Claire M. Westdahl, CNM, MPH, director of nurse-midwifery at the Emory University School of Medicine, is contributing editor of the newly released book, "Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth." The book, written by renowned parenting expert and author Sandy Jones and her daughter, Marcie Jones, is a comprehensive reference book for parents about pregnancy and childbirth. Ms. Westdahl, a certified nurse-midwife at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, spearheads the Centering Pregnancy program at Grady and was chosen to edit the book based on over 30 years of experience as a midwife.
Ms. Westdahl said she couldn't be more proud of the book, and says that Great Expectations is different from other pregnancy books.
"This book has a total underlying belief that pregnancy is normal, and that as a woman, you are not alone in your experience," she says. "The tone of the book reassures women that other women go through similar experiences, that outcomes are good, and that women have choices to make that can make them feel powerful and own this transforming experience."
The author, Sandy Jones, is just as pleased with the book.
"The exciting thing about Great Expectations is that it is designed to serve as a comprehensive, empowering reference for today's young parents drawn from evidence-based research on pregnancy, childbirth, baby care," Ms. Jones says.
Ms. Westdahl says the book will not "scare," or intimidate, women. Rather than just give pregnant women reasons why breast milk is best for babies, the book approaches breastfeeding from a social-marketing perspective by helping women overcome barriers to breastfeeding. It addresses women's fears about the perceived pain associated with nursing; going back to work; not having enough social support; and lack of confidence.
Midwifery is also represented in a positive light, Ms. Westdahl says. The book is inclusive of all health professionals who provide care to pregnant women, and devotes a section to Centering Pregnancy -an innovative model for providing complete prenatal care within a group setting. The overriding mission of Centering Pregnancy is to empower pregnant women by encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves and to interact positively with the health care system while meeting their health and educational needs. Ms. Westdahl introduced the Centering Pregnancy model to Grady Hospital in 1999. Recent published studies show that group participants have longer pregnancies and babies that weigh more at birth compared to women receiving standard prenatal care.
Great Expectations also includes numerous graphics and detailed sections on month-by-month fetal development; nutrition and exercise; birth alternatives; and newborn care. The book blends the concept of natural childbirth, empowerment and a focus on family along with the technology available to pregnant women.
"This book recognizes that pregnancy and birth are an important time for women, and that women should feel good about the choices they have," Ms. Westdahl says.
Great Expectations is available at all Barnes and Noble Booksellers stores, as well as online at www.amazon.com.