With a quick glance at my ratings, you can decipher that The Baby Bump scores poorly with me. This is primarily because it doesn’t stir the heart, enliven the spirit, or prompt awareness that will help you engage meaningfully in your own health or your birth plans. Respect for pregnant women and the power of birth are sorely missing. In short, it’s another book that promotes the status quo. I could reiterate nearly everything written in my review of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, my blog post US Birth Outcomes, and my introduction to the book review rating system for the Top 35 Best-Selling Pregnancy Books. I encourage you to read there for a longer explanation of what it means to be empowered during pregnancy and birth, and why one should aim for a better, safer, and more satisfying birth.
What The Baby Bump does do well is give you a good deal of information in a short, skimable and simple format. If you are new to the world of pregnancy and want to know what to expect from standard care in the US, The Baby Bump will introduce you to everything you will encounter with OB care during a normal healthy pregnancy and you can read it quickly. It leaves out the “what if” scenarios that apply to only a few people. It contains a very good section on how to talk to human resources or your employer about maternity leave and changes in employment. The advice regarding writing a birth plan is decent. And the book has good “what to ask” lists that will help promote a good relationship with your care provider.
Specifics that bother me about The Baby Bump include the many assumptions it makes, such as choosing OB care and early, routine ultrasound scans. While these assumptions are accurate for over 90% of expecting families in the US, they are not the only approach and there are very good reasons to consider your alternatives (such as care from a family doctor or a midwife). It also promotes a wide spread US attitude that pregnant women are bitchy, moody, and hard to live with rather than shedding empowering light on the remarkable shifts a women goes through during pregnancy and the abilities and insights related to this growth. Meaningful ideas about how to support women through these changes is absent.
I find The Baby Bump narrowly geared toward the wealthy: there is a lot of talk about planning the nursery, hiring a baby planner, professional photography, vacations, shoe budgets and elaborate baby showers. While these tips may be useful for some, they are out of financial reach for many. Finally, the information on postpartum preparation is sorely misinformed and will not prepare you for the recovery process after birth.
In summary, if you are looking for a quick read that will give a basic orientation of what to expect from standard care, you will find that done well here. If you want to really gain insight into cultivating a healthy, meaningful pregnancy and birth or supporting your loved one through this journey, turn your attention to books that aim to nurture and empower expecting families. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,
Birthing From Within, and The Expectant Father are good options for these goals.
The Baby Bump’s Author, Carley Roney & the Editors of TheBump.com
Entrepreneurs Carley Roney and her husband, David Liu, founded The Knot Inc. (now the XO Group Inc.) in 1996 with two other partners to use the internet to facilitate wedding planning on theknot.com. Eventually branching out to serve expectant and new parents on thebump.com with an online community and product guides, Roney now serves as the Chief Content Officer of the XO Group Inc. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children.
The other authors of The Baby Bump are editors and content creators of the online brand and include Rebecca Dolgin, Shannon Guyton, Elena Donovan Mauer, Lori Richmond, and Alison Bernstein.