Girl Planting seeds

Book Review: Origins

Book Review
Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth 
Shape the Rest of Our Lives
By Erin S. Ihde, MA 
In her newest book, Origins, author Annie Murphy Paul writes through the lens of her own pregnancy. She creates a month-by-month journey to the birth of her second son that is at once intensely personal and universal. Together with medical science and women's history, Murphy Paul shows us all how to achieve better birth outcomes and healthier babies today.
From the middle ages to the 1960s, little was known about life in the womb. With advances in camera technology and sonograms that let us peer inside, everything changed. Unveiling the mysteries of fetal development has allowed women to bond with their babies sooner, before birth. Yet despite all the advances in medicine, American women still fall short in healthy pregnancy outcomes, falling near the bottom of the list of developed countries worldwide. Why the disparity? One of the reasons, Annie asserts, are the 82,000 chemicals we’re exposed to everyday, through furniture flame retardants and car exhaust, shampoo and cleaning products. In short, through everything a pregnant woman eats and breathes. 
It’s also the way a woman feels during pregnancy that can predispose her unborn baby to certain emotional states.  Depression, anxiety, or a naturally calm demeanor may all have origins in fetal development. The barrier once believed to exist between mother and baby is not nearly as protective as once thought. 
Annie’s writing is refreshingly reassuring in that we no longer have to guess at how to create healthy human life. The building blocks are surprisingly simple and perhaps we've known them all along:  good nutrition, safe water, clean air, and life devoid of traumas such as war that can lead to premature birth and other negative outcomes. To make this accessible to all women, we need - at the very least - stronger laws and better pregnancy education. 
Origins is in itself like the technology that allowed us to peer inside the womb for the first time: groundbreaking and a must to experience. 
Click here ( for more information on this and more of Deirdre Imus’ Book Picks. 
About Erin S. Ihde, MA: 
erin_croppedErin S. Ihde is Research/Project Manager at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.  She specializes in children's environmental health research and education, particularly on eliminating exposures to everyday toxins.  Research concentrations include a pediatric multi-site clinical trial on a non-toxic treatment and the environmental factors associated with autism and other chronic illnesses.  She enjoys presenting on green living and greening the home to school groups and adults alike.  Ms. Ihde has an MA in Environmental Education from New York University and a BA in English from the Honors Program at The College of New Jersey.  She received a citizen's award from The New York Times and a fellowship from New York University's Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.   
Winter 2010 Greening Your Life Newsletter 
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