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Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Fourth edition of book has a new cover photo.

After 23 years, she is finally standing and looks hip and sexy in jeans and a sweater, her growing belly prominently on display.

It's quite the change for the illustrated mom on the cover of Heidi Murkoff's best-selling book, "What to Expect When You're Expecting," which has just been updated in a fourth edition (Workman, $14.95). She used to sit in a rocking chair and wear an unfortunate sacklike dress, her hair poofed up in a style from the 1980s.

But just like the moms-to-be of today, she's evolved, Murkoff said. She's proud of her belly and showing it off in a clingy sweater. And instead of sitting, she's on the go: working, playing, exercising and exploring.

"Moms are living their real

life," Murkoff said during a recent visit to promote her book. "They're mixing their real life with pregnant life. They're busy, busy, busy. Yes, they're pregnant, and yes, they're making a baby, but they're doing a lot of other stuff in the meantime."

Her updated book (often called the "pregnancy bible" by moms-to-be) includes new and expanded sections about things such as work, eating, beauty, exercise and sex. There is also an addition for future dads, with answers to questions such as why he has morning sickness, cravings and a loss of libido.

Murkoff says the fourth version of "What to Expect" is more positive and reassuring than past editions. It should also answer more questions, because many ideas for the book came from expectant parents posting comments online at WhatToExpect.com, she said.

The top question parents have is whether something is normal, according to Murkoff.

"Is it normal, that 10-pound first trimester weight gain, that 25-times-a-day run to the bathroom, that strange metal taste in your mouth, the fact that saliva is pooling in your mouth?" Murkoff asked. "I think sometimes just knowing a symptom is normal, where you can flip open the book and say, 'wow, this is normal,' doesn't make the symptom go away, but it helps you not to stress about it."

While some people have complained the book goes too far in raising some uncomfortable or scary issues, Murkoff said her goal is to provide a broad-based response to any concerns a parent may have.

"I would say most moms and dads want to know what to expect and they want answers to all their questions, not just select questions," Murkoff said. "I can't please all the readers all the time, but I'm never going to stop trying."

Overall, her work appears a success. It has been on the New York Times best-seller list for 345 weeks, and more than 90 percent of pregnant women who read pregnancy books have skimmed its pages.

When she first came up with the idea for "What to Expect When You're Expecting," Murkoff was herself pregnant for the first time. She said she couldn't find any books to reassure her fears and then set out on a mission to write a book for moms by a mom. The day her child was born, she delivered a proposal to a publisher, and the idea for her book took off — slowly at first, but then sales quickly grew.

Murkoff said she never expected to become so successful. Besides "What to Expect When You're Expecting," she has written books with tips for healthy eating and what to expect after a child has been born. She has also started a foundation to provide information about pregnancy to low-income and illiterate mothers.

"It probably wouldn't have worked out if I set out to write a best-selling book," Murkoff said. "But why I think some of these parents turn to it is that they want to know what to expect and they want answers to all their questions."

True or false?

1. The more heartburn you have, the more hair your baby will have.

True. The hormones that cause heartburn are the same hormones that cause fetal hair to grow.

2. The more you eat, the more likely you're having a boy.

True. Researchers have shown that women expecting a boy eat more calories

3. As you gain weight, you lose brain cells.

Sort of true. The pregnant brain shrinks an average of 8 percent, causing forgetfulness and mental fog. But after delivery, it plumps back up.

4. When dads gain weight and crave ice cream, it's all in their heads.

False. Dads actually experience fluctuations in hormone levels when their partner is expecting.

5. An increase in multiple births is due to an increase in fertility treatments.

Sort of true. Moms who use fertility treatments are more likely to have multiples, but older moms and obese moms may be more likely, too.

Source: Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting

New features

in 'What to Expect'

• A new cover with a hip mom-to-be who is standing, not sitting in a rocking chair

• A new chapter on preconception and how to get into shape for making a baby

• An expanded section on working during pregnancy, including how to stay comfortable and how to tell your boss

• A new section about alternative forms of medical care

• A new chapter on eating while pregnant

• More information about the pregnant lifestyle and pregnant beauty

• An expanded section on sex during pregnancy

Source: Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You're Expecting

E-mail: [email protected]