Seven months into my first pregnancy and I feel that I am already
an expert on baby magazines. Every month a slew of them arrive on my
desk and although I generally am pretty dismissive of their tone and
quality for any reader who has managed to hang on to a few brain cells,
I always read each one avidly, just in case there's a useful nugget of
So, the revamped issue of Expecting Our Baby, now called (verbosely)
Practical Parenting's Complete Guide to Pregnancy, arrived on my desk to
be given a good check-over. Would this magazine dispense with the sickly
sweet editorial and not patronise me? Would there be some really
different and challenging features that would give some grit as well as
make me glow with anticipation?
Well, the format is as formulaic as the rest, with the first few pages
causing me to wonder whether I had read this magazine somewhere
There was nothing in the pregnancy and birth news page that broke the
knowledge barrier and the Q&A panel was a carbon copy of all the others
I have read.
However, although it's not rocket science when a feature describes the
pregnancies of five different women, it's always comforting to read
these pieces because you usually find similar experiences to your
The lengthy expert advice column alongside each account also helps to
flesh the piece out. There is a reassuring article on 'Is my bump too
big or too small?' but most of the other pieces are so samey that I find
myself skimming over them.
The only one that was a pleasant surprise because it was both topical
and slightly different from the normal stodge was the feature on the
chronic shortage of midwives, although at just one page it was pretty
simplistic and unchallenging.
Dr Mark Porter's 'ultimate pregnancy planner' was very useful and
thorough, but the skimpy fashion page left me cold in terms of style
and, by being just one page, also left me very underwhelmed. I may look
like a snake that has eaten a load of pies, but I do still care about
how I look, and any tips on economical ways to attire my changing shape
is always a bonus.
We don't all go for smocks and flowery skirts, y'know.
All in all, this magazine left me with a 'take it or leave it'
It is probably more relevant to women who have just found out that they
are pregnant, rather than a cynical hack like me who thinks she knows it
all. The goofy smile and stomach clutching of the model on the front
cover should have warned me that this was not the magazine for me.
Now, where's my pot of marmite and the latest copy of Vogue?
Publisher: IPC Southbank
Fisher-Price, Avent, Formes.