Tracy Hotchner as written Pregnancy & childbirth , her 700-page tome on everything you've ever wanted, or not wanted, to know about human gestation and delivery, for the avowed purpose of giving prospective parents every conceivable shred of information on what they're in for -- on the theory that well-informed people make wise choices about whether and how they have babies.

She adequately covers the usual territory -- diet, fetal development, exercises for the pregnant woman, plus the wide range of delivery possibilities available today, from fully anesthetized delivery to homebirth with visitors present to the Leboyer method where brith trauma is supposedly alleviated by dim lighting, warm baths and soft talk. And there's a hefty section on life with baby: breast feeding, choosing a pediatrician, postpartum blues, and so on. There is also information on fertility problems.

Most of Hotchner's data is sound, objective and helpful.For women isolated from the support for unmedicated, "natural" childbirth found in many metropolitan area hospitals, the book has useful tips for maintaining control over one's own delivery against the rigors of medical "routine."

Hotchner goes into considerable detail about ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia in its latter stages, and fetal death in utero, as well as some other equally unsettling and fortunately unusual complications of pregnancy. Such information should present no problem for the "rational" audience Hotchner envisions for her book; however, for those who might tend, during pregnancy, to manufacture anxiety hormones along with all the others, Hotchner could compound the problem. After all, it is possible to survive an entire pregnancy in total ignorance of placenta abruptio and be none the worse for it. (Avon, paperback, $6.95, available in April)