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on 30 November 2012
I found this book utterly unhelpful in terms of my self confidence and an outlook on pregnancy. This book told me over and over how pregnancy is an ugly affair and I am expected to turn into a monster over the course of 9 months. The information mostly covered what to wear to look less ugly and how not at all about the wonderful experience pregnancy actually is. I read it 7 months ago and chucked it in a bin after few days. Instead I focused on the mysterious and wonderful trip I am on as a pregnant woman (now in my 9th month) and feel beautiful in my shape (which according to the writer is quite hideous).

You might like it but it was not at all my cup of tea. Instead I read Kaz Cook's 'The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth', Anne Deans's 'Your Pregnancy Bible' and Nicole Croft's 'The Good Birth Companion: A Practical Guide to Having the Best Labour and Birth'. I felt well informed and am comfortable with the idea of birth.

The last thing a pregnant woman needs is a writer telling her how all is going to hell and she is turning into an ugly woman with fat arms.
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on 9 October 2009
I had to stop reading this book until I became further on in my pregnancy as I found it more scary than reassuring. The main problem for me was that I simply wasn't suffering from a lot of the symptoms I was assured in the book that I would be suffering from, and took this to mean there was a problem with my pregnancy. There wasn't, I was just lucky!
I also found it a little worrying to be told how much weight I would be putting on and never lose, and I have to say I did find the book quite negative. I picked it up and started reading at again when I got to about 28 weeks, and found I was able to read it, and pick out the bits that related to my pregnancy and ignore the things that didn't.
I don't think this was a bad book, I just didn't relate to it and didn't particularly enjoy reading it. As someone who was pregnant for the first time, and worrying about every little thing, even those things things that didn't happen, I'm not sure I would recommend it.
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on 15 January 2004
Not the most helpful of books if you are from the UK as it is written by a US author and half the time the advice is not applicable to you. It is definately a light hearted look at pregnancy (so my sister said!) but not informative enough and not the book to reach for when you are worried and uncertain as the advice will only make you feel ten times worse. It's definately to the point and concentrates more on the negative than the positive. It doesn't leave you feeling hopeful for the future, especially where the after affects of your body is concerned. If you are a new mum, with all your pregnancy worries and fears and want facts to put your mind at rest-dont buy this. I felt like crying after I put it down, especially when I finished the last chapter.
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on 23 March 2009
I bought this book as a number of friends had recommended it, and was rather disappointed. OK, there was some useful stuff in there, but I found the tone to be extremely opinionated, which jarred with me... It assumes the reader will have a hard time with pregnancy. If you're actually enjoying your pregnancy, it can be rather annoying to be told that you WILL put on weight all over, you WILL feel like crap, your husband WILL be useless until the baby's born, and you DO want an epidural. In fact, the book seems to go out of its way to alianate those of us who don't share the author's experience. The fact is, everyone's pregnancy is different. If you're finding yours hard to cope with and would appreciate some empathy, buy this book. If you're quite enjoying it and would rather avoid any unnecessary negativity, give it a miss.
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on 25 November 2011
My friend gave me this when I was pregnant and I bought the next one for baby's first year myself because it's so good. You spend so much time reading up about the baby, it's nice to read something talking you through how you might feel about all manner of things yourself. Made me laugh out loud several times. I recommend this to anyone, and also wish I could get my other half to read it!
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on 12 July 2000
I am amazed that there have been so many good reviews about this book. I found it distressing and depressing. The authors primary concern is to turn every symptom and side effect of pregnancy into a witty punch line that may deliver a laugh but falls some way short of reassurance.
I am told I have to accept getting fat (excercise is a waste of time she says), lose all muscle tone (forever), broken veins on my face, water retention to rival an olympic swimming pool etc etc. Here, pregnancy is a disease to rival smallpox - painful, disfiguring and one from which you will not recover.
Her one friend who glowed during pregnancy was dismissed as "not counting" because she did not get cellulite. Has the author not realised that this is the woman we want to be, that it offers a ray of hope that just maybe we can escape with dimple free thighs. Instead we are left facing a bleak slack bellied, empty breasted, orange peel future. (If I let my husband read it he would propably trade me in now!).
To be fair the book is well written with some good sound information and humour but it lets itself down by focusing on the truly horrendous side effects that not all women endure. By trying to tell it how it is it ignores that all women are different and have different experiences.
Please don't read this if you are pregnant for the first time - we all know pregnancy will take its toll but ignorance is bliss and you can limit the damage (I don't care what she says, I am still excercising). I have hidden the book at the back of the cupboard with the Stephen King novels.
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on 4 January 2008
I bought this book for my wife but we both ended up reading it, and as it happens I read it first. Both of us contribute to this review:
(note: this is our first pregnancy)

