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Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-Conception Through Birth

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The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians covers everything you need to make the thrilling and challenging journey to motherhood: from choosing a donor to tracking fertility to signing the right papers on the dotted lines. Rachel Pepper's lively, easy-to-read guide is the first place to go for up-to-date information and sage advice on everything from sex in the sixth mo The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians covers everything you need to make the thrilling and challenging journey to motherhood: from choosing a donor to tracking fertility to signing the right papers on the dotted lines. Rachel Pepper's lively, easy-to-read guide is the first place to go for up-to-date information and sage advice on everything from sex in the sixth month to negotiating family roles. Why a second edition? When the acclaimed first edition appeared, the author's daughter was only a few months old. This new edition takes into account the parenting know-how Pepper has developed over the intervening six years, as well as the evolving legal status of lesbian parents, and the increasing importance of the Internet for information on fertility, sperm banks, and donors. The resource section is greatly expanded, as are the sections on each trimester of pregnancy, on childbirth, and on life with a newborn. And Pepper provides more insight into preconception planning for both single lesbians and couples. An indispensable resource, The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians is now bigger and better.


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The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians covers everything you need to make the thrilling and challenging journey to motherhood: from choosing a donor to tracking fertility to signing the right papers on the dotted lines. Rachel Pepper's lively, easy-to-read guide is the first place to go for up-to-date information and sage advice on everything from sex in the sixth mo The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians covers everything you need to make the thrilling and challenging journey to motherhood: from choosing a donor to tracking fertility to signing the right papers on the dotted lines. Rachel Pepper's lively, easy-to-read guide is the first place to go for up-to-date information and sage advice on everything from sex in the sixth month to negotiating family roles. Why a second edition? When the acclaimed first edition appeared, the author's daughter was only a few months old. This new edition takes into account the parenting know-how Pepper has developed over the intervening six years, as well as the evolving legal status of lesbian parents, and the increasing importance of the Internet for information on fertility, sperm banks, and donors. The resource section is greatly expanded, as are the sections on each trimester of pregnancy, on childbirth, and on life with a newborn. And Pepper provides more insight into preconception planning for both single lesbians and couples. An indispensable resource, The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians is now bigger and better.

30 review for Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-Conception Through Birth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sprinkles

    Again, ignore this casual reading. ;) Nothing to see here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This book is not nearly as good as The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth by Stephanie Brill. I think the author's conscious intention was to provide something that was a little less clinical, a little less "woo woo", a little less intimidating of a book, and while the book does have a "chattier" tone, it also delivers way less useful information. Basically everything she has to offer is common sense. An example: sometimes when you have roommates and you decide to ha This book is not nearly as good as The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth by Stephanie Brill. I think the author's conscious intention was to provide something that was a little less clinical, a little less "woo woo", a little less intimidating of a book, and while the book does have a "chattier" tone, it also delivers way less useful information. Basically everything she has to offer is common sense. An example: sometimes when you have roommates and you decide to have a baby, you might need to reevaluate your living situation and how well your roommates will mesh with your baby and your new baby-care schedule and needs. Anyone who needs something so obvious spelled out for them needs a lot more than Pepper's book can offer. (Hell, they probably need some of the self-help activities offered in Brill's book designed to evaluate their child-care style and family vision and stuff like that.) As far as I can see, the only thing Rachel Pepper brings to the table that Stephanie Brill doesn't is her own experiences. And believe me, she really wants to tell you her experiences in that matter, and her opinions on that issue. Whenever she mentions any choice a lesbian might have to make in their path towards motherhood, she just can't resist interjecting what SHE did. Morning sickness? Well SHE found it very helpful to keep crackers around so that she wasn't ever too hungry. IUI versus regular insemination? Well some lesbians waste their time because for SOME reason they want to do the insemination themselves, but eventually when they don't conceive they'll do what Rachel Pepper did from the get go and run to a doctor's office and get that IUI. (OK, her tone isn't that overtly judgemental, but you can feel her judgement and sense of superiority seeping through in every chapter.) My favorite piece of Rachel Pepper extraneous information about her specific family wisdom is when she suggests that warm milk is a perfectly good subsitute for coffee during pregnancy. It worked for her! And not only that, but her daughter Francis agrees, and still drinks it to this day! Seriously, Rachel Pepper, WHO CARES?!? In the first chapter, her constant insertions of her own experiences are fine, but she literally cannot get through a single paragraph without talking about herself and her own experiences with motherhood. And this I believe is her unconscious intention in writing the book: she wanted the world to know about HER experiences as a mother. I mean, how could the landscape of lesbian pregnancy books possibly be complete without a book in which we see Rachel Pepper's perspective. And, of course, if this were a memoir, a series of personal essays about motherhood, or another genre that suggests an explicitly autobiographical approach to the subject matter, then her incessant self-references would be appropriate, even interesting, but she's not writing that book. She's writing the Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians, and at that, she has failed, unless she changes the subtitle to, "How to Care for Rachel Pepper from Pre-conception through Birth."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlz

