THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION'S BOOK OF WOMANCARE by American Medical Association

THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION'S BOOK OF WOMANCARE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Granted, the AMA says some of the right things, here, about women's medical care--but women, who face continuing difficulties with the profession, need a strong consumer-oriented approach rather than the uncritical ""expertise"" that this series as a whole proffers. The authors commendably see the female as more than the sum of her gynecological parts: the whole body is first considered, and good (if brief) tips are provided on diet, exercise, sleep, skin care, and the like. But discussion of ""You and Your Doctor"" shies away from the communications problems and instead counsels, as of old, ""You should not be embarrassed to ask the doctor any question at all"" (or ""You should ask the questions; don't expect the doctor to volunteer a fully detailed explanation""). The description of common health problems, with a focus on when to call the doctor, is too brief to offer any insight (on depression: ""although it is no fun to feel depressed, it is not necessarily bad""). Sections on ""The Fertile Years"" and ""Maturity: Well-Being Past Childbearing"" competently cover the physiological aspects of pregnancy, birth control, and gynecological disorders; but too little is said of care and treatment, especially of a critical nature, to enable women to ask the proper questions and make informed choices. (Little mention is made, for example, of the severe pelvic infections associated with I.U.D.s.) And if the hope was that ""some outworn medical attitudes toward women will be examined--mainly for the purpose of discarding them,"" why have chapter-heading quotes from Pope (""Most women have no characters at all"") or Kipling (""a woman is only a woman. . ."") that reiterate the stereotypes? With other excellent women's health guides available (The Complete Book of Women's Health, p. 181; Womancare, 1981, p. 336), this is distinctly dispensable.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Random House