For day 2 of Book Week, I’m highlighting Annie Murphy Paul’s eye-opening Origins: How The Nine Months Before Birth Shape The Rest of Our Lives. You’ve likely already seen this one on the cover of TIME, last weekend’s New York Times Book Review, or television.
How much does an expectant mother’s health and experiences during pregnancy influence her child through adulthood? A LOT! Paul explores factors like weight gain, stress, diet, disease resistance, environmental toxins, and more delving into the science behind how our months in the womb influence our lives:
Author and journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories of fetal researchers, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we’re shaped before birth. She discovers dramatic stories: how individuals gestated during the Nazi siege of Holland in World War II are still feeling its consequences decades later; how pregnant women who experienced the 9/11 attacks passed their trauma on to their offspring in the womb; how a lab accident led to the discovery of a common household chemical that can harm the developing fetus; how the study of a century-old flu pandemic reveals the high personal and societal costs of poor prenatal experience…With the intimacy of a personal memoir and the sweep of a scientific revolution, Origins presents a stunning new vision of our beginnings that will change the way you think about yourself, your children, and human nature itself.
While you may already have heard of some of the studies included, never before have they been compiled this comprehensive manner illustrating how they are related. Admittedly, Origins may make a few expectant mothers (my friends among them) extremely cautious–but that’s not a bad thing. Paul seamlessly combines the latest prenatal research with a compelling and relatable narrative that makes for excellent science writing and reading.
Learn more about this fascinating book at the Origins website.