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.
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.”
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.”