Tuesday, March 11, 2014

book review: Bumpology: The Myth-Busting Pregnancy Book for Curious Parents-to-Be by Linda Geddes

The basics: Linda Geddes, a British author and journalist, wrote the New Scientist column entitled Bumpology. It now continues on her website.

My thoughts: Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I've eagerly explored the non-traditional pregnancy books. I'm more interested in the how and why than in the strict, traditional rules. I'm more interested in exploring the experiences of real pregnant women than the advice of the experts. I'm most interested in learning about pregnancy across the globe, so Bumpology was right up my alley. I'm continuously startled at the differences between the pregnancy and birth experiences in the U.S. and Europe (and Australia): "Around 58 percent of U.S. women have an epidural, while in the UK, it is closer to 20 percent."

Much of what I read in the early sections of Bumpology I had already learned in Emily Oster's excellent Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong--and What You Really Need to Know (review coming next week.) I won't fault Bumpology for that, as there need to be more sources, particularly for U.S. women, exploring the truth behind the rules we're given without evidence. Still, what reading these two books close together made clear is that while many of the ideas are the same, the two authors take dramatically different approaches. Different readers will have different preferences.

Bumpology is essentially a collection of Bumpology columns. One big pro to this approach is the breadth of topics covered. Bumpology begins with pregnancy, continues with birth, and ends with babies. I will definitely pick it up to re-read those sections when the time comes. One big con, however, was how little information was included about some topics. With 150 sections in just over 300 pages, very little is explored in depth. For some topics, the amount of information was just right, but for others, I wanted more. I wish Geddes would have expanded some columns. I also wish she would have done some more revising for this U.S. edition of the book. While I welcomed her British perspective, there were numerous opportunities to play up different policies and results.

The verdict: There's a lot of good information in Bumpology, but it left me wanting more of many vignettes and less of others. As a reading experience, it was uneven, but as a resource to refer to as I get closer to birth, and as my baby grows after s/he is born, I think it will prove a helpful one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Length: 336 pages
Publication date: March 11, 2014
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Bumpology from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Linda Geddes' website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. Thanksk for reviewing this one -- I hate traditional style baby/parenting books and hoped this one would be more fun. Thanks for the great review.

  2. I am generally staying away from pregnancy books, and trying to take each day/issue as it comes. I am particularly research free on the issue of birth!
    The epidural statistic is interesting though. I (thankfully) have a low risk pregnancy on the UK, and I am being pushed hard to have to baby in a midwife-led centre attached to a hospital, rather than a hospital wing. Which is fine, and in many ways it will be much nicer, but an epidural will be out of the question unless I'm transferred over to the hospital and I'm not comfortable having that door closed. Women are also admitted to hospital only very late in labour, so often you're not allowed in until the time has passed to have an epidural. My sister was at home for almost 35 hours before going in to have her son.

  3. This sounds interesting. When I was expecting, I found that the best thing to do is to get a lot of information and then go with your gut. You know best what will work for you and your family!


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