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Chitra’s nine-month journey of body – and mind

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When journalist Chitra Ramaswamy discovered she was expecting, she longed for a book about pregnancy that would treat it as much as a journey of the mind as the body. So she wrote one – and called it Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy.

“I had a great pregnancy and it was hard won, having tried to conceive for two years,” says Chitra, 37, who lives in Leith.

“I found it to be a strange, wild and fascinating experience, quite indescribable and unlike anything else I had done or known,” she reflects, admitting that once she became pregnant she realised how little she knew about the ‘condition’.

Expecting is a book of nine chapters for the nine months of pregnancy.

“It pays tribute to writers, artists and places, and ends on one of the biggest cliffhangers of all: the moment of birth,” says Chitra.

“In that way it is for pregnant women, mothers, fathers, and anyone who has been born!”

This Friday, Chitra will be talking about her book as part of Dundee Literary Festival.

“I’m so thrilled,” she enthuses. It’s a wonderful city and a wonderful festival, so warm, inclusive and welcoming to locals and authors.”

Chitra hopes to describe how much more fertile, interesting, complicated, wild, difficult and moving pregnancy is than we are led to believe.

“I hope the audience will be entertained but also moved to think about their own beginnings, pregnancies, desires to conceive or indeed not to, and about their histories and the voices who have been silenced when it comes to this deep and highly emotional subject,” she says.

“Bring your babies, whether newborn or middle aged,” she smiles.

“But equally, you don’t have to be pregnant – or indeed a woman – to come to the show.”

Chitra Ramaswamy discusses Expecting (Saraband) with Hannah McGill on October 21, Bonar Hall, 12noon. Price: £3; concession £2.

Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy is published  by Saraband and costs £12.99

Did you know…?

According to, at six weeks a baby’s head is quite large with tiny openings where her mouth and nostrils will be, dark patches that will eventually turn into eyes, and small folds at the side of the head that will be ears.

By 16 weeks, the muscles of the baby’s face can now move and he or she will start making facial expressions.

The baby will be able to move her limbs around and kick, though the mum-to-be might not feel it.

Roughly half way through pregnancy, at 20 weeks, the baby’s internal organs are all growing and developing too and the bones are also getting stronger.

By 30 weeks, the baby’s body parts will start to look more in proportion, apart from the head, which will still be quite large compared to the  body.

There’s less room for the baby to move around by 35 weeks so he or she might actually start to push rather than kick.

At full term (40 weeks) the baby is full-grown and measures around 14in from head to bottom. Babies at this stage weigh around 7½lb, but this can vary massively.


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