For any pregnant woman who hesitates before asking her doctor that really weird question but asks it anyway, here is the book for you -- and it probably has your question in it.
The Pregnancy Test: 150 Important, Embarrassing, and Slightly Neurotic Questions is billed as part trivia, part prescription and includes questions from real moms-to-be. Compiled by authors Melissa Heckscher (former paranoid pregnant woman, now paranoid mother) and ob-gyn Dr. Emily Sikking (daughter of veteran actor James B. Sikking), this book really delivers. (I know!)
And you don't have to be expecting to wonder about the answers to questions like:
-True or False: Twins can accidentally hurt each other in the womb?
-Why is Botox unsafe for use during pregnancy?
-Can I skydive?
-True or False: Babies cry in the womb
-Can I defer jury duty because of pregnancy?
-True or False: Feta cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy
-True or False: You can become pregnant while you are already pregnant
-Is it dangerous to get a bikini wax?
-How much you eat can determine the sex of your baby. (TRUE!)
Mixed in with the silly and hyper is a lot of great medical advice -- the very first question is about alcohol consumption -- and there is a strong core of basic common sense throughout. Most often the most reassuring answer is also the right one because the authors are also teaching new moms to trust their judgment and follow their instincts -- great preparation for the really challenging work that comes once the baby is born. Worry enough but not too much.
I recently interviewed Dr. Sikking about the book and her own thoughts about pregnancy and medicine:
Q: The great thing about this book is that is answers both serious (drinking) and silly (underwire bras, volcanoes) questions -- what in your experience is the number one thing you want to tell pregnant women, i.e. what's the most important piece of information, advice you can give?
A: Enjoy this time. It is short lived and you can't get it back once it is over.
Q: What is the silliest question you ever had from a pregnant patient?
A: I really can't put a finger on the silliest because there is validity to every question.
Q: What's the most frequent question?
A: I think the most frequent question is likely did I do something prior to finding out I was pregnant that hurt the baby.
Q: If someone is buying this book they are probably pretty careful, informed and engaged in their pregnancy already -- but are you also trying to educate some women who may not be aware of basic health issues with pregnancy?
A: I want this book to reach everyone and help any woman be informed and empowered during this very hormonal, out of control, new and exciting experience that is so special.
Q: What type of pregnant person worries YOU the most?
A: What worries me is the cavalier person who doesn't grasp any of the seriousness of being responsible for something else other than themselves for this very brief period of time.
Q: I know you've seen it all -- what has surprised you most in your career about pregnancy?
A: I'm most surprised by how people can change so much by the hormones of pregnancy and postpartum.
Q: What kind of expectant mom were you? Has having your own babies helped you with your patients? (and patience?)
A: I was a really good patient I think? I did as I was told but I am very fortunate in that overall I had uncomplicated pregnancies. I am a far better doctor after having my own kids. It gives perspective.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
A: I am the luckiest person in the world because not only do I love what I do and am pretty good at it I also get to be a part of one of the most important experiences in a person's life... the baby, mom, dad and the whole family.
It is the coolest!