An expecting mother's perspective:

I read the reviews before I read the book itself, and was surprised at the number of negative reviews it had received. Yet here I am, after having turn over the last page of the book, and not found a single justification for my giving Mrs. Iovine the benefit of the doubt. 'The Best Friend's Guide to Pregnancy' is patronising, cynical and pessimistic, insiting that not only will pregnancy ruin the mother's figure, social and sex life, but not mentioning WHY we women go through all of this- the end result seems to have no value to Iovine. On top of this the author assumes that all men are of the non-supportive, squeamish and un-involved sort. She, essentially, exhibits plain sexism throughout her book insisting that men are worthless in any way during pregnancy, which is blatant rubbish for plenty of men. Cut them some slack Vicki, we stopped burning our bra's long ago, and some of us LIKE having men in our lives.
Essentially a waste of money, I would NOT recommend this book to anyone.

An expecting father's perspective:

My first impression was that the whole tone of the text was one of general complaining about everything. I felt as if the author was lied to about what she should expect before, during and after her pregnancies and she was so upset about it, she decided to write a book in order to inform other women and prevent them from believing lies, like she did.
I discussed this with my wife (who hadn't read the book yet) and she told me that this is sometimes a form of humor that women use and that men don't get (eg. The Vagina Monologues). So I kept on reading.
The 'ranting' does ease off about half way through the book (I suppose she had began to calm down by then) and I found some parts informative and interesting since they're written from a woman's perspective.
However, various spelling mistakes (with the most common being 'thing' instead of 'think') and the author's self contradictions made me feel that my original assessment of the motives behind the book were correct.
The author cautions women that they will get fat, they will become ugly, they will get cellulite, they will get stretch marks, they will never be the same again and then she bangs on about how she got her figure back after each pregnancy. But she only says so towards the end of the book.
One thing that made me angry, was that she claims 'there is no award for enduring the pains of a natural birth, nobody will judge you if you opt for pain relief (eg epidural)' and a bit later she goes on to say that if you've had an epidural you'll be drinking champagne and be the life of the party when the family comes to visit you at the hospital, instead of a wreck that can barely stay awake if you opt for a natural birth. Furthermore, the author insists for some reason that because a pregnancy is 40 weeks, its not 9 months, but 10, because as we all know, every month is 4 weeks (and therefore 28 days) long.
Before this part of the review turns into a rant of my own, I will say that it is an interesting book to read, you do observe one woman's perspective and experiences with childbirth but it is very opinionated and self contradicting.
My advice is, if you want something different to read, and if the humour of complaining appeals to you, then by all means get it. You will probably enjoy it. But it isn't everyone's cup of tea.
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on 23 June 2006
This book made me weep with laughter and brought on contractions...it is very very funny, honest and not AT ALL negative. If you have anything approaching a good sense of humour you'll love it.Wish I'd found this during my first pregnancy.Get yourself a copy and settle down for a good belly laugh.
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on 13 October 2011
This is quite an entertaining read however if it is not very realistic - she seems to exist in a world of yummy mummies with an endless supply of money - which of course is not the case for everyone - therefore her advice is often impractical. It is also very American - so many of the things she talks about don't really apply in the UK.
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on 20 April 2006
After reading loads of literature I felt terrible that my first 3 months were dogged by 24hr nausea and such low BP I couldn't stand. This didn't sound like the wonderful experience other books said pregnancy should be! The Best Friends' Guide really did feel like a best friend and when I was at my lowest it lifted my spirits and made me laugh and cry with a real look at pregnancy and, low and behold, it turns out I'm normal after all! Vicky Iovine swallows her pride and writes like my own friends speak (if only I lived closer!). Don't buy it if you just want facts without the grotty bits but if you need reassurance because you find you're no earth mother, this is the one for you!
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