Pregnancy scare

Jodi Kantor takes on the "American bible of pregnancy" in the Style section of the Times. Turns out "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is not quite as reassuring to would-be parents as advertised:

But in its third decade the book has turned into a publishing conundrum: It is the most popular and widely trusted book in its category and yet is coming under such regular criticism that its authors are revising some of its key tenets. The reaction comes in part from expecting parents who call it a worst-case-scenario handbook. (Nicknames include "What to Freak Out About When You Are Expecting" and "What to Expect if You Want to Develop an Eating Disorder.") Though many parents swear by it, a startling number protest that, instead of emphasizing the wondrous process of fetal development, the book dwells mostly on complications, including the pedestrian (anemia), the more exotic ("incompetent cervix") and a catalog of horrors at the book's end ("uterine rupture"). [LINK]
Worse, certain parts of the book seem to resemble abstinence-education pamphlets in their relationship to reality. Eyebrow-raising claims include "the warning that performing oral sex on a pregnant woman can create an embolism that could kill both mother and fetus;" and that an unborn "baby's hiccups could indicate a knotted or tangled umbilical cord."

The reality is that a lot of the data about pregnancy is downright scary, and so is the potential for things going awry. One can hardly expect otherwise with a process that creates a brand-new human being, which is a fairly complicated task -- but one, as we should remind ourselves, that is achieved every three seconds around the world.

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