What to Expect When Expecting, Heidi Murkoff: “Stop and Smell Your Baby”

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff, is considered the bible of pregnancy. It was written in 1984, and since its release, it has become a best-seller in the New York Times, where it holds the record for the title that has spent the longest time on the best-seller list.

It is considered by many to be the most influential book of recent decades. With more than 45 million copies sold worldwide, What to Expect When You’re Expecting marked the beginning of the parenting phenomenon. In 2010, the Canadian production company, Lionsgate, bought the rights and produced a film based on the book but told through the stories of seven couples.

Heidi Murkoff and her bible of pregnancy

Almost forty years after the first edition, Heidi presents a completely revised and updated new version. Timely information makes it easy for expectant mothers and their partners to go through the exhausting, exciting, frazzling, and magical task of having a newborn.

Regarding this new edition, we talked with Heidi Murkoff, who told us some tips so that during the pregnancy process, we know just that: what to expect when expecting.

Baby Creysi: Heidi, thank you very much for your book. It contains the latest advances in medicine, genetics, and obstetrics but retains the good humor, warmth, and empathy of someone who, beyond the medical side, knows what it’s like to be pregnant. What do you expect from this 5th edition? How has it evolved in all these years?

Heidi Murkoff: My goal remains the same. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I needed answers to many questions. Still, there were no materials that had everything clear and well researched, so I took on the task of writing it in my own words and, in this way, helping other women who were surely going through the same questions.

She had the idea in her first pregnancy, and a few hours before giving birth to her baby, Heidi submitted the proposal for a guide to help other future parents. I conceived a pregnancy, and then I conceived a book. The truth is that I did not expect either of those things.

She never imagined what it would become

It was something that was sorely lacking. Many things have changed over time, especially in medical recommendations, but what never changes is the experience of expecting a baby: the doubts, the fears, the processes that take place in the body. Women who get pregnant at all times feel bloated, they are constipated, and have aches and pains. What does not change is that both women and men, everyone who is expecting a baby, has questions and needs answers.

BC: From your experience as a writer, workshop facilitator, and mother, what worries women the most during pregnancy?

HM: Basically, it’s always the same questions: Is this normal? Is my baby okay? Is my pregnancy going well? Sometimes, a mom needs to know that she is not alone and that other women have been through the same thing. When you understand that what happens to you has already happened to other women and that makes you part of a global sisterhood, you take a weight off your shoulders because you know that there are answers and that you are not the only one with that doubt.

Information is power but beware of Dr. Google

BC: How did your guide and, in general, the experience of motherhood change with the arrival of the internet?

HM: On the internet, there is a lot of information that is not entirely true, but there is something very positive: support groups are created. There have always been myths about pregnancy, stories, and legends that grandmothers tell us that are passed down from generation to generation. There is a lot of helpful information but also misinformation.

The problem with asking Dr. Google is that often the information is not correct and can lead to confusion. My recommendation is that it is okay to look for information, to read everything you want, but when you are going to make a decision, always consult your doctor. Every woman, pregnancy, and baby is different, so only you and your doctor will know what’s best for your little one.

Another thing that worries me is the pressure in social networks and society to be perfect mothers. Be aware that there is no perfect mom; there is no perfect baby, so relax.

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Stop and smell your baby

BC: If you had to go back to your first pregnancy, what advice would you give yourself?

HM: I would tell myself not to worry so much! I worried about everything, the symptoms I had and the ones I didn’t have. I would say to myself to ask if I have doubts, don’t stress, and enjoy the moment.

The most important advice I would give to a new mom is to stop and enjoy the scent of her baby. There is a proverb that states Stop and smell the roses; this means that you stop and allow yourself to enjoy the time you have with your baby. We are constantly stressed about the moment he is going to stop crying, at what time we have to feed him; you have to enjoy it, you have to smell it.

BC: What’s next for Heidi?

HM: Everything. I will update my books. I have a foundation dedicated to giving information to mothers, so I will travel the world to meet them. Still, above all, I am interested in carrying the message for them to stop and smell their baby.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff

Publisher: Diana

Review: New updated edition of the world’s best-selling pregnancy guide. It includes the details of the baby’s development week by week, the baby’s last day in the womb and childbirth, and news about perinatal tests and medication during pregnancy. New lifestyle trends are also incorporated: diets, exercise, sex, water or home births, etc.

What to Expect When You're Expecting is available in bookstores and on the Planeta Libros website
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is available in bookstores and on the Planeta Libros website

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here