    I chose this one 'cause it's got a lot of info for single women... Yes, like sperm banks, lesbo prego books tend to lean toward nuclear family structures. Or so it seems. Anyhow, so far, so good. Now, if only there were a lesbo prego book for broke/poor/working class single lesbos... I chose this one 'cause it's got a lot of info for single women... Yes, like sperm banks, lesbo prego books tend to lean toward nuclear family structures. Or so it seems. Anyhow, so far, so good. Now, if only there were a lesbo prego book for broke/poor/working class single lesbos...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    If I could give this book less than one star, I would. The fact that so many of us end up reading (and worse, buying!) a book that has such little detailed information -- you could learn this much in 30 minutes online -- and so much denigration of non-gestational mothers (who apparently shouldn't breathe on the baby, lest nursing collapse, or consider themselves mothers -- "dyke daddy" is okay, though) is a testament to how few good books there are about lesbian parenthood. Stephanie Brill's boo If I could give this book less than one star, I would. The fact that so many of us end up reading (and worse, buying!) a book that has such little detailed information -- you could learn this much in 30 minutes online -- and so much denigration of non-gestational mothers (who apparently shouldn't breathe on the baby, lest nursing collapse, or consider themselves mothers -- "dyke daddy" is okay, though) is a testament to how few good books there are about lesbian parenthood. Stephanie Brill's book has its problems -- the part where she says endometriosis is caused by "insufficient self-nuturing" comes to mind -- but it has a LOT more factual information and much less arrogant, self-centered bullshit.

