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From The CriticsReviewer: Gilad A. Gross, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: Although this is the third edition of this book, it is the first with this title, which the authors chose to convey more strongly the notion of the fetus as a patient. This is a fairly comprehensive textbook of obstetrical practice that covers the entire gamut of the reproductive process from conception through fetal development and delivery. The content is presented in a straightforward manner with end of chapter "key points" adding a unique review of important concepts. The previous edition was published in 1992.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a comprehensive text that covers obstetrical practice with an emphasis on the role of the fetus as a patient with issues and morbidities that are unique and separate from those of the mother. These objectives represent the backbone of obstetrics. The scope of information makes this potentially a one stop shop for obstetrical reading. For the most part, the objectives are met. Nearly all aspects of obstetrical practice are covered, but the degree to which topics are addressed is unbalanced at times and the information is not as up-to-date as it could be.
Audience: The authors target any person who is studying and practicing obstetrics, both general and perinatal practice. They hope that students/practitioners of all levels will benefit. This is a helpful resource for those studying obstetrics (students, residents) and those needing a comprehensive review (general obstetricians). In addition, it would serve someone preparing for board exams very well. However, I don't believe that the depth of information would be very helpful to the practicing perinatologist, as many topics are covered rather briefly. The authors collectively represent a highly authoritative pool.
Features: This book does a good job of covering the very early basics of conception and the complex nature of fetal development. The content is well organized and the book flows easy. The authors have done a terrific job of designing the segments and their chapters. The book has many strengths. The comprehensiveness makes it a worthwhile resource to have. The chapters are written skillfully and are easy to read. The author pool is a significant attraction. Many diagrams and figures are clever and the visuals help in understanding some difficult concepts. The ample ultrasound images are appropriate and demonstrative. End of chapter "key points" are helpful and appreciated. There are not many shortcomings, but there is a curiously disproportionate amount of text on certain topics. A glaring example is a 70-page chapter on fetal skeletal anomalies (ch. 26) compared to just 15 pages on hypertensive disease (ch. 38). Some passages are nearly identical to the first edition, yet clearly warrant an updated angle, such as the paragraphs on fetal lung maturity testing in chapter 6.
Assessment: Overall, this is a high quality book that would be valuable for anyone studying/practicing obstetrics. It is impossible to encompass the scope of an entire practice within one book, but this one does a very good job. This is valuable as an excellent starting point in a student's/practitioner's search for answers, recognizing that other sources may be needed for more depth or more up-to-date information. The newest edition has valuable contemporary information.