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Up the Duff : The Real Guide to Pregnancy - Kaz Cooke

Up the Duff

The Real Guide to Pregnancy

By: Kaz Cooke

Paperback Published: 2nd March 2009
ISBN: 9780670072347
Number Of Pages: 560

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This book is regularly reprinted with updated medical information.


KAZ COOKE gives you the up-to-date lowdown on pregnancy, birth and coping when you first get home. No bossy-boots rules, just lots of cartoons and the soundest, sanest, wittiest advice you'll ever get. Everything you need to know about the scary parts, the funny parts and your private parts.

  • Week by week: what's happening to you and the baby
  • Hermoine and the Modern Girl's hilarious pregnancy diary


  • How to prepare for pregnancy and the baby
  • Info on conceiving, and IVF
  • Crying, eating, weeing and working
  • Blokes, bosoms, busybodies and bunny-rugs
  • Nausea and other 'side effects'
  • Tests: what they're like and what they are for
  • The best services, websites and books on everything
  • Stretch marks, 'natural childbirth' vs medical intervention, baby clothes and nappies, travel, safety, and how to be rude to complete strangers
  • Labour, caesareans and pain relief
About the Author

Kaz Cooke is the author and illustrator of many books for adults and children. She is a mummy from Melbourne, Australia, who has completely let herself go.

Best baby book I've read


This is an amazing, informative and down to earth book. It's all no nonsense advice and truth about the journey that is pregnancy.



Excellent gift for a new pregnancy


We purchased this book to give our daughter and son in law as a gift to celebrate their pregnancy. They are loving it!!



Not my cup of tea


After reading the reviews and needing to educate myself on my current condition I thought this would be the book for me. I like things to be funny while learning as I have always found I retain more information when there is a sense of humour involved. In this case I was wrong. The apparently witty stories of her pregnancy (albeit admittedly mixed with stories from other people) came across as tiresome and not funny at all. In fact I am left wondering why this woman even decide to have a baby as pregnancy appears to be nothing but an inconvenience to her and she is doing the whole thing with nothing but disdain. I would find myself reading these and once I flipped the page and realised the end of this "tale" was a few pages away I skipped to the chapter on the actual pregnancy week. This was stressful. Already being an anxious person as I am a bit older, I found the fact that she constantly bangs on about all the negative and horrible things that can and will happen during pregnancy really quite depressing. I gave up reading at week 11 and didn't sleep a wink that night after what I had read. My doctor had put my mind at ease the week before, she had managed to undo all of that in just a few short paragraphs. I am a person who likes to be informed, but I don't like to be scared beyond belief and left feeling depressed and negative. Pregnancy is a trial at times and you do need to be made aware of certain things, but it wouldn't hurt to show some joy. Afterall, your body is doing something awesome; creating a whole human being. I would not recommend this book to anyone... Unless I really didn't like them very much.



So good


This book is practical with the way they described pregnancy



Light hearted humour


Good for a general humorous overview of pregnancy and birth. Some discussions have a slightly biased slant though it does provide recommendations on where to get further information.

Western Australia


Best Common Sense Guide you can get, no condescension at all


Kaz provides an excellent, reassuring guide to pregnancy and birth.

Ingham, QLD


Funny and informative


This book was recommended to me by a friend. At the moment, only the first chapter is relevant, but hopefully the rest will be soon ;-) So far its been easy to read, light-hearted, funny and informative. A winning combination!

Sydney, Australia


Brilliant Book!


This book is so helpful and down to earth. I read through it in a few days. Very funny and useful, I keep referring back to it. I like that it's an Aussie book. And it provides useful links to other information - websites, specialised books, apps. I'm so pleased I bought this and would recommend it to anyone!



Hilarious, informative, on point.


This book is a fantastic way to dip your toe into the world of pregnancy and childbirth for new mothers. Well written, pragmatic, completely on point.



