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on 24 July 2000
I bought this and one of the conventional 'this is what happens at twenty weeks, as long as you eat broccoli every day' type books at the same time. I read Vicki Iovine's book in an afternoon, including reading about a third of it out to my husband! As first time parents, we both enjoyed the way the book is written, and it quite literally tells you things that you would be more inclined to ask your friends about after a few glasses of wine (which of course, you're avoiding at the moment!)
I have since bought the book for another friend, who again read it in less than a day! By all means, buy the pregnancy and birth bibles, they tell you many valuable things, but if you also want a book that gives you answers whilst recognising that you don't lose your sense of humour along with your waistline, this is the one for you!
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on 17 March 2006
Having read many 'official' pregnancy books (and there's nothing wrong with them, apart from they're scary!) this one had me laughing from about page 3 - and crying every now and then as she brings home not just the humour of what it means to be pregnant, but also the wonder of it all. HIGHLY recommend.
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on 2 July 2007
I heard a rumour that it's possible to give birth without reading any books. Maybe so, but I found that the books helped me cope with my lack of knowledge and lack of courage. You only need to read 3 or 4 of them. I know because I read 10 of them.

The Best Friends' Guide was my favourite. It made the whole thing seem more human, more bearable, more possible. It deals with aspects of pregnancy that the textbooks don't.

You still need a textbook. I'd recommend Anne Dean's 'Pregnancy Bible'. And an exercise book. I bought 'Pregnancy Fitness'. Good luck with that. And, even though it was written by a mere man, I enjoyed my partner's favourite book, Andrew Cullen's 'From Here To Paternity', which does for men what The Best Friends' Guide does for women - tells the truth in an intelligent, reassuring, entertaining way.

No single book is all things to all women. The BFG may not be infallible, but it's invaluable, like any best friend.
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on 17 May 1999
This book is fantastic. It gives a realistic account of what pregnancy is like from morning sickness to birth and beyond. It tells you what to expect, the good bits and bad. It was refreshing to read such an honest pregnancy book. I also liked the style - it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. This book is absolutely essential for all pregnant women. I highly recommend it.
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on 15 January 2004
I really loved this book whilst I was pregnant, right from the begining and up to the last minute when I was actually in labour and waiting to go to the hospital. It is true that it will give you a warts and all opinion of what to expect, but whilst other readers were put off by this, this is what I liked about it. I found this much more helpful and realistic than some of the more medical pregnancy books available. Whilst pregnancy is a wonderful experience, there are also some less enjoyable aspects, and I thought this book highlighted them in an amusing way and helped reassure me that what I was expriencing was normal.
If you want to keep your rose tinted specs on for 9 months this may not be the book for you. But if you find it reassuring to know what other mums have gone through I would highly recommend this book.
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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 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 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 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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on 28 July 2000
I read this while first pregnant and found it to be a true best buddy. If I ever felt down or neurotic about a symptom, reading this book made me laugh out loud. Of course, I read other pregnancy books - but this was my bible! The American factor did not detract in any way - after all pregnancy is a global thing isn't it? Full of great tips and handy hints in a completely non-patronising way. I bought the sequels and am buying them all for any of my expectant pals too! It's also great for Daddies-to-be because it's approach is humour based (so doesn't scare them) but tells them how it is!`
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