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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Anthony Shanks, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This book examines the fetal and postnatal effects of a variety of substances taken by pregnant mothers.
Purpose: It attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of medications and substances that are taken by the pregnant mother and the effects on her child. Certainly, this is a worthwhile objective and the authors do a nice job of describing the information and addressing some substances that are not commonly evaluated.
Audience: The book is intended for healthcare providers to pregnant women who use these medications or substances. Therefore, it is not restricted to obstetricians/gynecologists — psychiatrists, neurologists, and family practitioners all may find the book interesting.
Features: "The title may be a problem. When I first saw it, I immediately thought it would be another desk reference that lists medications in bulleted format and their corresponding complications. However, when I opened it, my first reaction was that it was too wordy and would not replace my other books for this purpose (e.g. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition, Briggs (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011)). Once I started reading, I found much of interest. The chapters on alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine are quite novel and perhaps the most complete review of this literature in a book. I would encourage the authors to highlight this aspect of the book. The other chapters are comprehensive and do a good job of incorporating the currently available evidence. Chapter 4 is a nice review of seizure disorder in pregnancy, but I would have liked an explanation for why they chose 5 mg of folic acid (as opposed to 4 mg) and I would have liked an exploration of the use of vitamin K in the third trimester to prevent potential hemorrhage. (Not that I necessarily agree with either of those points, but it would be worthwhile to discuss it.) Chapter 10 on in utero exposure to recreational drugs was interesting. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently released a committee opinion, in March 2011, on the subject and it would be helpful to include a mention of this in the conclusion of the chapter, but I realize that the book may have already been in production. "
Assessment: This book tackles a common problem from a slightly different angle. It is comprehensive and not designed for quick and easy reference. The chapters on recreational drugs are standouts. I would have liked to have more color in the pictures, but overall it is an aesthetically pleasing textbook and a nice addition to the literature.