Women who become pregnant today are bombarded with urgent messages about the food they eat, the chemicals they're exposed to, the stress they feel-and how such prenatal influences will affect their future children. When Annie Murphy Paul first encountered the intense anxiety and overwhelming responsibility that now accompany pregnancy, she was shocked, then baffled, then curious. And when she become pregnant a second time, she decided to investigate.Over the course of nine months, Paul explores how fetuses are shaped in utero, separating the evidence from the hype and filling in the historical and cultural context. As a science writer, she goes deep into the exciting new field of fetal origins, examining its claims that many of our individual characteristics-from susceptibility to disease, to appetite and metabolism, to intelligence and even personality and temperament-begin in the womb. And as a pregnant woman, she probes the cultural mania that surrounds pregnancy today, bringing to bear her own intimately observed experience. Filled with startling insights and eye-opening perspectives, Origins will change the way you think about yourself, your children, and human nature itself.

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