Giving the Pregnant a Bad Name

November 23, 2009

No, it’s not me (despite my wanton ingestion of booze, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbs). It’s Vicki Iovine, author of The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. The cover reports that it’s sold over 1.5 million copies, and it actually came highly recommended by a dear friend (and mom of 2 years), so perhaps the problem is me…but the author is *seriously* annoying. To wit:

1. Math is hard. With the tone of revealing a great conspiracy against pregnant women, Vicki reports that, by her calculations, a 40-week pregnancy is actually 10 months instead of 9. As any bookkeeper (or, hell, first grader) can tell you, only February has 28 days (4 weeks). The other months, with 30 or 31 days, are longer. This means that, in fact, your average 40-week pregnancy is pretty damn close to 9 months. Not 10. It might be somewhat less irritating if Vicki mentioned this fun non-factoid just once, but she repeats it throughout the book with eager yet misguided glee.

2. Vicki is neither a doctor nor plays one on TV. She is adamant throughout that she is not a doctor (she is, in fact, a lawyer and former Playboy centerfold–insert your own bad joke of choice here), yet she includes a lot of information about medical-type things like genetic testing and miscarriage. This would be fine if so much of what she included wasn’t just plain wrong.

For example, on p. 85 she mentions that if your blood is Rh-negative and your baby’s is Rh-positive, special care will need to be taken to “protect the baby from anemia.” The main concern here is actually the Rh-negative mom’s developing antibodies that will reject Rh-positive babies in subsequent pregnancies. She also, in contravention of nearly every real expert out there, advises against exercise during pregnancy, apparently believing that baby can be jarred loose by one good Tae-Bo kick.

3. Neurosis, thy name is Vicki. Vicki recommends (in all caps, no less) that you stand backward on the scale at the doctor’s office and ask them not to tell you how much weight you’ve gained or lost. She also recounts how she, upon learning of a starlet’s miscarriage on the 11 o’clock news, roused her husband from a sound sleep so that he could take her to the hospital “to make sure that our baby was still safe and alive in my stomach.” Good God. It’s one thing to share your foibles to reveal that you, too, are flawed and human. It’s quite another to reveal so many that your readers are wondering how someone so obviously bananas ever snared a book contract in the first place.

4. She’s just kind of mean:

p. 22: Telling people you are pregnant works like a charm when you want some special treatment, such as permission to move to the front of the line in the ladies’ room…

p. 71: Those of us who took a little nip from the epidural tap are usually the life of the champagne celebration in our rooms after the baby is born, while our American Gothic counterparts are sound asleep with every capillary in their cheeks broken.

p. 114: If nurturing someone else through this trying time while trying to survive it yourself seems like an overwhelming task, do what Girlfriends have been doing for years: Ignore your partner and concentrate on yourself.

I’d like to stop reading, but I can’t–the train wreck is irresistible.

P.S. A quick Wikipedia search reveals that Vicki is now divorced from the father of her four children. He must have gotten tired of being ignored while she was concentrating on herself.

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4 Responses to “Giving the Pregnant a Bad Name”

  1. tiffbonk Says:

    When I found out I was preggo that first thing I did was run out and buy ‘Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy’ and ‘What to Expect When You are Expecting’. Both books were a bit of a let down for me. ‘Girlfriends’ was humorous; I flew through it and laughed a few times. But you are right, it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Not to mention, I am not her ‘girlfriend’ so being referred to as such was a little annoying.

  2. jacarsen Says:

    Yes, that definitely got to me–the repeated use of “Girlfriend-with-a-capital-G.” Love your blog!


  3. […] 11, 2010 I have discovered the male equivalent to Vicki Iovine’s highly irritating The Girlfriends’ Guide To Pregnancy. It is The Dudes’ Guide To Pregnancy, and it makes […]


  4. […] have discovered the male equivalent to Vicki Iovine’s highly irritating The Girlfriends’ Guide To Pregnancy. It is The Dudes’ Guide To Pregnancy, and it makes […]


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