Description: The fifth edition of this international obstetrics book focuses on the clinical management and anesthesia concerns of pregnant patients with medical conditions.
Purpose: It is intended as a comprehensive reference on medical problems in pregnant patients and the impact of pregnancy on those problems.
Audience: The target audience is residents, physicians, and other medical staff involved in caring for pregnant women. It is easy to extrapolate its use to physicians in other fields as well. For instance, a hematologist may want to understand the affects of a patient's hematologic problems on pregnancy and conversely how pregnancy affects this medical condition. The goal of patient-centered medical care is certainly worthwhile and the book does a good job of achieving it.
Features: The order of the chapters is a little confusing. The first third of the book is devoted to specific medical problems, such as pulmonary disease and heart disease. The book then shifts gears a bit, covering more focused topics such as diagnostic imaging in pregnancy. The last chapters focus on approaches to problems. Reference books that have multiple points of views may lose their audience and force readers to search for alternative sources of information. Conversely, if the intent is to create a literal "one stop shop," then readers are left to debate this book's merits versus other definitive obstetrics textbooks (i.e., Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 5th edition, Gabbe et al. (Elsevier, 2007) and Williams Obstetrics, 23rd edition, Cunningham et al. (McGraw-Hill, 2010)). Specifically, this book does a very good job of delivering clinically useful information. The pulmonary disease chapter clearly presents physiology with helpful figures (including lung capacity) and pearls such as proper inhaler use. The chapter continues on to critical care and much less common diseases such as Wegener's granulomatosis and pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis. While interesting, this information may be less relevant for the target audience. Chapter 24 appears to be just a table/figure with no background, and I thought some pages were missing. On the other hand, the chapter on obstetric anesthesia is fantastic and serves to highlight the book's strengths. Overall, the chapters that were kept to a manageable length succeeded the best, giving the book more focus and allowing the material to stand out. The discussion of prescribing during pregnancy and lactation also stands out if for no other reason that this is a unique topic that highlights an important issue. Again, it is easy to envision physicians in other fields turning to this book for assistance with their pregnant patients.
Assessment: This is a solid book for those interested in the care of obstetrical patients with medical problems. It has a grand vision and attempts to satisfy many parties. This newest edition adds some new wrinkles, justifying its publication.