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Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives (edição: 2010)

de Annie Murphy Paul

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What makes us the way we are? Is it the genes? The childhood environment? Or could it be that many of our individual characteristics--our health, our intelligence, our temperaments--are influenced by conditions encountered before birth? That's the claim of a provocative field known as fetal origins. Scientists are developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we're shaped before birth. The fetus is not an inert being, but an active and dynamic creature--and the pregnant woman is a source of influence on her future child far more powerful and positive than we ever knew.--From publisher description.… (mais)
Membro:kjsheeha
Título:Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
Autores:Annie Murphy Paul
Informação:Free Press (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 320 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:2010 science "fetal science" birth pregnancy

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Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives de Annie Murphy Paul

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Exibindo 5 de 5
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but this was quite easy reading non-fiction. Good for feeling less alone about what it's like to be pregnant (the author's discussion of all the food judging etc etc is spot on) but I didn't really get much out of it I didn't know - eat fruit and veg, exercise is a good idea, maybe green tea?, maybe avoid some plastics?, don't be pregnant in the middle of a siege or a terrorist attack... ( )
  atreic | Feb 18, 2015 |
It's widely accepted that early childhood development is important. Now, scientists' attention is turning to the even earlier stage of fetal development. Annie Murphy Paul, a science writer and a mother, delves into the research and interviews many leading scientists in the field. Her point of view is both professional and personal, and she presents a balanced view of the research that does exist, though it is an emerging field.

Origins Origins is not a guilt- or terror-inducing "blame the mom" screed; rather, it presents some thought-provoking facts and evidence, framed in a nine-month narrative, while frequently noting that fetal development is a relatively new area of study. Most of the research suggests, but does not yet proclaim with certainty. However, there is still plenty to learn from this book, and the writing is knowledgeable and accessible.

...such convictions emerged from a widely shared understanding of the relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus as intimate and reciprocal. There may be only one culture, in fact, in which this idea was roundly rejected: the scientific and medical culture of the modern West. (6)

Research suggests that more mature fetuses can experience tastes and smells in the womb; by seven months, the fetus's taste buds are fully developed, and its olfactory receptors appear to be functional. The flavors of the food a woman eats find their way into the amniotic fluid, which is continuously swallowed by the fetus. Babies seem to remember, and prefer, these familiar tastes once they are out in the world. (21)

The Gift of Health, Karin Michels (37)

"We often respond to today's world with yesterday's adaptations." (Dan Fessler, 43)

Re: male-to-female birth ratio: "Now that almost all children in the developed world live to adulthood, most of the natural selection that goes on today happens in utero. Compared to men, women are biological fortresses. There's no doubt that men are the weaker sex, started as early as the womb." (Ralph Catalano, 129)

Because of [the practice of aborting female fetuses], demographers and political scientists point out, millions of males in [China and India] are now reaching adulthood with no prospect of finding a mate and starting a family. (135)

Re: "Mommy Despair": Confusion turned to anger, and because there was no good place to put it, anger turned to despair. (142)

...researchers have proposed that the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the sixteenth century, was pregnant. (Sherwin Nuland, 143)

Project Viva (http://www.dacp.org/viva/index.html) and the National Children's Study (http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov/Pages/default.aspx) (188)

[Another] reason to focus on pregnancy: early interventions are almost always more cost effective than later ones, as Douglas Almond notes...."Multiplier effects mean that early interventions can be much less expensive and much more effective, [Thomas Miller] explains. "So, we can pay to help pregnant women now, or pay more to help their offspring later." (214)

[Last paragraph]: When we hold our babies for the first time, we imagine them clean and new, unmarked by life, when in fact they have already been shaped by the world, and by us. It's a koan of parenthood, one worthy of long contemplation: We are meeting someone we know well for the very first time. (240)
( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
Those of us fascinated by learning and how we are affected by the places where learning occurs find ourselves exploring a wonderfully unexpected learning space in Annie Murphy Paul’s "Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives": the womb. It is Paul's contention, throughout this well-researched and thought-provoking book, that we haven't given nearly enough attention to all we learn and acquire in those critical nine months before we enter the world. "Origins" is a great first step in filling that gap. Organized into nine chapters representing the nine months of the writer's second pregnancy, the book takes us through tantalizing views of the latest research into what we learn and how we are shaped in utero. Her Month Three explorations of how tremendously stressful situations affect mothers and the children they are carrying remind us that significantly less stressful situations can have significant and long-lasting effects on a learner's ability to absorb and retain information. Her Month Six explorations document how a mother's emotional state might have significant lifelong physiological impacts on her developing child. And the concluding chapters leading us to the moment of her second child's birth remind us of a variety of physical and emotional elements that teach the unborn child what to expect upon entering the world--just as we, as facilitators of learning, convey important messages to learners about what they can expect and might accomplish once they leave our learning spaces and re-enter the world in which they live and work and play. ( )
  paulsignorelli | Jul 11, 2012 |
My expectation from this book was simple: Help me learn the basics of the latest scientific research on how the soon-to-be-born babies are affected by their environment, by their parents behaviors and conditions. The book satisfied this criteria more or less while disappointing in many other aspects.

First of all, I don't know whether it was author's general style or she was forced by her editor's commercial pressure but frankly I'm really bored to death with so many personal details and the over-worked narrative structure of the book. Readers of The New Yorker may be buying this sort of story-telling and I'm not against a story told well, however there is neither a coherent nor a very well told story here. A 288 page book could easily be condensed into 100 or less pages without sacrificing any fact related to the prenatal development.

The author is free to want a boy as her second child but I'm still wondering what this has got to do with the topic of the book. Does the gender preference of mothers affect the children in any way? I would be more than happy if she cared to provide some research about this after every sentence in which she repeated how much she wanted a boy.

Another quite disappointing part was when she mentioned Caesarean section (C-section) only in a few sentences and simply said that this type of childbirth helped her mark her calendar exactly for the day her child will come. How convenient for a busy New York mother indeed! I was expecting at least some discussion against the C-section as well as elaborate arguments supporting it. But maybe I was asking for too much. (Funny thing is that when she writes about maternal leave she mentions a scientist that claims maternal leave "makes good economic sense, since C-sections cost more and require more recovery time for the mother.")

The parts where author gives priority to how very young fetuses are shaped by their mother's environment as well as shaping the mother's biology provide lots of food for thought (and in some cases, food for thought is literally meant, the author gives examples on how famines as well as ordinary food choices affect babies long after they have been born). As long as you can supress your feelings during the sections where very irrelevant personal details and political judgments are repeated you'll have the advantage of learning the contemporary landscape of prenatal development research from a popular science perspective. ( )
1 vote EmreSevinc | Apr 12, 2011 |
I should start this review by explaining what I hope for from a popular-interest science book. I expect an explanation of a theory, discovery, or scientific concept which is accurate, fun to read, well-cited (with citations to scholarly publications so I can read them too), and well-written. I appreciate a little humor, too. Some experiential asides are fine with me, but I don't want to read an autobiography. I prefer my authors to have a science or medical background, but this is not a requirement; I love Mary Roach after all.
I was incredibly excited to read Origins. I'm currently pregnant and love reading and researching all of the odd things that happen, all the dictates given by doctors, and I'm fascinated by the history of pregnancy and childbirth. I was the first one in my library to check this out (mainly because the tech services people moved this book to the front of the line for me and gave it to me as soon as they were done).
Unfortunatly, Annie Murphy Hall falls far short of my expectations. Her book is 8 parts memoir, 1 part historical overview, 1 part interview recollections. I really don't care about her shopping trips to Whole Foods while she was pregnant. I am curious about the mercury in fish debate. Guess which got more print?
Furthermore, she is way too reliant on quotes. It was like reading a freshman's first research paper. She also falls into the same trap that drives me crazy when journalists write about science (though not all journalists)--she cites information found in newspapers and news magazines with the same level of credibility as a scholarly journal.

In short, I REALLY wanted to like this book. I love the topic and enjoyed hearing the author's interviews on NPR. But I heard far too much about her pregnancy and far too little about how pregnancy effects us before we're even born. ( )
2 vote kaelirenee | Jan 7, 2011 |
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What makes us the way we are? Is it the genes? The childhood environment? Or could it be that many of our individual characteristics--our health, our intelligence, our temperaments--are influenced by conditions encountered before birth? That's the claim of a provocative field known as fetal origins. Scientists are developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we're shaped before birth. The fetus is not an inert being, but an active and dynamic creature--and the pregnant woman is a source of influence on her future child far more powerful and positive than we ever knew.--From publisher description.

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