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November 13 , 2010


A Brief History of Pregnancy Advice


As long as there have been pregnancies, there have been suggestions for how best to bring a child into the world: from tips for homeopathic care and natural childbirth to the circulation of old wives’ tales, those who deliver advice to pregnant women are often influenced as much by their own agendas as what is best, or most comfortable, for a new mother. In Expecting, Marika Seigel, author of The Rhetoric of Pregnancy, provides a list of recommended reading and considers the history of pregnancy advice. Opening with her own birthing histories and careful explanation of how she first became interested in the topic, Seigel then casts a skeptical eye over the pregnancy guides that have circulated from the Enlightenment to the present day. Encouraging women to remain empowered when they are pregnant and to collaborate with their health care providers, Seigel articulates how best to have a healthy and affirming birth experience.

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