  5. 5 out of 5

    springsnotfail

    You can tell what you're in for from the cover, which is of the midriff of a beautiful, smooth-skinned, white pregnant woman with a bare stomach and a sarong around her hips. By the end of reading it, I felt like if I read the words 'luscious pregnant body' one more time I was going to kill something. As I said to my wife, it's kind of like reading an account of being pregnant along with some unsolicited advice from some random hippie friend-of-a-friend who talks about spending time with your God You can tell what you're in for from the cover, which is of the midriff of a beautiful, smooth-skinned, white pregnant woman with a bare stomach and a sarong around her hips. By the end of reading it, I felt like if I read the words 'luscious pregnant body' one more time I was going to kill something. As I said to my wife, it's kind of like reading an account of being pregnant along with some unsolicited advice from some random hippie friend-of-a-friend who talks about spending time with your Goddess of choice. I mean, it's good insofar as it's good to hear of anyone's experience, and she has quotes from other women she talked to, but there are some very annoying bits where she gives rather sententious and unwanted advice about finances (if you can't afford to get pregnant how can you afford to have a child?!?!??!?! FUCK YOU LADY, POOR PEOPLE CAN HAVE BABIES) and age (younger people shouldn't have babies! wait until you're in your late twenties and you're mature enough to be a parent! you might think you want to get pregnant but you don't know what you want!). The book thinks it's inclusive but is wildly middle class and also occasionally outdated/clueless. See eg.: the title - the book is in fact primarily for women seeking to get pregnant who are not in sexual relationships with men. It also refers to trans men as 'trannies' a couple of times, which I think was the preferred self-definition term for a small group of trans people for about five minutes a few years ago? but is not okay now, and not okay for a non-trans person to use, imo. In general, although there's some lip service to the trans experience, this is not a book that really considers or thinks about birthing/parenting while trans, or really thinks much about gender at all. Or race for that matter. It's basically an individual account, which would be fine, but it's packaged as a universal guide (an ultimate guide even), which is very galling. In terms of facts, mostly thus far it's telling me things I already knew, having already talked to a number of people who've used sperm banks and donors, and it's also very US-centric and is of no use whatsoever for legal or healthcare stuff if you're not from the states. It does have a fairly charming description of her tour of the inside of a sperm bank, in which she marvels at the miracle of life and sends good wishes to all the frozen sperm. However, it is interesting for the questions it anticipates its audience will ask - such as, "How can I determine the biological sex of my child?" It never even occurred to me that people might try to game the system to determine the sex of their child, but apparently that's a thing, and depending on when you inseminate it's possibly more likely if you have a boy or a girl, because girl sperm swim slower? Or something? And it's more likely you'll have a boy if you use frozen sperm because of the hardiness of boy sperm? It sounds like a load of crap to me. The book does suggest gently that you shouldn't think too hard about it and just try to get pregnant, which is something I suppose. The other thing which keeps coming up, which is hilarious, is how you MUSTN'T HOT TUB. NO HOT TUBBING. For a while I thought this was some kind of sexual euphemism, but no, you just shouldn't go in a hot tub when you're pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, or if you're donating sperm. Apparently. I don't know how many people she knows with hot tubs, but I guess that's a lifestyle thing that enough people do that she has to mention it constantly. I don't think I know anyone who ever hot tubs, or even uses that as a verb. The other thing this book is telling me, which reminds me of when we were getting married, is DON'T GET STRESSED. DON'T STRESS OUT. YOU CAN'T GET PREGNANT IF YOU'RE STRESSED SO DON'T GET STRESSED OKAY? RELAX RIGHT NOW, WHY AREN'T YOU RELAXING. But it does also ruefully acknowledge how stressful it is to try and get pregnant, so it's not completely awful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    Good primer. But once you're a few insems in, you'll be wringing the books spine, wishing it had MORE! You should probably just have a drink then and order fertility books written for straight women slogging through the ART world. And when you get those, rather than cry about the lack of queer fertility books, make it into a game and do a shot every time "your husband" is mentioned. (But don't tell your doc lest she lecture you about alcohol and fertility statistics.) Good primer. But once you're a few insems in, you'll be wringing the books spine, wishing it had MORE! You should probably just have a drink then and order fertility books written for straight women slogging through the ART world. And when you get those, rather than cry about the lack of queer fertility books, make it into a game and do a shot every time "your husband" is mentioned. (But don't tell your doc lest she lecture you about alcohol and fertility statistics.)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marya

