Women who become pregnant today are bombarded with urgent messages about the food they eat, the chemicals they're exposed to, the stress they feel - and how such prenatal influences will affect their future children. When Annie Murphy Paul first encountered the intense anxiety and overwhelming responsibility that now accompany pregnancy, she was ...
Women who become pregnant today are bombarded with urgent messages about the food they eat, the chemicals they're exposed to, the stress they feel - and how such prenatal influences will affect their future children. When Annie Murphy Paul first encountered the intense anxiety and overwhelming responsibility that now accompany pregnancy, she was shocked, then baffled, then curious. And when she become pregnant a second time, she decided to investigate. Over the course of nine months, Paul explores how fetuses are shaped in utero, separating the evidence from the hype and filling in the historical and cultural context. As a science writer, she goes deep into the exciting new field of fetal origins, examining its claims that many of our individual characteristics - from susceptibility to disease, to appetite and metabolism, to intelligence and even personality and temperament - begin in the womb. And as a pregnant woman, she probes the cultural mania that surrounds pregnancy today, bringing to bear her own intimately observed experience. Filled with startling insights and eye-opening perspectives, "Origins" will change the way you think about yourself, your children, and human nature itself.
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-08-02 Science writer Paul (The Cult of Personality) segues between pondering her own second pregnancy and the developing literature on fetal origins in this fascinating study of the prenatal period, what one scientist calls "the staging ground for well-being and disease in later life." Drawing upon current research and interviews with experts in this burgeoning field, Paul explores such varied topics as diet and nutrition, stress, environmental toxins, exercise, and alcohol use. She cites some frightening if by now familiar discoveries, such as the existence of 200 industrial chemicals that can be found in babies' umbilical cords, as well as some unusual findings, such as the discovery that women who consumed a daily dose of chocolate during their pregnancies gave birth to babies who smiled more at six months. She also exposes links between low birth weight and later cardiovascular disease, and muses upon the possibility that a dietary supplement might one day protect future children from cancer. As the author delves deeply into the vulnerabilities of the prenatal environment, she comes away with a compelling sense of the importance of how society cares for and supports pregnant women. Focusing on how to minimize harm and maximize benefit during the nine months before birth, Paul's thought-provoking text reveals that this pivotal period may be even more significant and far-reaching than ever imagined. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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