Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Body, Soul, Baby

Early into my current (and second) pregnancy, I decided that I wanted to learn more not only about the physical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, but also the emotional and spiritual aspects as well. So when I was offered the opportunity to review the new book Body, Soul, and Baby, I jumped at the chance.

Written by Tracy W. Gaudet, M.D., Director of the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, this book covers preconception, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum issues. At 523 pages, it's one of the most comprehensive guides I've read.

The unique thing about this book (and the reason that I love it) is that it takes a holistic approach to discussing pregnancy and childbirth. Most of the pregnancy books I've read tend to focus soley on the physical aspects of pregnancy (how the woman's body changes, how the fetus is developing, etc.) This book does a great job in covering these issues too, but it goes further by teaching techniques for women to connect to not just their bodies, but also to their hearts, souls and babies in order to create an optimal pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum experience.

When I received this book, I was already in my third trimester so I focused on reading that part of the book first. I found that the material was quite comprehensive - from suggesting ways to stay in tune with your body in order to identify any potential problems early on (e.g., by doing kick counts and body scans) to the less conventional idea of soul checking, a process by which you do things like journal about your fears or dialogue with yourself about a symption or problem that's been nagging you. To my surprise and delight, I found Dr. Guadet's approaches to be in line with the hypnosis for childbirth program that I've been studying, and in fact, she actually highly recommends it and even includes information on the benefits of self-hypnosis during labor.

On a more traditional front, the book also provides detailed explanations about what is happening to the mother's body at each stage of pregnancy, as well as a month-by-month description of how your baby is developing.

There is so much great material in this book that it would be impossible to cover everything in this review. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book -especially to those women who are looking for a book with more information than you can glean from the Baby Center website. Dr. Gaudet definitely delivers more than the traditional pregnancy book, and for that, she can add me to her fan list.

This review was written for The Parent Bloggers Network.

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