The Complete Organic Pregnancy, by Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu

After Lexy Zissu and her boyfriend participated in "let's-make-a-baby sex" for the first time, the writer lay in bed filled with anxiety. But not for the reasons you might expect. Looking wide-eyed up at the ceiling, she was less concerned with the drama of baby-making than she was with her physical surroundings: "What if is that's lead paint? What if the stain where my window meets the wall is actually toxic mold? What if the zit cream I smeared on my face before climbing into bed can lead to birth defects?" Hence, The Complete Organic Pregnancy (Collins) was born.
The book, by Zissu and co-author and friend Deirdre Dolan, reads less like a medical manifesto than advice from a good friend—a really curious, devoted, research-oriented good friend—who happens to care a lot about how the environment affects our bodies. Divided into three main sections—"Transforming," "Growing," and "Living"—the book breaks down life before, during, and after pregnancy into three acts, each focusing on food, environment, wellness, fitness, and the ever-important topic of beauty.

As a pregnant person, I could have easily sat down and read this book from cover to cover, but flipping through the table of contents, I immediately found myself leaping to the content on lead (my municipal water supply just barely makes federal limits) and nail polish (I don't wear it typically, but was curious). I then backtracked, skipped around, and cross-referenced sections. I read every page, just in a non-linear way. Which is to say, whether you're planning to become pregnant, already are pregnant, or care about someone who is, this book functions as both an excellent primer on pregnancy and health—delving far beyond what most health care providers delve into—and an excellent reference guide for all those questions that are constantly popping into a pregnant TreeHugger's mind as those nine months fly by.

Happily, The Complete Organic Pregnany avoids being what my sister calls a "read at your own risk" book: Zissu and Dolan calmly and clearly define and explain risks associated with various chemicals, products, and situations without instilling so much fear in the reader that's she's afraid to get out of bed in the morning (or, like Zissu, afraid just laying there at night). This is a none-to-easy fait accomplit when it comes to educating mothers of the unborn. With informed content, first-person essays by real-life parents, and loads of good advice, Organic Pregnancy is an essential addition to the expecting family's book shelf, covering a niche in the market that has heretofore remained largely unfilled. ::The Complete Organic Pregnancy Check out some musings by the authors of this book at ::The Huffington Post

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