‘Origins’ Explores the Science of Pregnancy, Fetal Development

BY Lea Winerman  October 25, 2010 at 11:36 AM EDT

In her new book “Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives,” science writer Annie Murphy Paul dives into the often-controversial topic of fetal origins.

In the book, which Paul wrote while pregnant with her second child, she explores new research about how what a mother experiences, eats, drinks and even feels during the nine months of her pregnancy can have long-lasting effects on her child.

Paul says that she doesn’t want the book to add to the anxiety many pregnant women feel, surrounded by conflicting advice over what to do or not do during their pregnancy.

“The book was actually an effort to combat that, not to add to it in any way. Because my feeling was that women are getting these messages in dribs and drabs, a headline here, a news report there, from their friends or their mothers — and they’re not able to put it into any kind of perspective of what’s really risky, and what do you not need to worry about.”

Hari Sreenivasan spoke to Paul about the book, and the emerging science of fetal origins.

Follow Hari on Twitter. Video editing by Francine Uenuma