Review and Giveaway: Making Babies

This book by far is one of the most exciting ones I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the process of conception and get an in-depth education on what people with fertility and conception problems go through. I have several friends and acquaintances who have been challenged to have a child even after trying for years. Some friends who conceived their first child effortlessly end up having a difficult time the second time around. One of my blogging friends called me out for using the term natural versus adopted to distinguish children in a mixed blended family. Certainly, she understood that I did not mean to imply that there was anything “unnatural” in the way she came to be blessed with her daughter, but I understood, empathized and felt her frustration. It is a very sensitive subject thus I was excited over the opportunity to learn more and Making Babies was that welcomed chance! My cyber buddy called me a “fertile Myrtle” once on twitter and I suppose people like me who conceive easily may not understand the struggles of those who do not.
Anyway, I dug into this book with great interest. Off the bat though, I was hit with that term again “natural.” Authors Dr. Sami S. David and Jill Blakewell have written a very informative book but which has the thesis that too many women resort to medical intervention and technology assisted means of conceiving and they do it too soon. They talk about the impatient patients who after a few months of no conception quickly turn to medical assistance or the impatient doctors who have made a killing exploiting desperate patients for their own greed. They propose a three month plan to conceive the “natural way”. Hmm? Well…as nature intended, there is no turkey baster, injection needles, catheters or fertility drugs huh. (Still, I’m sure a mother to a child conceived via IVF wouldn’t like hearing her child came to her unnaturally.) The authors do acknowledge the value of technology and how it has helped bring hundreds of thousands of children in the world. I guess the authors are frustrated over the designer or celebrity solution to conception where a couple rush into the fertility centers so they can birth twins without even making a good effort to conceive without medical intervention first.
Dr. David and Jill Blakewell base much of their book on their experiences in this field and with their patients. In fact, there are side bars dispersed throughout the book with mini-case studies of patients who had come to them, many after trying and failing with the most costly (up to $12,400 per cycle!) of all medical intervention treatments IVF or In Vitro Fertilization. They identify a series of lifestyle, diet-based or other external factors (like stress) that can negatively affect a couple’s chance of conceiving. They go through in great detail how to “do it”. Really, what position, time of the month, how to check your cervical mucus to know when you are most ripe for conception…yeah great icky details like that! They walk you through the process of creating a chart to track your Basal Body Temperature, an indicator of fertility and how to get your Chinese medicine diagnosis. Yes, I said Chinese medicine. A quarter way into the book, after maybe I don’t’ know the 15th reference to Chinese Medicine, I realize the authors are big on Chinese herbal, acupuncture and other natural ancient remedies for fertility. I’m a big supporter and believer in alternative medicine and homeopathic solutions to common ailments but I can see how all the reference to it can and may scare off the toe-the-line Western medicine disciples.
In any event, the conversational tone and well thought out explanations carry the book well nonetheless. You cannot doubt their experiences and they know their stuff. And Western medicine and therapies aren’t the only ticket in town.
To start, the authors provide a description of 5 Fertility types. These apply to both men and women. The interesting thing though is these types are based on a blend of lifestyle, situational, personal and physical characteristics: if you get bloated, have achy joints, if you sigh a lot or grind your teeth, irritable, you have a strong sex drive etc. Many people may find elements of each type: Tired, Dry, Stuck, Pale or Waterlogged. To guide you to find the one you are most like, there are little quizzes at each section. Very helpful. After identifying your type, the authors prescribe specific changes and thorough comprehensive suggestions for you to apply and adjust in your life. If followed, the result should be a POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST and a pregnancy that sticks through the early fragile first trimester and beyond!
Overall, I think the plan is reasonable and worth the effort. After all, the stressful, physically, emotionally and financially-draining and not to mention heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster one is in for when starting the medical assisted route, it’s probably a good idea to give the plan a shot.
The book is a great resource and would make an excellent gift to a couple or family member who is starting to think about having a baby.
In the end of the book, there is a summary, which is cursory but still quite educational, of the various types of Assisted Reproduction options currently available to couples. They spend the fewest amount of pages and time on each treatment and spend most of the chapter again warning against all the negative consequences of using these methods. It’s like a dentist giving a kid a lollipop followed with photos of rotted teeth. There’s also a sample basal temperature chart in the appendix and a pretty comprehensive resources list of books, organizations, and national support groups.
I highly recommend Making Babies and am glad I took the time to go through it!
If you would like a copy, the publishers are giving five (5) Bellyitch Readers a copy of the book to keep or give away.
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CONTEST ENDS OCTOBER 21 at MIDNIGHT. I will select winners randomly using the integer thingy mamabob all bloggers use.


CHECK OUT Dr. David’s Interview on Julie Menin’s “Give and Take”

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