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Fetal and Neonatal Physiology
  1. Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  2. Birmingham Women’s Hospital
  3. Birmingham

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    Fetal and Neonatal Physiology. 2nd Ed. Vols 1 and 2. Richard Polin and William Fox eds. [Pp 2504 hardback]. WB Saunders Co, 1998. ISBN 0-7216-6016-9.

    It is difficult to know where to start reviewing a book of 228 chapters, and some 355 contributors, all but a handful of whom come from North America, and most of whom, unsurprisingly are paediatricians. But as this work is essentially physiological, rather than about management, it will translate well into the practice of any country.

    The overall layout of each chapter is good, with the potential for inconsistency that often dogs multiauthor books, not a feature. And as I moved around each chapter, I was confident that I would easily find what I was seeking.

    Each of the book’s sections—and there are 29—deals with a particular subject, dealt with first as it affects the fetus and then the neonate; this pattern is maintained throughout. Most of the chapters contain detailed information and are well referenced.

    Who would find this book useful? It is clear from the preface that many found the first edition to be a valuable source book, a fact which led to the demand for this new edition. Clearly, paediatricians and neonatologists might find it most helpful, but so will materno-fetal medicine specialists and trainees. The latter might be disappointed at some of the more obstetric chapters, but there is plenty of other material which will be helpful and relevant. Physiologists, particularly undergraduates, will also probably find much to interest them.

    In an era in which books find themselves unfashionable, this text remains relevant and the editors are to be congratulated on keeping their contributors, and their references, current.