Popular-science writer Pincott (Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?, 2008, etc.) provides a lively, accessible romp through the science of pregnancy.
Known for her previous research on love and sexual attraction, the author makes a natural transition in her latest. Delving into the science of pregnancy, parenthood and fetal development, she presents her findings with wit, personal anecdotes and playful humor. Eschewing predictable “avoid the shellfish” advice, Pincott provides a science-based trivia collection, drawing from studies in evolutionary psychology, biology, neuroscience, social science, epigenetics and more. She explores topics such as how a woman’s activities might influence her unborn baby’s personality, how pregnancy and motherhood can change the behavior of mothers and fathers, what factors might influence a baby’s gender and why the first hour after a baby’s birth means so much for mother-newborn bonding. Inspired by questions from her own first pregnancy, the author also digs up the answers to common inquiries such as “what does baby’s birth season predict?”; “what can Mozart really do?”; and “will what we eat now influence baby’s tastes later?” Despite the bombardment of information, Pincott presents her research as fun things to contemplate rather than additional things to worry about, so nervous expectant parents can thoroughly enjoy the book.
A fascinating supplement to the typical maternity guide.
Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies: Exploring the Surprising Science of Pregnancy
Jena Pincott. Free Press, $15 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-8334-2
Science writer Pincott (Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?) began her research when she was pregnant; her daughter was born during the writing process, and she describes the work as “curiosity -driven,” urging readers to flip to the pages that interest them most. As Pincott negotiates her pregnancy, she explores a wide array of subjects expectant parents will find utterly captivating, drawing from studies in evolutionary psychology, biology, social science, neuroscience, reproductive genetics, endocrinology, and largely from research in the field of epigenetics, the influence of environment on the behavior of genes. She examines each phase of her own pregnancy, addressing odor and taste aversions (the “gag list”), vivid dreams, how diet affects a gene’s behavior, and a wealth of other subjects. She delves into how dads react to pregnancy (many put on weight) and makes the remarkable observation that what grandma ate when pregnant way back when may influence the baby’s future health (“I’m eating for two generations,” she quips). While readers will be entertained and fascinated by this text from start to finish, the concluding chapter, “Lessons from the Lab,” offers expectant mothers a valuable summary of practical research-based tips (moderate stress experienced by mom may actually be good for the fetus; eating a chocolate bar a day may improve baby’s temperament). Pincott writes with humor and vibrancy, bringing science to life.
Today’s Spanish license is the tenth foreign rights deal for Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? It’ll be such a thrill to see the book in so many incarnations. Shown here: sassy British Warholian and German Monroean covers.
[Many thanks to Ducker for the proper Spanish translation]
Yes, I’m surprised by the source, but I love any good review. The book reviewer, Pia Catton, kindly said that Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? is an…”informative and amusing book…The short answers are judiciously packed with information culled from hundreds of peer-reviewed studies. All of it is relayed in a light, engaging tone…” Very cute that she noted I’m a brunette and called me traitorous. Nice birthday gift.
An Associated Press writer, Dinesh Ramde, wrote a review for Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? titled “Author reviews odd research into the science of love.” He clearly finds the book quirky compared to others on sex and love, but says many kind things: that it’s well-researched, that I’ve simplified the science for a broader audience, and that even though the book is targeted at women, there’s plenty of content for both genders. Best of all, he says the book is likely to prompt conversations that start with “Hey, have you ever wondered why people…’, labels it “a cross between Cosmopolitan and Scientific American,” and an “insightful and amusing read.”
Is there anything I wouldn’t do for this book? I can’t bear to watch myself on TV — nor would I wish for any friends to see this — but, for the sake of getting word out, I dare link to this segment on Fox 5.
And there’s the cute review from the Daily News. Just a little hyperbole about thick waists in hard economic times, but I love the enthusiasm.
Last week, the book got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. This week, a very nice review in Library Journal — the reviewer agreeing with the book’s premise that “it becomes obvious that we are aware of only a small part of what drives our choices when it comes to choosing whom to marry or with whom we have a sexual relationship,” and describing the text as “well-written, entertaining, and easy-to-understand.”