When it comes to getting pregnant, some take a “let’s just see what happens” kind of approach. I did not fall into that category. I was in baby-fever-madness mode the year leading up to trying to conceive. So instead of twiddling my thumbs, I jumped into doing some baby-making research to pass the time. (Minds out of the gutter, please.) I figured a little bit of reading and knowledge never hurt anyone and if it helped conceive a little bundle more quickly, all the better. Jenn is also a knowledge-is-power kind of gal, so we thought we’d share the two books we’ve read to bone up on fertility know-how. (Har har.)
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility (or TCOYF as the hip call it) is practically the Bible of female-reproductive knowledge. It’s a 450+ page tome of information, but don’t let its size intimidate you. While it’s so jam-packed with facts that it feels like a textbook at times, those facts and tidbits of information are so interesting that I couldn’t help but be fascinated. Plus, anecdotes about the author’s clients add a human element to the book and offer valuable lessons learned. I honestly devoured the book.
While most women know the basics of their monthly cycles—there’s ovulation and menstruation, done deal, right?—I had been unaware of how much information you could learn about your body just by paying attention. The author walks you through how to take note of your fertility signs throughout the month to know when you’re the most fertile, thus optimizing your getting-pregnant chances each month. If you’re detail-oriented and/or want to obsess like I did, she teaches you how to chart your fertility signs and basal body temperature (your body’s temperature when you wake up) to detect when you do ovulate. Is it not fascinating and a little science-experimenty that you can know when you ovulated just by taking your temperature every morning? I mean, maybe I’m a nerd, but that is seriously cool. Whether you’re looking to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, TCOYF should be a must-read for all women. —Erin
When it comes to all things health and wellness—including my reproductive health—I tend to be a little hippity-dippity. I meditate, do yoga, read self-help books with the words “spirit” and “junkie” in the title, and I generally like to do things as naturally as I can. So when Making Babies landed on my radar, marketed as a three-month program for maximizing your fertility by using both Western and Eastern approaches, it was a natural fit for me and my baby-making ways. Written by Dr. Sami David (one of the first guys to do IVF) and Jill Blakeway (a British specialist in alternative medicine living), you really get the best of both worlds.
Like TCOYF but in far less detail, the book first gives you the basics of how to naturally track your most fertile times and the dealio on what your body is doing through the phases of your cycle. Then it details a fertility-boosting program of different lifestyle choices you can make in regards to diet, exercise, relaxation, supplements, acupuncture, etc. Then—and this is where it gets really alternative—you take a short quiz to determine your fertility type: Tired, Dry, Stuck, Pale or Waterlogged. Based off of Chinese medicine, you then get specific recommendations (some of which are Eastern, others Western) for your type.
Overall, the book is a fantastic marriage of traditional and non-traditional. With inspiring success stories, visualization exercises, self-massage techniques and still enough scientific data to make the skeptic in you want to read more, it’s a great read. While it’s best suited to someone who is having trouble getting pregnant, it’s still super helpful for those early in their TTC journey. Plus, just look at that cover. It doesn’t get much cuter than that. —Jenn
Did you do any research on conception? Or did you just go with the flow? —Erin