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Should pregnant women really eat for two? Does a craving for spicy food mean it's a boy?

Expectant mothers are virtual magnets for unsolicited advice. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, new mothers, friends, and even strangers offer what seems to be an endless supply of supposedly authoritative opinions on every aspect of pregnancy: A craving for spicy food denotes a boy. Carrying the baby low means it's a girl. And, of course, everyone wants to touch her belly!

In the engaging, humorous, and very informative HANDS OFF MY BELLY!: THE PREGNANT WOMAN'S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO MYTHS, MOTHERS, AND MOODS (Prometheus Books, $18.00), Drs. Shawn A. Tassone and Kathryn M. Landherrexperienced obstetricians and gynecologists, a husband-and-wife team of physicians, and parents of four childrenexplore superstitions and myths surrounding pregnancy, from the most common to the most obscure.

"In our information-glutted age, the great task is separating truth from fiction. Where pregnancy is concerned, this problem has been solved with Hands Off My Belly!. This is the best book I know that guides women on one of the most meaningful journeys of life. If I were pregnant, this would be my bible," said Larry Dossey, MD, author of Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words.

Besides gender predictions, a pregnant woman is also apt to acquire an earful of advice about miscarriage, dietary habits and cravings, hair growth, weight gain, and childbirth. From their combined twenty years of work in a clinic, as well as their own parenting experience, Drs. Tassone and Landherr take an in-depth look at the anecdotes and beliefsfrom the slightly unusual to the stranger-than-fictionand compare them with the scientific evidence, including some of these common pregnancy myths:

  • Pregnant women crave the foods a baby wants to eat.
  • The number of births increases during a full moon.
  • Faster than normal leg-hair growth determines a boy.
  • Eating peppers or hot spices during pregnancy causes colic.
  • The manner in which a mother carries gives a clue to the baby's gender.
  • A husband will gain weight because his wife is pregnant.
  • If a pregnant woman craves dairy products, she's having a girl.
  • Women who wish to conceive should have sex three times a day.
  • Drinking cough syrup increases the chance of conception.

"Hands Off My Belly! is an absolutely delightful exploration of the myths that every womanpregnant or notknows she's influenced by at some level. It's great fun finding which one's are yours," said Caroline Myss, author of The Creation Of Health and Why People Don't Heal And How They Can.

Moving through each stage, from the early weeks of pregnancy to delivery, they examine the legends about diet, gender identification, preterm labor, the umbilical cord, initiating labor, and the size and movement of the fetus. As they detail the scientific perspective on these varied and often amusing beliefs, the authors not only entertain but provide a great deal of practical information, which will ease the fears and anxieties of expectant parents as well as clear up many confusing notions.


Contact: Jill Maxick
Prometheus Books

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