Origins by Annie Murphy Paul – Review

Origins : how the nine months before birth shape the rest of our livesOrigins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Library
Publisher: Free Press, 2010
ISBN: 9780743296625, 240 pages
Find this book at your local library

Publisher description: 

What makes us the way we are? Is it the genes? The childhood environment? Or could it be that many of our individual characteristics–our health, our intelligence, our temperaments–are influenced by conditions encountered before birth? That’s the claim of a provocative field known as fetal origins. Scientists are developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we’re shaped before birth. The fetus is not an inert being, but an active and dynamic creature–and the pregnant woman is a source of influence on her future child far more powerful and positive than we ever knew.

As someone currently incubating a growing fetus in my womb, I found this book to be incredibly resourceful, informative and easy to digest. What I really appreciated about Paul’s writing, is that her facts, statistics and data are all based on detailed scientific research, and long-term studies.

The structure of the book is broken down into 9 chapters, each chapter titled after one of the months of pregnancy. The substance and topic of each substance had very little to do with the actual month of pregnancy. The tying factor is that Paul was pregnant while writing this book, so each chapter represents a month of her pregnancy. I could really relate to her worries, her fears, and her excitement about the baby. She discussed how various outside factors can effect the fetus. From chemical toxins in everyday items, the food we eat, how our grandparents lived, trauma and so much more. During the chapter discussing the effect of Hurricane Katrina on pregnant women, I couldn’t help but think of how pregnant women and their fetus’ are being ultimately effected after Hurricane Sandy in the East Coast.

Another plus side to this book is that it really helped calm my fears and worries about how I am handling my pregnancy. Based on her information regarding food, stress levels, and environment, I feel fully confident with this pregnancy and how well the baby is developing as the months progress. I highly recommend this book for anyone pregnancy and wondering just what exactly is happening to the baby in there. There are also very few books written on this topic. Very few that I could research at least. If anybody knows of any similar topics, please send them my way!

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