Great read, funny and informative


I am expecting so this book was recommended to me and i love it. Its easy to read, simple and not complicated. Just the way i like it.



Up the Duff

4.5 19



Well, here it is: the new edition of Up the Duff.

'Wait a minute: I hear you say, rather suspiciously, with nar­rowed eyes, pausing in your reach for another Tim Tam. 'What's wrong with the first edition? Did it tell women a baby was going to come out of their ear?'

Nope, although I think I may have thought it would before I started my original research and writing for the first edition. Since it first appeared, Up the Duff has reprinted every five or six months, and I've always updated it with new medical info. (And will con­tinue to do so.) Eventually, though, it was time for a big overhaul (and a new cover colour - sunshiny yellow instead of limy, well, lime).

I've added new stuff for partners (signalled by a heart in the book's margins), and made sure all the latest on medical tests is included, covering what they are, when to have them, why they're done, and how to interpret the results. I've badgered a whole new lot of experts working at the coalface of caring for pregnant women, helping them through birth, and looking after new babies. They've checked the facts, provided all the latest info and made suggestions.

The book now kicks off with a new chapter on getting ready for pregnancy and closes with a bigger, better Help part at the back, featuring added chapters on fertility troubles and assisted concep­tion (including IVF) as well as an updated contacts and resources chapter for pregnancy and after the baby is born. Throughout the book there's also loads more info on everything from which fish you can eat safely to when you can have sex after the baby's birth (any time Johnny Depp knocks on the door).

But back to basics: why did I write this book in the first place? Aren't there enough pregnancy gurus already? For a start the last thing you need when you're pregnant is a bossy-boots insisting you 'should' feel this and 'must' do that. Who wants to have, or be, a guru? Not me.

Okay, so first, I got up the duff. Then realised I had no idea what I was in for.

I bought a squillion pregnancy books and discovered they often contradicted each other on key points; they're only relevant in Idaho or Shropshire; or they're written by rich women who think you should get a sink installed in your child's 'nursery' (I ask you), or by people pushing their own personal theory, which may or may not involve giving birth in a wading pool full of lavender water and the dog.

The other thing pregnancy books tend to do is describe the size of the developing fetus in comparison with food. One week it's a brazil nut, then a plum, then an eggplant. At one point I became convinced I was going to give birth to a giant muesli.

And most of the books finish at exactly week 40 when the baby is due. In real life, while you're pregnant, you can't think any further than the birth. But the very minute you have a baby you can hardly remember a thing about the pregnancy. It's suddenly entirely irrel­evant and you have to deal IMMEDIATELY with a tiny person who depends on you completely (and also do stuff with your bosoms they don't even ask from exotic dancers).

For some reason I had always imagined that being pregnant would just be like being me with a big bump out the front. It hadn't occurred to me that the reality of being pregnant would eventu­ally be felt constantly in every physical part of my body, and in every recess of what I fondly used to call my mind. Even though I had heard about nausea and fluid retention and vagueness and a ferzillion other things, for some dumb reason I thought they were part of an old-fashioned pregnancy, relegated to history along with the concept of 'confinement' and Mrs Spinoza's mechanical home­perm-and-gherkin-bottling machine.

I'm a career woman, I thought. I'm over 30. I've always pre­tended to be in control of my life, and that doesn't have to stop just because I'm pregnant. I'll just live my life the way it has always been (without getting shickered and having a few fags at the weekend). Work will go on as normal, life at home will be just the same, only I'll need bigger shirts at some point. My life will only completely change once the baby comes out.


Apparently not.

I had not bargained on the body taking control of itself. The power of the mind? Pah, and furthermore, snorty snonking sound. As far as my body was concerned, its major priority was growing a healthy baby. Several times I felt my legs going off along the cor­ridor for a lie down when I thought my torso should have been elsewhere. I woke up in the middle of the night compelled to eat banana sandwiches and drink glasses of soy milk. I had become a host organ.

