Review: The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion

The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion: A Week-by-Week Guide to Everything You Need To Do for a Healthy PregnancyThe Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion
by Robin Elise Weiss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion / 978-1-592-33358-5

I've been digging through a lot of pregnancy books lately, in preparation for a hoped-for conception in the relatively near future, so I was excited to receive The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion. I was also a little overwhelmed, however - weighing in at 320 pages, this is not a book to skim through quickly and it took me a long time to finish reading it.

This book isn't really meant for sit-down reading, though. It's a week-by-week guide of your pregnancy, with each weekly chapter opening with a full page color photo of another pregnant woman at this weekly stage so that you can see what your body might likely resemble at this point. (I was pleased to note that the women are all pleasantly 'normal' looking - perhaps pregnancy books are the last vestige against needing to airbrush everyone into anorexic states.) The weekly chapter includes all kinds of data, accompanied by bright and gorgeous photographs, detailing what the baby looks like so far, what development hurdles it has passed, what symptoms you are likely to be feeling, what exercises and preparations are a good idea at this point (one of the weeks immediately prior to delivery advises loading up the MP3 player with tunes to listen to in the hospital, and trying to generally relax and not stress too much), and much more.

Some people have compared this book to a "coffee table book", albeit an exquisitely beautiful, informative, and extensive coffee table book, and I can see where they're coming from with that opinion. This book isn't as perfectly comprehensive as some "complete" pregnancy books, tending to speak in generalities as opposed to "here is everything that anyone has ever experienced and it may happen to you" subject matter material that definitely has its place in pregnancy literature. And the week-by-week layout obviously conflicts with a subject-matter oriented layout that allows you to find out everything about, say, morning sickness from the first week to the last. I think that's probably why the book was finally labeled a "companion" - this won't be your one-stop source for all things pregnancy related, but as a daily resource (not unlike a journal), it's invaluable. And since most women rarely stop at just one book for pregnancy, it's okay that this book does one thing well instead of all things broadly. Topping out at over 300 pages, as mentioned previously, this is not a light-weight introduction to pregnancy and it's definitely a book that I will consult frequently and repeatedly when the time comes, which is more than I can probably say for some of the more "comprehensive subject matter" books which tend to be of less use for daily application.

~ Ana Mardoll

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