    My wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning a pregnancy and I looked to this book for advice on getting started and the whole process in general. While I did find the chapters surrounding sperm banks and donor sperm somewhat useful I found the book as a whole to be condescending, outdated, and overall unhelpful. While I understand that some things have changed since the book was published in 2006, it is pretty clear that the “completely updated edition” still have bits left in from the My wife and I are in the beginning stages of planning a pregnancy and I looked to this book for advice on getting started and the whole process in general. While I did find the chapters surrounding sperm banks and donor sperm somewhat useful I found the book as a whole to be condescending, outdated, and overall unhelpful. While I understand that some things have changed since the book was published in 2006, it is pretty clear that the “completely updated edition” still have bits left in from the original publication back in the 1900s when the age of technology was just getting going. Reading this book in early 2018 it was clear that it is long overdue for a third edition. I can overlook most of the outdated pieces of this book, however the author’s anecdotal medical advice mixed with her lack of references for the suggestions and facts she provides are a major turn off for me. As someone who works as a labor and delivery nurse and is generally knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth as a concept I found the book to be awfully dumbed down in addition to being preachy and biased towards possibly unsafe choices. These suggestions coupled with lack of research to back them up left me frustrated. I suggest reading “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster instead. It isn’t specifically geared towards lesbian mamas, but aside from it lacking the little bit of info about sperm donors/sperm banks that this book contains it is overall a much more well written, and much more helpful book that is inclusive of everyone.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I didn’t realize I had purchased the 2005 edition as opposed to the 2014 edition of this book. I will probably look into getting the latter. It still had some useful information and I will hang on to it, but there were parts that were out of date (same-sex marriage being legal now in the US, for example). I also felt that the author used judgmental language, particularly surrounding pain management during labor and breastfeeding. She literally asks the reader to “reconsider” an epidural and trus I didn’t realize I had purchased the 2005 edition as opposed to the 2014 edition of this book. I will probably look into getting the latter. It still had some useful information and I will hang on to it, but there were parts that were out of date (same-sex marriage being legal now in the US, for example). I also felt that the author used judgmental language, particularly surrounding pain management during labor and breastfeeding. She literally asks the reader to “reconsider” an epidural and trust their body. I’m not planning to have an epidural for personal reasons, but it’s really unnecessary to shame a person for choosing the pain management that they feel is right for them. Also, for someone who doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles (a lesbian) the author spends an awful lot of time reinforcing the gender binary. She literally says to really consider a gender neutral name because it might eventually end up being considered as belonging to one gender over another and used the name Jordan as an example. Also, TW for multiple uses of the word tr*nny. I don’t know who told her this was okay to use, or if it is partly a generational thing and was more accepted in the 90s when this book first came out, but it is in there. It is not used in a derogatory or negative way but it still felt really off to me for a cis person to be using this word.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wehr

    I’m inflating my rating to 4 stars because this sort of literature just isn’t available for queer folks! And it’s SOOO needed. Because of that I had moments of truly feeling seen and held by this book. Especially the chapters on selecting a donor and going thru trying to conceive. That being said- the talk of trying to conceive a girl for lesbians was weird at best and an offensive antiquated way to talk about gender at worst. I suppose it could be dated, but I just wanna say thats not a lesbian I’m inflating my rating to 4 stars because this sort of literature just isn’t available for queer folks! And it’s SOOO needed. Because of that I had moments of truly feeling seen and held by this book. Especially the chapters on selecting a donor and going thru trying to conceive. That being said- the talk of trying to conceive a girl for lesbians was weird at best and an offensive antiquated way to talk about gender at worst. I suppose it could be dated, but I just wanna say thats not a lesbian thing these days. Other weird comments along those lines did not feel like they were shared by my queer self. Later chapters and topics are better explored in other pregnancy and parenting books, but the first few chapters were helpful!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bek Andrews

    Incredibly out of date. Disappointing language made me cringe multiple times. Super judgey tone sometimes, specifically towards young mums. This book was written purely from the authors experiences/opinions which would be fine if it weren’t for the title/marketing of “ultimate guide”. DNFed at 50%. Upsetting that this is one of the only books I’ve found for lesbians and it hasn’t had a revision since 2002.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Winnipeg Mosquito

