The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical
Tips, Useful Advice and Uncensored Truths, by Susan Magee
with Dr. Kara Nakisbendi, Quirk Books, 2006; $14.95.
lassics like Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and What to Expect When
You're Expecting are invaluable resources for any pregnant woman.
But sometimes you don't want to stress out about your birth plan;
you just want to know what type of fruit your baby is comparable to
in size this week.
The Pregnancy Countdown Book pretty much works its way up
through every piece of fruit in the bowl, from the teeny blueberry
to the corpulent watermelon. This handy, pocket-size tome is sort
of a what-to-read-when-you-don't-have-time-to-read What to Expect
When You're Expecting. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but
includes plenty of helpful reassurances and pithy quotes from women
who've been through it all.
"To celebrate my first trimester's end, I went to the hardware
store and bought a new toilet seat," confesses Dana, mom to Evan,
in the entry for Day 183. "I got sick of seeing the old one so up
close and personal, every day, several times a day, for months
My favorite place to read is in bed, but I've had to cut that
short because lately I start snoring just hearing the word "bed."
This makes Pregnancy Countdown ideal-five minutes a week, and I'm
all caught up. In the process I learn stuff, like that lying on my
right side instead of my left won't hurt the baby, and that it's
fun to play "flashlight tag" with your kid-to-be after 15 weeks,
when she starts to see bright light.
Bringing Up Baby: The Modern Man's Guide to
Fatherhood, by Sam Martin, Perigee Trade, 2006;
or the first few months of my pregnancy, I feared my husband was
the only dad-to-be in the world who was traumatized by the mere
thought of reading pregnant-dad books. But then the moms in my
childbirth class got to talking. To our astonishment, we found that
none of our sensitive, well-educated spouses was the least bit
interested in such reading material-even though we had casually yet
lovingly placed it near the TV remote and in the bathroom, in case
they had free moments to brush up on comfort measures for
Considering the lameness of the literature out there for new
dads, however, can you really blame the guys? Dad books typically
fall into one of three categories: overly folksy, overly jock-y or
so high-minded about the grave importance of fatherhood that dad's
going to need an epidural just to keep from jumping out a
Which is why I feel it is my duty to recommend Bringing up Baby:
The Modern Man's Guide to Fatherhood. Finally, a dad book that is
well-written, un-condescending and wryly funny at times without
feeling forced. It helps that author Sam Martin writes in the voice
of the type of dad everybody wants: manly, worldly, compassionate
and witty. A former senior editor at This Old House magazine, he
dispenses frank, fatherly wisdom with moments of well-placed
levity, making reading a breeze.
"Do not say things like, 'The baby is so ugly,' 'Check out his
mammoth cone head,' or 'He looks like your old boyfriend,' " Martin
suggests in a chapter called "Life Will Never Be the Same."
Ha ha, you say, but this is actually good advice for guys who
prefer not to be flogged with a phone book in the labor room.
Chapters are brief, so it's a great book for the bathroom.
Diagrams of baby holds and infant massage techniques, mingled with
charming 1950s-era pictures of dads and their small fry, also keep
And yes, there are sports and beer references, but they're used
sparingly, so even sensitive, well-educated dads who never watch
football and love reading pregnancy books will appreciate them.
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