Now that Christmas and Hanukkah (or was it Hannamis and Thanksgivingkah?) are over, take some time for yourself and spend those Amazon gift cards. In this post, we review books we have found helpful for improving overall health and chances of conception. These books are great for wherever you are on your baby making journey. If you are planning on trying to conceive in 2014, then you will want to get your body as healthy as possible with a “pre-mester” as suggested in Making Babies and learn about your cycle in Taking Charge of Your Fertility so you can optimally time sex. If you have been feeling fatigued, noticed your sex drive tank, or suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) then WomanCode is a must read! For those who need a little inspiration or are feeling overwhelmed by all of the fertility “advice”, Inconceivable will soothe the soul. If you are an ARTs (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) veteran or have been trying naturally for a while, these books can help you as well. Although this time of year is notorious for clichés of self improvement, the start of a new calendar, coupled with the indulgence of holiday festivities, is a ripe opportunity for making some simple lifestyle changes that can improve your energy, waistline, self esteem, and fertility.
Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami S. David, MD & Jill Blakeway, LAc
This book combines the best of Western and Eastern medicine in a clear, enjoyable to read format. Dr. David was the first reproductive endocrinologist in New York to do IVF and Ms. Blakeway is an experienced acupuncturist. They explain their thoughts on why some women conceive easily and others need more help while offering gentle lifestyle interventions that can boost your chances for both natural conception and success with ARTs. Dr. David offers highly informed insights on ARTs that will make you think twice before jumping in.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement by Toni Weschler, MPH
This is the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) bible. No, we are not talking about the Rhythm Method. FAM is based on your individual body and menstrual cycle. Ms. Weschler explains how to use basal body temperature (your oral temperature upon waking), cervical mucus, and cervical position to determine when you are fertile and when you are not (this will be handy after you have your baby as birth control!). We believe every woman, trying to conceive or not, should read this book to learn more about the menstrual cycle.
WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa Vitti, HHC
Who doesn’t want to be a Power Source? Ms. Vitti, a holistic health coach who cured her own PCOS through years of research, offers a fresh and dynamic approach to health. We have honestly never seen anything like this despite our combined six degrees in nursing and health/research related fields. While we are being forthcoming, neither of us was actually able to follow her plan but we did gleam some good information from it and implemented that in our own lives. Ms. Vitti’s plan is based on five principles: stabilize blood sugar, calm adrenal glands, improve elimination, match diet and activity to phases of your menstrual cycle, and reconnect with your feminine side. This book will help all women feel better so after you read it share it with your friends whether they are trying to conceive or not!
Inconceivable: A Woman’s Triumph Over Despair and Statistics by Julia Indichova
Ms. Indichova recounts her struggle conceiving her second child in this poetically written memoir. Her journey starts outward and ends inward. At the age of 42 (after conceiving her daughter on the first try at age 40), she is told her eggs are too old and to start investigating donor eggs, surrogates, or adoption. Instead, she embarks on a two-year mission that includes everything from New York’s best fertility specialists to sham “mystic” healers. In the process she learns to rely on her intuition and transforms herself into a “fertile life force”. She aims to inspire and educate other: “Just enough to realize the answers they come up with on their own could be as significant as the answers of the experts…”
To be explicitly clear, we do not beleive any particular plan is the magic bullet. Years of professional and personal experience have led us to believe that for any health goal, you must find what uniquely works for you. Tune in next week for further explanation on how to make decisions about diets, supplements, medical interventions, and alternative therapies while trying to conceive.