    This is a really good introduction. if you and your partner want a baby, but have no idea where to start. This breaks it down in non-threatening and laywoman language. if you want something detailed and are familiar with the basics you probably won't find anything new here. This is a really good introduction. if you and your partner want a baby, but have no idea where to start. This breaks it down in non-threatening and laywoman language. if you want something detailed and are familiar with the basics you probably won't find anything new here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I find myself having to give this book a very mixed review. On one hand, it is the most comprehensive book I've ever read about lesbian conception and I appreciate greatly that it goes over fertility issues without assuming you are a straight couple that needs to mourn your inability to just magically get pregnant. It avoids a lot of the sexist and weird messages about pregnancy that you get in mainstream pregnancy books and I'm thankful that the book does such a good job of covering different p I find myself having to give this book a very mixed review. On one hand, it is the most comprehensive book I've ever read about lesbian conception and I appreciate greatly that it goes over fertility issues without assuming you are a straight couple that needs to mourn your inability to just magically get pregnant. It avoids a lot of the sexist and weird messages about pregnancy that you get in mainstream pregnancy books and I'm thankful that the book does such a good job of covering different parenting arrangements - including the feelings and role of the non-pregnant mother. It is by far the best book I have found on this topic. However I can't give this book five stars. As a bisexual woman, I was a bit gobsmacked by the exclusion in this book. This is a book about LESBIANS. If you are not a LESBIAN you will find the long exclusionary passages about LESBIANS frustrating. While this book documents some diverse parenting arrangements, the author never thinks that bisexual women might be conceiving and parenting with other bisexual women. And there were so many places where "queer women" or "lesbian and bisexual women" could have been substituted for "lesbians" easily and could have made the book seem less exclusionary. As a result I recommend this book for queer and bisexual women in tandem with Stephanie Brill's "Queer Parent's Primer" so they don't feel so left out. Also there were times where Rachel Pepper was clearly opining about things where she knew nothing about the medical risks. I would recommend that everyone get a more evidence based pregnancy book, like "Our Bodies, Ourselves : Pregnancy and Birth" (if you really want to know about the risks of skiing for example instead of just taking Pepper's word).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I reviewed this in two parts, here and here. The abbreviated version is this: the resources on preconception and pregnancy are good. As for the actual birth stuff, while not necessarily incorrect, was the kind of thing I'd highly encourage researching through other sources before making a decision. My biggest qualm was with the fact that Pepper makes a point of mentioning that she's writing for lesbian families where one partner is trans, only to later make it pretty clear that what she means is I reviewed this in two parts, here and here. The abbreviated version is this: the resources on preconception and pregnancy are good. As for the actual birth stuff, while not necessarily incorrect, was the kind of thing I'd highly encourage researching through other sources before making a decision. My biggest qualm was with the fact that Pepper makes a point of mentioning that she's writing for lesbian families where one partner is trans, only to later make it pretty clear that what she means is FTM trans men. It's perhaps better than ignoring trans people entirely, but leaving out trans women partnered with cis women certainly ignores a segment of lesbian parents who still often face similar fertility obstacles after hormonal transition. The latter of those reviews I linked goes a little bit into why I'm holding Pepper to a pretty high standard on that, which is something I gave a lot of thought to.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    Even though I had/have already done extensive research on the topics covered, I learned some valuable things from this book. It's an easy read and not poorly written. It is, however, not brilliantly written, either; there's too much summary, repetition, and basic information. Although I thought the book was ok overall, my main criticism is that the author's personal situation/background (having gotten pregnant with teh intention of raising the child alone, as a single lesbian) leads her to downp Even though I had/have already done extensive research on the topics covered, I learned some valuable things from this book. It's an easy read and not poorly written. It is, however, not brilliantly written, either; there's too much summary, repetition, and basic information. Although I thought the book was ok overall, my main criticism is that the author's personal situation/background (having gotten pregnant with teh intention of raising the child alone, as a single lesbian) leads her to downplay and frequently discount the role of the wife/partner of the mother giving birth. In numerous places, she, apparently unconsciously, uses quite demeaning and subtly inappropriate words, turns of phrase, and entire perspectives to describe the permanent partnerships that exist between many women and the wife/partner's role.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    I wanted to like this more since it was recommended to me, but apparently Emily Oster's Expecting Better ruined me for all other pregnancy books. Because I'm expecting, like, actual evidence and explanations to be offered. I mean, the book seems pretty reasonable, but it'll be like, "Be sure to avoid bitter foods in the first trimester." And you're like, "What? Why?" So you eagerly read on, but that's it, the next sentence is about something else. Of course, being a straight married woman, a lot I wanted to like this more since it was recommended to me, but apparently Emily Oster's Expecting Better ruined me for all other pregnancy books. Because I'm expecting, like, actual evidence and explanations to be offered. I mean, the book seems pretty reasonable, but it'll be like, "Be sure to avoid bitter foods in the first trimester." And you're like, "What? Why?" So you eagerly read on, but that's it, the next sentence is about something else. Of course, being a straight married woman, a lot of the lesbian-specific, sperm-donor-specific stuff didn't apply to my circumstances, and I gather that would make it a stand-out resource to a lot of people, so the stuff I'm criticizing is only one part of the whole book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joni

