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Vivienne O'Connor, Gabor Kovacs
681 pp Price £35 (US $45) ISBN 0-521-81893-1 (h/b)
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 .
In keeping with their remit to cover women's health in general, O'Connor and Kovacs begin by discussing lifestyle and mental health. Common health issues are then dealt with in order of occurrence, beginning with puberty and proceeding to late life; naturally the chapters on the reproductive years include a large obstetric element.
The book is illustrated by clear boxes and flow charts complementing each other: for instance, what investigations to use in cases of fetal intrauterine growth retardation, and how to manage this clinical finding (although here, unusually, the titles do not clearly separate investigations from management). Drawings are numerous and illustrate fetal growth and normal deliveries as well as the different kinds of placental abnormalities. The emphasis in all chapters is on treatment of women as partners and collaborators when choices are to be made (e.g. on contraception or hormone replacement therapy) and on communication. This approach is welcome, and is especially suited to those who attend to women's needs in prevention as well as in disease. These include general or specialist gynaecological nurses, who need a broad knowledge of all different aspects of women's health. Medical students will find here the facts they are expected to know about puberty, pregnancy, and the problems of later years. Some may judge the material on behaviour and psychological problems too unfocused for their purposes or be disconcerted by the chapter on ageing and its concerns, with its wide coverage of ailments of the aged in general. They will be wise to return to these chapters, however, when they study general medicine; they will thus come to see how women's health is much broader than just obstetrics and gynaecology.