Monday, April 11, 2005

Where to find advice - books, websites and more

Though it seems one thing that is not in short supply during pregnancy is ADVICE, I've tried to collect a broad range of resources for myself. There are so many different philosophies and approaches to every topic, I've enjoyed having a variety of opinions to chose from depending on the situation. Plus, I've found that my local health center (Neuvola) has not provided much details unless I've specifically asked, I think I would have been very much in the dark without my own "library".

In general, I'd describe the Finnish approach employed by the midwives and doctors I've seen is that pregnancy is a very natural process that usually progressives without serious medical incidents. I've felt confident that solid medical practices are employed, but only to the degree they are needed. I haven't felt over-tested or treated. We chose to use the public health care system, rather than private clinics (except when we wanted to find out Peanut's gender!).

My bookshelf holds:
(Rated on my scale of 1 -5 with 5 being an absolute must - though I wouldn't recommend using just any single book)

Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Dr. Glad B Curtis & Judith Schuler
A practical, US-take on the weekly progress in pregnancy along with all sorts of possible dangers and missteps. I liked the weekly pictures of what the fetus looks like, how it was developing and what was most likely happening to my body! Though I felt there was a little too much focus on all the 'what might go wrong' topics. For first timers, its a good guide.

Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists
A bit more like a textbook, it is clearly written in straight-forward language. Also contains some useful checklists and a more medical view on pregnancy related procedures that were helpful in understanding what was happening and what questions I should be asking. Nearly half the book is dedicated to 'what to do once you get home with baby!' - a section with details on how to change diapers and bathing. I'm sure we'll be looking at this again.

The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
An invaluable part of my collection because it brought in a view that was more 'natural childbirth' than the others. At first, I found the book too graphic and 'earth-mother like', but as the pregnancy has progressed, I've learned to appreciate its straightforward approach and alternate view. Again, very useful in reminding me what are the options and what questions to ask. It also covers several non-medicinal approaches to pain relief during labor and delivery.

The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth by Kaz Cooke
This is a week by week diary of a 30 something in the UK covering what's happening each week along with sometimes amusing descriptions of her own reactions and incidents. It had a couple of good checklists and a UK-view on aliments and events.

What to Expect When You're Expecting by Eisenberg, Murkoff and Hathaway
The classic, month-by-month pregnancy guide. On occassion it brought in information that I didn't find in the others. I know its been bashed by many, but I enjoyed it and found good info in it.

Journey into Parenthood by the Hospital of St. John & St. Elizabeth in London
RATED: 2.5
The guide provided by this birth unit in the UK hospital which encourages natural childbirth and active labor. I found it a rather scattershot approach with bits of good info hidden here & there. Personally, I skipped the chapters on such as 'getting in touch with your inner child".

We're Having a Baby by Stakes (the Finnish Nat'l Research & Development Center for Welfare & Health)
The freebie, light weight phamplet from my local health center, this was mostly useful for understanding various benefits and for translating key words from Finnish to English.

Though bought for Peanut's dad - I also enjoyed reading through
The Expectant Father by Armin A Brott & Jennifer Ash
A month-by-month guide for father's about what's happening - especially to their partners.

The New Father - A Dad's Guide to the First Year by Armin Brott
Same concept as above with large focus on the first week and month.

Additionally, there are plenty of virtual guides. A few websites I regularly visited:
Provides a weekly e-newsletter and plenty of bulletin boards and expert Q&As
in Finnish with lively bulletin boards
another local bulletin board tied to baby publications

And - extremely valuable advice from many, many friends who are mothers around the world - in Helsinki, in New York, in Rock Hill, in Florida, in Fredericksburg, in Toronto, among others!

If you have more advice or comments on any of the resources, I've listed - I'd love to hear about it - make a comment!

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