    I am now in my 9th month of pregnancy and have enjoyed reading this book throughout the process. I appreciated having a resource that focused in on a family like mine, but felt that she was overly negative about the way the non-bio mother could react. My wife is very supportive and excited and I felt that her reactions were not represented in the book. It seemed almost as though Rachel was trying to prepare me for a negative experience with my spouse.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    This book contained some useful information and a lot of reassurances. It was like reading a (book-length) letter from a very supportive friend. Much of the information is from the personal experience and opinions of the author, which, while useful, is extremely biased. Even though I agree with many of her opinions (e.g., the benefits of home birth), I did feel that her strong biases were a little off-putting and might push other readers away.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Johanna

    A friend let me borrow the book -- it was definitely an interesting read, taking the reader from the decision making process through taking a bundle of joy home. Brought up some interesting considerations. Wouldn't be my number one reference for getting pregnant, but not a bad starting point and concise enough to read even if it isn't in your immediate plans. A friend let me borrow the book -- it was definitely an interesting read, taking the reader from the decision making process through taking a bundle of joy home. Brought up some interesting considerations. Wouldn't be my number one reference for getting pregnant, but not a bad starting point and concise enough to read even if it isn't in your immediate plans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    Informative, but sort of judgmental and narrow-minded. Not all of us want to howl at the moon to get in touch with our lunar cycles and give birth in a tub with all our family and friends present. But this book is certainly somewhere to start if you are a lesbian thinking about having a baby.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luciana Gerez

    It's not only a book, it's a friend. At least this is how I feel about it. The fertilization process is demanding in many ways and every time I felt down and hopeless I went to it like you go to a friend's shoulder to cry out. And in most cases it made me feel much better. It's not only a book, it's a friend. At least this is how I feel about it. The fertilization process is demanding in many ways and every time I felt down and hopeless I went to it like you go to a friend's shoulder to cry out. And in most cases it made me feel much better.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Hutchins

    eh...

  22. 4 out of 5

    D

    Interesting and informative overall guide for F/F couples. I am sure that all readers will find something in this book that they may have otherwise overlooked:)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    Its really great so far, but kind of intense too, u know.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    You have to love a pregnancy book that discusses how your pregancy might affect your clit piercing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book is amazing and I fully intend on buying it to have around the house while my partner and I attempt to get pregnant. I can't wait! This book is amazing and I fully intend on buying it to have around the house while my partner and I attempt to get pregnant. I can't wait!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    MUST READ for lesbian couples planning to have a child or single women having a child on their own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate Raven

    i know, i know, i'm demented. i'm thinking it might stave off the baby cravings a bit when i factor in the pricetag and realities of single parenthood. i know, i know, i'm demented. i'm thinking it might stave off the baby cravings a bit when i factor in the pricetag and realities of single parenthood.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    well it's never too early to be prepared right! well it's never too early to be prepared right!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara Beth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophie ("Oli")

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