to empower women at all. Like so many pregnancy books, it prepares women to be good little hospital patients. It doesn't do much to explain different options to women, and it implies that some procedures are mandatory (such as ultrasounds and glucose testing); while many women would no doubt opt to do these anyway, The Bump Book of Lists does women a disservice by making it seem like procedures like this cannot be refused. Many of the questions that the book suggests women ask their doctors could easily be answered with just a little bit of outside research.
But as noted above, there are plenty of great things about this book, and many readers will no doubt love it. For instance, the fact that it even mentions the idea of charting menstrual cycles ("Knowing When You Are Fertile," p. 16) is, for a mainstream pregnancy book, nothing short of revolutionary. Many women will enjoy the sections that feature nothing more than anecdotes related to pregnancy (such as those that discuss ideas for announcing the pregnancy, p. 56; or the baby's gender, p. 71; or the quick stories about interesting places where women have gone into labor, p. 142). I could love this book for the section on names alone (p. 72) where, among other suggestions for considering what name to use, it specifically recommends considering whether the name will be appropriate for an adult ("Some names, like Scout, may sound super-cute when you're referring to a toddler. But what about when she is applying for a job?"), thinking about what the full initials spell out, and rethinking whether using an "original spelling" could really just make things "harder for your kid" in the future.
Ultimately, whether a particular reader will love or hate this book will depend on their pregnancy experience and their desires for labor and birth. Some women will love the stories and quizzes and simple, straight-forward information, while others might wish for more details and discussions of some other birth options. Some will love the take-along format with plenty of room for taking notes and writing personalized lists, while others might be happier with a more complete pregnancy book and a spiral-bound notebook for jotting down ideas. If The Bump Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby doesn't meet a reader's pregnancy book needs, there are plenty of other options out there, too!
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own!