1. Heaberlin, Pamela Dillon NNP-BC

Article Content

Witnessing the Miraculous 9-Month Journey: Your Developing Baby: Conception to Birth


By: Peter M. Doubilet, MD, PhD, Carol B. Benson, MD; and Roanne Weisman McGraw Hill, New York, 2008


In this book, radiologists Peter M. Doubilet, MD, PhD, and Carol B. Benson, MD, have compiled ultrasound images that give the reader a window for watching a developing baby. Each chapter of the book tells the journey of pregnancy, from the prefertilization stage to the first, second, and third trimesters through birth. In addition, the book offers ultrasound images of the developing baby at each phase of development. The authors also focus on certain structures as they develop, such as the arms, legs, and whether it is a boy or a girl and what to expect to see on ultrasound pictures. The final pages of the book are dedicated to twins, triplets, and higher-order multiples in addition to explanations of various tests that assess the health of the baby. The book ends with a chapter called the main event and focuses on labor and birth using real-life stories and images.


The book's preface begins with an introduction of the authors. Peter M. Doubilet and Carol B. Benson are married to each other and are Harvard Medical School radiologists specializing in obstetrical ultrasound. They have 5 grownup children and have a deep respect for the miracle of human development. They state that they wrote this book out of a desire to give patients a glimpse of the human that they are creating. Roanne Weisman is a professional writer who specializes in health topics. She helped the authors write about the technical aspects of medicine in a language that could be understood by the general reading audience.


The table of contents is divided into 6 parts, each with corresponding chapters. The book is structured first by exploring ovulation and fertilization. The next few chapters are dedicated to the first, second, and third trimesters, with ultrasound images and explanations of the developing fetus. The book then moves on to discuss multiple pregnancies and ends with discussing the placenta, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, and tests that help determine whether a baby is healthy. In addition, the final chapter tells stories of different real-life labor, delivery, and birth experiences.


The book has many illustrations, some ultrasound pictures and some schematic drawings. The schematic drawings are quite simplified, but they do an excellent job helping the reader interpret the fuzzy ultrasound images that can be confusing to an untrained eye. The book also offers an appendix that gives details about the different kinds of ultrasounds and what they are capable of.


The authors explain that this book is a visual travel guide inside the mother's body offering a pregnant person and those close to her the opportunity to share visually the miracle of pregnancy and birth. The authors do a great job at explaining ultrasound as a tool. A tool for the doctor to assure that all is well and a tool to offer parents that opportunity to answer those questions every parent has: What does my baby look like? Is my baby growing? How is my baby changing? Witnessing the Miraculous 9-Month Journey: Your Developing Baby: Conception to Birth, is a book that helps give everyone the opportunity to witness the miraculous 9-month journey from conception to birth through the use of ultrasound. This book is best suited for the general audience of expectant parents. It may also find use in the office of care providers offering obstetrical ultrasounds because it provides clear and understandable explanations of what can be complex topics and confusing images.