If you read my last post, you’ve started preparing for all the upcoming changes in your life and home. But as your pregnancy progresses, you’re probably curious about the changes in your body. Why do I feel so sick? Will my baby be a boy or a girl? Should I be eating certain foods? If I listen to Mozart, will my baby be smarter? Do chocolate lovers have sweeter babies?: the surprising science of pregnancy by Jena Pincott answers all these questions for you (okay, it doesn’t actually tell you if you’re going to have a boy or girl, but it does report on some cool patterns that might help you guess).
This fascinating book looks at pregnancy from all scientific angles with chapters on pregnancy symptoms, sex determination, how food affects the fetus, how pregnancy affects the father, what (if anything) we can predict about our babies, and the science of labor itself. Pincott structures the book using questions she asked during her own pregnancy. The personal details she offers about her own experience soften the sometimes quite technical scientific explanations and I appreciated hearing another woman’s (often humorous) experience. The book is arranged in nice bite-sized pieces making it easy to read (in between your waves of nausea). The table of contents lists every question asked, so you can duck into the book and read only what you’re curious about without having to wade through everything. It’s the perfect book to dip into before bed.
I knew this book would be interesting, but I didn’t realize I’d be furiously scribbling down notes about what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. Since Pincott reviews the most recent (as well as older) scientific studies (all of which she cites in case you want to dig further), there’s a wealth of what feels like “real” practical information. But it turns out you don’t have to take notes; she compiles all the take-home lessons in the last chapter.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but:
- Yes, you should eat chocolate. You should also eat sardines.
- If you are married to a billionaire, you’re more likely to have a boy.
- Your Kentucky Fried Chicken habit might impact not just your child, but your grandchild too.
- Those crazy, vivid nightmares you’re having? They’re actually a good thing.
- If you want your child to love Indian food (or brussels sprouts) as much as you do, get eating.
- Guys, don’t worry, you too can breast feed.
If you are interested in knowing more about how experiences during fetal development influence a baby after birth (and the adult it becomes), try one of our other books too: Origins: how the nine months before birth shape the rest of our lives by Annie Murphy Paul.