My first thoughts every morning and my last thoughts at night were about being pregnant, and there was a fair whack of it in between. (This is as well as the other stuff you usually have to be on top of in your normal life.) Would I be a good mother? What if something went wrong? Was it too late to have second thoughts? Should I feel guilty about having second thoughts? Where do we stand on third and subsequent thoughts? Where the hell are my keys? Why is the Vegemite in the freezer? Did I do that? What the hell has happened to my HAIR? What's that weird bump forming on my gums? Do stretch marks stay that fetching shade of royal purple forever? Will I ever want to have sex again? What do peo­ple mean when they say 'pregnancy hormones'? Is it true some aromatherapy can make you have a miscarriage? Is it any wonder they keep making horror movies about motherhood and creatures inside us? Isn't this miraculous? Isn't this uncomfortable? Isn't this terrifying, and wonderful, and fascinating, and boring as batshit, all at the same time? Am I supposed to feel serene, or just seasick? If you don't do your pelvic-floor exercises will your fanny fall out? Why can't I feel the baby move yet? Could the baby stop moving for a while and give me a rest? What about those cigarettes I had before I realised I was pregnant? Will I ever be able to be alone again? How can I tell people I don't want my career back? How can I get my career back? When does a fetus become a baby? Does that mean if it's born then it will survive? Could I get any fatter? What's pre-eclampsia and how do you get it? What can you see on an ultrasound screen? What if labour goes on forever and nothing comes out? Could somebody get me a cup of tea?

And then when I had a baby the questions really started.

So to find out what's what I wrote Up the Duff (and followed it with a sequel, Kidwrangling: The Real Guide to Caring for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers). The researchers and I went to work, and then experts checked everything written about their special area and suggested new bits, and then the editor asked a gadzillion questions and in the normal course of events I would have had a huge tantrum but I was too tired because by that time I'd had a baby, so instead we checked it all over again and took bits out and put bits in and waved it all about. And now, ten years later, here it is still - updated to the eyeballs and raring to go.

If you read everything in the book you might think pregnancy is a terrible minefield of bizarre health complaints. Don't freak out: lots of the pregnancy problems are rare - they're included 'just in case'. If you do have a special interest or problem, though, this book will give you the basics. And if there's something you need to know more about, you can find a phone number, web site or book, point­ing you in the right direction, recommended in the More Info lists at the end of each chapter or chapter section, or in Contacts and Resources at the end of the book.


PS One last thing: the Diary of Hermoine the Modern Girl's preg­nancy includes many aspects of my own experience, with a few stories from other people thrown in and the odd embellishment, but it is not quite my story. A girl has to try to cling to some sense of mystery (especially when she's got baby vomit up her nose). (Oh, don't ask.)

ISBN: 9780670072347
ISBN-10: 0670072346
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: 2nd March 2009
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.5  x 3.7
Weight (kg): 1.01
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised

Kaz Cooke

About the Author

Kaz Cooke is an Australian author, cartoonist and radio broadcaster.

Her background is in news and feature journalism in Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin. Her career began a month after she left school, in 1981, at The Age newspaper and since then she’s written for heaps of other major daily newspapers (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the Canberra Times) and magazines (including Who Weekly and the Women’s Weekly).

Since becoming a Mum in 1998 she has mainly worked from home writing books in her pyjamas; and still doesn’t know why there were books in her pyjamas (boom, boom). There have been some scuttling forays into radio shows with varying degrees of success (from “this is fun!” to “I’d rather eat my own shins with a fork”). Kaz illustrates her own work with cartoons, since 1983 often featuring Hermoine the Modern Girl.

She continues to write books with her trademark mix of meticulous research and trustworthy information untainted by commercial interests, and blended with her friendly tone, honesty, sharp wit, and pyjamas. Kaz lives in Melbourne with her family and enjoys toast.

Visit Kaz Cooke's Booktopia Author Page

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