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Comfort and Advice for the Postnatal Period

October 12, 1998|ROCHELLE O'GORMAN FLYNN

"Composing Myself: A Journey Through Postpartum Depression"

Fiona Shaw

Steer Forth Press

$24, 209 pages

Having a baby can change a woman's entire perspective on life, writes the author of this interesting and well-written memoir about postpartum depression. Shaw describes how her life came apart at the seams after the birth of her second child. Shaw doesn't offer theories on what causes postpartum mental illness--and this is not a self-help book. But she explains how the experience altered her perception of her past and future. She tells her story in a way that might help others understand this baffling disorder and comfort women who are themselves suffering.

*

"Caring for Your Premature Baby"

Alan H. Klein, MD, and Jill Alison Ganon

Harper Perennial

$15, 252 pages

There are few things in pregnancy as upsetting as having your baby arrive unexpectedly early and at risk for developing serious health problems. This book by a neonatologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will help parents experiencing the trauma of a premature birth understand what is happening and what they face in the days and weeks ahead.

The book details the various medical needs of the preemie, including the latest research on how these babies are treated. Klein and coauthor Jill Alison Ganon address the emotions and problems that parents typically experience, such as hassles with insurance companies. The authors also present parents with valuable advice about taking the preemie home and the challenges that lie ahead.

*

"Caring for Your Premature Baby" is a nicely done book that informs without overwhelming.

"The Mother's Book of Home Medical Tests

for Infants & Children"

Herbert Haessler, MD, and Raymond Harris

Contemporary Books

$14.95, 176 pages

Dealing with new babies involves two factors: experience and knowledge, say the authors of this new book on simple home medical examinations. Experience accumulates gradually, but you can learn a lot about the mysteries of infants' and children's bodies with this guide. "Tests" may be the wrong word for what this book offers. It really teaches parents about anatomy and how to make astute observations about their children's health. Some of these exams, however, are more easily described than done. For instance, the book offers instruction on how to measure an infant's length. If you've ever brought an infant to a well-baby checkup, you know that even the pediatrician and nurse-assistant can have a hard time measuring length. Also, do you really need to know how to listen to and calculate your baby's heartbeat? Other segments, however, are more practical, such as how to evaluate swollen lymph nodes and how to recognize dehydration.

*

"Positive Postnatal Fitness: A Complete Post-Pregnancy Workout"

Aileen Sheron

RDK Productions

60 minutes

$19.95

*

Exercise videos may be a new mom's best friend, allowing her to coax her body back into shape in the privacy and convenience of home. This tape by instructor Aileen Sheron will meet the needs of most new moms. The program consists of warm-up exercises, an aerobic segment, and sections on strength and abdominal exercises. It includes advice from a physical therapist on preventing injury to your postpartum body, such as instruction on how to properly lift the baby. The tape comes with a stretchy exercise band to facilitate some of the movements and a brochure full of health-care advice for new mothers beginning to exercise again. While encouraging participants to have fun, Sheron is careful to emphasize modifying exercises to prevent overstressing a recovering body. Perhaps the only downside to the tape is that some of the aerobic dance movements seem a bit more complicated than is necessary, especially for a sleep-deprived new mom. It may take several replays of the program to learn all the movements and really get your heart rate going.

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