cover image The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications

The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications

Emily Oster and Nathan Fox. Penguin Press, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-65277-0

Oster (The Family Firm), an economics professor at Brown University, teams up with obstetrician Fox to provide a thorough primer on preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, miscarriage, and other pregnancy difficulties. In each chapter, Oster details recurrence rates and care options for a condition, and then Fox describes how he treats patients experiencing it. For instance, Oster explains that gestational diabetes, which can occur when “the hormones of the placenta affect [the] processing of blood sugar,” has a roughly 48% chance of recurring in future pregnancies and is typically treated through diet and exercise. Fox then assures readers that for most people, gestational diabetes is a “nuisance... but not a dangerous one” and can usually be kept in check by eating fewer carbohydrates and increased protein. The authors demonstrate a keen awareness of how the pregnancy following a previous complication can cause psychological distress, as when Fox reports that pregnancies after a stillbirth often revive feelings of grief. To cope, he recommends patients “assemble a strong support system,” which might include a psychologist, support group, or loved ones. Oster’s cogent presentation of scientific data manages to be informative but not dry. It’s a valuable resource for parents who have experienced pregnancy complications. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Apr.)