The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth
More than 900 tips that 60 doctors who are also mothers use during their own pregnancies and births
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The idea for this book began with a cry in the night. Well many cries in the night actually. My sons both had acid reflux as babies, and they didn’t sleep well. They cried—a lot. The record number of wakings was 11 in one night, or at least that’s when I stopped counting.
In desperation, I talked with their pediatrician, Rima Strassman, MD, a wonderful doctor and also a mother of four, including twin babies at the time. Dr. Strassman called me one night after work and talked with me for more than a half hour, explaining how she had solved her own twins’ sleep problems. Her method would call for more tears on my son’s part, and more tears on mine, but it had worked, she explained. Her reassurance and her experience gave me the courage to try it, and it worked for me too.
Over the years as a writer, I’ve interviewed hundreds of doctors. Every now and then, a doctor would say, “When my kids were little, I…” That always piqued my interest. If a physician juggling a busy practice and a hectic home or a resident working 110 hours a week used a tip, no doubt it worked. And I figured that if it worked for her, it’ll likely work for me too.
In 2008, I had the incredible good luck to meet Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH. That year, we worked together on a few projects. Then in early 2009, we decided to join forces to publish the Mommy MD Guides, a series of books filled with tips that doctors who are also mothers use for their own families, and also the website MommyMDGuides.com.
To create this book, the first book in our Mommy MD Guides series, we spoke with dozens of doctors who are also mothers—Mommy MD Guides. We spoke with many Mommy MD Guides who are still in the trenches with babies. Some of them were even pregnant when we talked. We also spoke with Mommy MD Guides whose babies are grown up with babies of their own. They’re Grammy MD Guides! Combined, these doctors have centuries of experience as doctors, and among them, they have 146 children.
Because doctors so often see the things that can go wrong, they do everything as right as they can for their own health and for that of their families. Physicians are a healthier group than the whole. For example, it’s rare to see a doctor smoke. Even though women physicians sometimes will just suffer with things that take time and that they view was just for themselves, pregnancy is different. Most doctors go the extra mile to take care of their own bodies while they’re carrying their babies.
The tips and stories in this book are presented in the Mommy MD Guides’ own words, and each tip is clearly attributed to the doctor who lived it. Most of these stories contain kernels of advice. This is what doctors who were becoming mothers did to make it through pregnancy and birth. Other stories in this book are just that—stories. The implied advice is: I made it through this pesky problem, and you can too!
Even though this book is filled with advice from a select group—all Mommy MD Guides—you’ll find that they hold vastly differing opinions. Pregnancy and birth are filled with issues that people feel very strongly about. Should your baby sleep with you or in the next room? Should you breastfeed or bottlefeed? Should your baby be circumcised or no? We’ve presented many different viewpoints—but not with the intent to confuse or to offer conflicting advice. Instead, we wish to present many different viewpoints so that you can choose what’s best for you and your family.
As you read this book, keep in mind that every person is different, and in fact every pregnancy is different. Women experience different symptoms at different times. We encourage you to use the index at the end of this book as a resource, in addition to reading week by week.
Welcome to the Mommy MD Guides! Best wishes for a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth!