19 MAY 1923, Page 23

Getting Ready to be a Mother. By Carolyn Conant Van

Blarcom. (Macmillan. Os. net.) " Less than half of all pregnancies are normal," say the two New York doctors who write their preface to this little book, " and the illness and loss of human life, from causes associated with childbirth, are distressingly and needlessly high." Only a trifling number of these abnormalities need for a moment injure the lives of mother or child if simple pre- cautions are taken beforehand. It is only when the pre- cautions are neglected that the abnormality becomes in any sense an illness. We in England shall probably consider some of the precautions which Mrs. Blarcom recommends to the nursing and expectant mother as a little absurd and tiresome, but for the most part the book is not, as are so many books of this kind, fussy. It is, moreover, illustrated with charts and diagrams, which are not usually found in popular books of this kind. There is, for example, a lucid chapter on embryology giving particulars of pre-natal life, with weights and measurements and so on, which will greatly interest young mothers and experienced ones as well, for such information is not usually available to the layman short of procuring a copy of some portentous tome such as Gray's Anatomy. Perhaps the book might prove slightly alarming to a nervous woman, but to the confident majority it will prove interesting and stimulating. Mrs. Blarcom has had the good sense to see that though many of the particulars which she gives (such as those of pre-natal developments before-mentioned) are of no practical direct use to the mother, yet the attitude of scientific interest which such knowledge brings is of very real value. The book is a little too difficult to be put into the hands of working mothers, but it would prove a first-rate textbook for those who give informal talks to mothers either at welfare centres or at home.